How Objects Become Deprived of Matter
Keywords:archaeological museum, cyber archaeology, digital exhibit, digital turn, virtuality
In contemporary archaeology, we can identify a clash of two apparently antagonistic "paradigms": the "(re)turn to things" and the "digital turn". The latter has had great impact on archaeological museums, traditionally focused on material objects, and in this article I analyse this in terms of a phenomenon that I call "digital escapism". Digital escapism embraces ontological and epistemological questions that stem from the digital turn in archaeology - it might denote the dismissal of artefacts as subjects of scientific interest, or a shift in focus to digital methods as a means to creating an immersive past reality. It may also relate to big data in archaeology and the attempt to (re)connect this archaeology with science by way of informatics. My analysis of the exhibition presented in Rynek Underground, a museum in Krakow, provides a case study of digital escapism within museum space.
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