The Finnish Cultural Foundation awarded me a grant for post-doctoral research on February 27, 2017. [Renewed for until 2019] The title of the research is: ‘The Materialities of Digital Memory‘; Old Title: ‘The Museum is the Message: An Archaeology of Power, Media and Materiality of Digital Heritage’.
Abstract: The study aims to address the ecological impact of digital heritage on cultural memory. It seeks to understand the wider context of memory institutions such as museums and archives, their user communities and the memory they foster as based in media infrastructures, energy and material resources. Despite much research on the themes of media ecologies, eco-critical media and digital heritage, scholars have not yet fully explored when, why and how did memory institutions turn so ‘mediatic’, so dependent on computational hardware and processes that are currently sustained by rare earth minerals and fossil fuels. Not many studies have been conducted on the energetic entanglement of media with memory and representation. How do increasing entanglements of computational memory, embodied energy of media infrastructures and the memory embedded in digital collections together form a complex and composite memory? What is the environmental burden of such digital memory and how it affects user communities? By excavating the configuration of the memory institution, its computing dependencies, energy use in digitization, representation and collections, the study will analyze the emerging ecological impacts and how those impacts in turn shape cultural memory. Finally, the study’s goal is to develop critical models through community engagement, participative systems and open media infrastructures for incorporating ecological media into institutions of memory and cultural heritage.