I’m spending today at an SSRC-sponsored conference at Santa Clara University, on “Digital Cultural Institutions and the Future of Access,” sponsored by the Digital Cultural Institutions Project. I was here yesterday, and gave a talk on digital cultural production and pervasive computing.
I accepted the invitation to speak at this ages ago, but realized that since my last digital archiving project was finished three years ago, I probably didn’t just want to talk about it. But the questions of whether “digital culture” can usefully be thought of something separate from other forms of culture today, and whether that distinction is going to make any sense at all in the future, started to nag at me. So that’s what I talked about. (Answers: not very, and no.)
The conference is quite interesting, and I love the subject; and the crowd is a mix of a couple very familiar faces (the event is sponsored by the SCU science technology studies program-); some I’ve met once or twice before at other conferences; about half a dozen who have done things with the Institute (ranging from expert interviews up to serving on the board); three who I’ve never met but whose books I’ve reviewed in the L. A. Times; and someone I used to work for.
I’ve long thought of my own professional trajectory and interests– this blend of science studies, new media, digital culture, and futures– as highly idiosyncratic. But if that were once true, it is no longer: the fact that events like this that can bring together people who I know from my various separate lives proves that.
Now the question is, what can I do with that?