Isea 2022 - Possibles



June 10th

Short papers / Complex acquisitions: understanding the infrastructural properties of born-digital objects in museum collections

Authors: Gabriella Arrigoni


This short paper discusses three case studies extrapolated from a research project investigating the challenges of collecting born-digital objects. It questions ideas of objecthood in relation to the reliance of born-digital objects on complex infrastructures.


Theme: Born-digital; infrastructure; digital preservation; platforms; contemporary collecting

More information:

  • Abstract: Whilst born-digital collections continue to be developed in several museums internationally, this paper contributes to debates as to how we conceptualise born-digital objects. Many complex artifacts of digital culture, in fact, elude the behavior of traditional collected objects. Here, we concentrate on three examples to illustrate different degrees to which born-digital museum acquisitions can be understood as infrastructures. By examining an immersive reality piece, a procedurally generated film, and a digital platform, this paper addresses hybridity, fluid relationships across the main and auxiliary parts of an acquisition, and the lack of clear boundaries to define what the collected object is. It concludes that developing deeper understandings of the infrastructural properties of born-digital museum acquisitions could support changes in institutional practice and thinking to better accommodate this emergent area of collecting. 
  • Biography: Dr Gabi Arrigoni is a researcher in the field of Digital Cultural Heritage.Her research interests include the process of preserving and remembering the recent past and the heritage of digital culture. She has co-edited the volume European Heritage, Dialogue and Digital Practice for Routledge and a number of articles and book chapters and in the field of digital cultural heritage.

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