Salon 8 The Object, Online

Traditionally, art and history museums have been concerned with material culture—the objects, buildings, and environments constructed by a community, a culture’s physical evidence. Today, however, objects can be born digital, or they can exist in ambivalent states. The digital dimension has become an integral part of contemporary culture, social practices, and economic systems. As a consequence, we need to reconsider and reposition the significance, functionality, and usage of objects. How does culture cope with these new ultra-material circumstances? A series of three MoMA R&D salons explored how objects exist in a hybrid reality where the physical and the digital are seamlessly connected.

The first in a three-part series of salons dedicated to exploring the object, appropriately titled The Object, Online was devoted to unpacking and analyzing the translation of physical objects—uni-, two-, or three-dimensional, and from paintings and drawings to animals, objects, buildings, and environments—into the digital realm for exhibition, explanation, analysis, communication, exchange, and sale, to name but a few purposes.

Watch the videos from the salon and explore some of these questions: How can we render a physical object fully—or even beyond its naked-eye and bare-hand limits—taking advantage of the degrees of freedom provided by the digital space? Is such an object dematerialized or, rather, “energized?” What kinds of consequences does this voyage bring to our traditional understanding, use, collection, display, and perception of the object? What kind of digital space can best accommodate the “adopted” objects?

The salon took place on May 20th, 2014.


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