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Theorizing Digital Cultural HeritageA Critical Discourse$
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Fiona Cameron and Sarah Kenderdine

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780262033534

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262033534.001.0001

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Beyond the Cult of the Replicant: Museums and Historical Digital Objects—Traditional Concerns, New Discourses

Beyond the Cult of the Replicant: Museums and Historical Digital Objects—Traditional Concerns, New Discourses

Chapter:
(p.49) 3 Beyond the Cult of the Replicant: Museums and Historical Digital Objects—Traditional Concerns, New Discourses
Source:
Theorizing Digital Cultural Heritage
Author(s):

Fiona Cameron

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262033534.003.0004

This chapter examines the poetics and politics of the “digital” historical object, and offers a different interpretation of the relationship between virtual and material objects and more abstract concepts of materiality, authority, interpretation, aura and authenticity, representation, affect, knowledge, experience, and value. It looks at prevailing debates and bifurcations used to describe and define historical collections and virtual/digital “historical” objects, and shows how an object-centered museum culture and material culture paradigms have bounded digital historical collections. The chapter argues that the roles and uses of the digital object must be understood as part of the broader heritage complex—an institutionalized culture of practices and ideas which is inherently political in nature, socially and culturally circumscribed. It also rejects the formalist notions of materiality and technology that make digital objects fit into the specific rubric of “replicant,” and which have constrained their value, meaning, and imaginative uses.

Keywords:   poetics, politics, materiality, digital objects, replicant, historical objects, museum culture, material culture, aura, authenticity

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