Past events
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In the process of transforming museums and archives into more accessible spaces, digital tools have been widely embraced. Digitization appeals with the idea of open access and a (supposedly) free and democratic way to receive and share information about collections, objects, and their histories.

Thereby it gives transparency to data that has historically been reserved for so-called experts only, shifting the museum outwards into an open digital space where people can actively participate.

Frequently neglected, have however been the dangers and problems of digitization. The digital realm is not a neutral space but has explicit biases and racialized and gendered structures curated into its data and algorithms. More so, the taxonomic practices of museums have been encoded into digital databases from the archives, reproducing the colonial ways of ordering and cataloging the world that they inhabit.

99 Questions on Digitalization‘ revisits the Digital as a contested, yet also potential space for future museum practices.
The discussion emerges with a key lecture by Dr. Temi Odumosu titled ‘Colonial JPEGs and haunted code: Historical redress in the open digital commons‘. Drawing on research in the context of Nordic photographic collections, Odumosu asks ‘what it means for African cultural resources to dematerialize and become data?’ The impulse is followed by reverberating responses and an open discussion with Dr. Anne Luther, founder of the Institute for Digital Heritage and principal investigator of Digital Benin, Osaisonor Godfrey Ekhator-Obogie, principal researcher in Digital Benin, Chao Tayiana and Molemo Moiloa, founders of “Open Restitution Africa” and current fellows of the ‘99 Questions‘ residency program.

Eliza Apperly

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