Deep Time of the Museum / The Materiality of Media Infrastructures

Bhowmik, S. (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation types › Public or invited talk


Beyond artifacts, vitrines and dioramas, non-human mediations in the form of screens, archives, and algorithms play a significant role today in museums and memory institutions. The museum as such stands transformed into a media infrastructure for information processing. Increasingly it depends on sophisticated technological systems and expertise, resulting in the blackboxing of its various components. Not only the museum turns energy-intensive and resource-dependent, but also its mediating role becomes difficult to measure. How can museums sustain in an age of increasing black-boxed media technologies, obsolescence and toxic waste? The talk traces these challenges by an archaeology of the museum as a media infrastructure. It seeks to understand the museum in historical terms as well as technological terms its energetic and material entanglements with media technologies. Two experimental design interventions within and beyond the museum walls are presented that explore novel ecological media infrastructures and operative methods. Finally, a design framework is synthesized that provides guidelines for museums and their user communities toward shaping an ecological institution.
Period10 May 2017
Held atHumboldt-Universität Berlin, Germany
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • media
  • museum
  • energy
  • infrastructure
  • cultural memory
  • computing