Computer technology has transformed modern society, yet curators wishing to reflect those changes face difficult challenges in terms of both collecting and exhibiting. Collecting and Exhibiting Computer-Based Technology examines how curators at the history and technology museums of the Smithsonian Institution have met these challenges.
Focusing on the curatorial process, the book explores the ways in which curators at the institution have approached the accession and display of technological artifacts. Such collections often have comparatively few precedents, and can pose unique dilemmas. In analysing the Smithsonian’s approach, Foti takes in diverse collection case studies ranging from DNA analyzers to Herbie Hancock’s music synthesizers, from iPods to born-digital photographs, from the laptop used during the filming of the television program Sex and the City to "Stanley" the self-driving car. Using her proposed model of "expert curation", she synthesizes her findings into a more universal framework for undertanding the curatorial methods associated with computer technology and reflects on what it means to be a curator in a postdigital world.
Collecting and Exhibiting Computer-Based Technology offers a detailed analysis of curatorial practice in a relatively new field that is set to grow exponentially. It will be useful reading for curators, scholars, and students alike.
Table of Contents
1. What is Computer-Based Technology?
2. Curating the Unprecedented
3. Adaptive, Distributed, and Transmitted: The Expert Curation in Action
4. Dealing with the Digital: Computer Technology in the Collection
5. "The Black Box Conundrum": Computer Technology on Exhibit
6. Internal Processing: The Methods of Curating Computer-Based Technology
7. The Ever-Evolving Future
Petrina Foti is Adjunct Professor in Museum Studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology, USA. She is involved with the Oral History Collection at the Smithsonian Institution Archives, USA.