Starting this Friday, on 1-3 May, museum directors, artificial intelligence (AI) specialists, writers, professors of science and architecture theory and other thinkers are meeting online to discuss what can be done with digital technology, now and in the future. The free-to-attend event has been organised by The Art Newspaper and Factum Foundation, with Il Giornale dell’Arte.
The discussions will consider, but go far beyond the question, if an object can be reproduced exactly, which has the “aura”—the original or the facsimile? They will be broadcast live on The Art Newspaper’s YouTube channel,
Discussion 1: The Future of Museums, Exhibitions and the Objects they Display
Rethinking the role and value of culture in the shadow of an uncertain future
Friday 1 May, 5pm BST/12pm EST
The role of the museum as a repository of physical objects that give access to collective memory is changing. New digital recording technologies that (among other things) allow exact facsimiles to be made and are providing access to a global audience, while new display technologies are inviting us to look at the nature of the object with new eyes.
This panel discusses the purpose of a museum, its role, what should it show, how and to whom. It will look at the way technology is making a « museum without walls » possible and realigning the relationship between the original and the authentic. Is the “aura” of originality now an obsession that is constraining what can be displayed, how it can be
seen and how it can be effectively preserved?
Sir Charles Saumarez Smith, CBE, former Secretary and Chief Executive, Royal Academy of Arts
Sir Mark Jones, former Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, former chairman of the National Museum Directors’ Conference
András Szántó, Author and Cultural Strategy Advisor, Founder of Andras Szanto LLC
Mari Lending, Professor in Architectural Theory and History at the Oslo Centre for Critical Architectural Studies
Marina Warner, DBE,
Writer of fiction, criticism, and history; Professor of English and
Creative Writing, Birkbeck College, London; President of the Royal
Society of Literature
Neil MacGregor, former Director, The British Museum, Founding Director, Humboldt Forum Berlin (2015-18)
Discussion 2: The Circulation of Objects: the Politics of Recording, Training, Preserving and Sharing
Creating a cultural economy based on sharing skills, technologies and knowledge
Saturday 2 May, 5pm BST/12pm EST
For museums and other cultural heritage institutions, digital technologies open up unprecedented possibilities for sharing and collaboration, but they also give rise to new responsibilities. This panel asks how the international heritage community can best work to create accurate records and share both objects and knowledge with audiences across the world.
Simon Schaffer, Professor of History of Science, Cambridge University
Anaïs Aguerre, Cultural Strategy Advisor and Founder of Culture Connect Ltd, ReACH Project Director
Jerry Brotton, Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary University of London
Hartwig Fischer, Director of the British Museum
Richard Kurin, Smithsonian Distinguished Scholar and Ambassador-at-Large
Bonnie Greer, OBE, playwright, author and critic, former Trustee of the British Museum
Discussion 3: An Intimacy with the Physical World: New Technologies Generating New Knowledge
Compiling, analysing, presenting information in an age of machine learning
Sunday 3 May, 5pm BST/12pm EST
This discussion focuses on the technologies that are creating new knowledge about cultural heritage—on where we are now and where we go next.
Among the subjects to be discussed are new possibilities for image and information analysis, new technologies of display, and the problem of long-term digital archiving.
Sir Ian Blatchford, Director and Chief Executive of the Science Museum Group, Chairman of the National Museum Directors’ Council
Brian Cantwell Smith, Reid Hoffman Professor of Artificial Intelligence and the Human, Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto
Sarah Kenderdine, Professor of Digital Museology, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne
Frédéric Kaplan, Professor and Digital Humanities Chair, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne
Distinguished Presidential Fellow, Council on Library and Information
Resources and Dean Emerita of New York University (NYU) Libraries
William Owen, Founder of Made by Many