Thursday, July 27, 2006

Digital Dynamics Across Cultures

In her review of the Ara Irititja digital archive project ( in MUA 29.1, Kim Christen advanced discussions of both the emerging role of digital media in ethnographic collaborations and of intellectual property questions viewed cross-culturally. In an extensive digital project of her own, undertaken in collaboration with Warumungu community members and a gifted technical team, Christen has pushed these discussions further down a productive path.

A link below leads to the peer-reviewed website "Digital Dynamics Across Cultures," part of the online multimedia journal Vectors: Journal of Culture and Technology in a Dynamic Vernacular. The journal's editors offer the following introduction to the site:

"Editors' Introduction--Digital Dynamics Across Cultures re-imagines the work of anthropology in the age of digital reproduction, and, by extension, explores the cross-cultural implications of several seeming truisms of the electronic era. While the libertarian impulses and voices fueling the gold rush mentality of Silicon Valley's period often insisted that information wants to be free, Kim Christen here reveals the peculiarly Western bias of such claims. Drawing on materials collected in more than a decade of field work, Christen and her collaborators have created a complex, multimedia artifact that moves far beyond Discovery Channel-type explorations of cultural difference. Instead, the project models the unique systems of belief and of shared ownership that underpin Warumungu knowledge production and reproduction, including a system of protocols that limit access to information or to images in accordance with Aboriginal systems of accountability. "

Vectors Journal of Culture and Technology in a Dynamic Vernacular:

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