2016 VHN conference at University College Cork was a fantastic occasion to listen to inspiring talks and being introduced to interesting research projects. By far, the variety of covered topics was the best feature of the conference since it presented a wide spectrum of existing opportunities for further work both in the area of Virtual Heritage, as well as Digital Humanities. If one was skeptical before about the interdisciplinary character of DH and VH, this conference proved it to be true by bringing together many scholars from different backgrounds who use similar tools often for vast types of research.
This blog post is somewhat a continuation of the previous entry, since I would like to discuss in greater detail the idea behind giving the majority the ability to curate images through various social media platforms. Leaving the discussion of ‘high culture’ and pop culture, I’d like to turn towards expressions of everyday life, how we construct them and what are their meanings in terms of creating the ever-growing database linked to our digital heritage.
Why does preservation of everyday life’s trivialities matter? From anthropological perspective we know that this is where lies the key to understanding given society and its culture. Millions of images showing our lives and ourselves can help in possibly avoiding the struggle which are being tackled for example by creators of visual 3D representations of our heritage which in ghastly way lack humans themselves due to lack of evidence for how people have looked and moved like (Woolford, Dunn 1). Social media, as a side effect of growing tendency to overshare, act like large catalogues gathering the data related to how we look like, our routine activities such as social interactions, eating habits, linguistic practices or interests. Unfortunately, it is impossible to use this data without critical analysis. We produce shared images according to the same rules, picked up through a narrow stream of personalized news feed and our activity on social media is shaped by how oneself wants to be viewed by the world – and others’ feed (Hochman 1). It’s a spiral of sort, which not only impacts the design of the online persona, but also our perception of everyday life which is filtered by observing live-stream of selected “worldviews” produced by other individuals (Hochman 6). Although all of the above is artificially constructed and the images produced are – in a sense – staged, they still remain precious source of information. Even if that’s an information about how we would like to perceive the world around us.