reblogged via Material World, February 7, 2007:
Blobgects: an Experiment in the Discursive Museum
"By situating a catalogue, the definitive universal description, into a discursive idiom, the Weblog, we are drawing attention to the fact that this is but one way of narrating these objects. Through the ability of users to tag, comment, and order these accounts in their way, we hope that the provisional and local nature of the catalogue itself will become clear."
The Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology at the University of Cambridge has a new weblog: http://museum.archanth.cam.ac.uk/blobgects/
I grant you that this is not particularly earthshaking, but this Blog is a little different. It is only a little different, and that is the point. Though it is a weblog, the entries are not curatorial statements, nor academic discourses, nor even the contributions from the public -- they are objects. Or, rather, they are the catalogue entries and, eventually, the images of objects.
The goal of Blobgects is simple, What might happen if rather than just being able to search a museum's on-line catalogue, and being forced into the idiom of the catalogue, users could engage with the catalogue as they would a Blog? Engagement that would include all the features of a Blog: commenting, tagging, RSS feeds of individual records or searches, etc. In other words, what might happen if we extended the principles of Social Computing, in one small way, into the privileged world of the museum catalogue? Hence, Blobgects.
I imagine that I do not have to state on this forum that knowledge is embodied, it is situated and requires sets of social relations between people. However, I feel that I do have to state, or restate, that knowledge also requires things. Just like people, things are not outside of knowledge but are part of its embodiment. It is true that you cannot have knowledge with just things, things are not knowledge, but knowledge is not simply conceptual -- I would argue that it is not conceptual at all, but that is another matter. Objects, even digital objects, embody surrogate practices, surrogate social practices. They do this so they can be knowledge objects, or, more accurately, can participate in situated knowledge production and reproduction.
So why Blobgects? [read full article]