The Future of Things: Digitization and Remediation


This course (INF2228H — The Future of Things: Digitization and Remediation) will explore how and why material objects, cultural artifacts, and artistic works relate to and are transformed through technological mediation. We will examine several case studies in which elements of the analogue or natural world are digitized and presented in new screen-based forms. Throughout the course we will combine theoretical readings on the nature of materiality, the politics of digitization, and the aesthetics of digital representation with case studies of specific digital archives, collections, and organizations. Topics will include the scanning of books by mass digitization organizations like the Internet Archive and Google Books; diverse practices of curation and remediation in the museum and library sectors; technologies for digitization and remediation including 3D scanning, photography, OCR and applications of machine learning for textual transcription; specialist imaging techniques including multi-spectral imaging and micro-CT scanning; the mediation and digitization of social processes; artistic and conceptual engagements with digitization; the relationship between digitization and conservation of historical materials; and the creation of digital archives and collections. We will conclude the course by considering the role of materiality and embodiment in a highly digitized culture and the significance of material craft and the handmade alongside digital surrogates.