The provisional Bookmark and Information page of the CULTH - Project:


Symposium, Exhibition and Public Events Towards the Museum of Tomorrow -
Good Practices in Transformation and Use of Cultural Content in Digital Form

organized by

Vienna Academy of the Future - Wiener internationale Akademie für Zukunftsfragen

Museum of modern Art Vienna * Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien

Lab GIVE - Globally Integrated Village Environment * Forschungsgesellschaft für das Leben im Globalen Dorf

page content:

1. The intention of the Event

Be it in the workplace, in education, in public life, in medicine or in entertainment, the new possibilities of providing and combining almost any kind of information through digital multimedia  and the ability to transmit them it in real time through advanced communication technologies  inflict tremendous stress on all kinds of institutions, as they  open a wide range of possibilities for those institutions. Simultanious waves of centralisation and decentralisation restructure social life and the whole framework of social tasks, divisions of labour, cooperation and competition. Nothing seems to be stable in such a situation, where one practical project after the other seeks to outperform old structures,

As the abilities of the new media mature, also the traditional cultural institutions, especially museums, are facing new unexpected challenges. The digitazion of content creates new demands in accessibility, availability, quality and quantity. At the same time, the cultural heritages of the globe begin to relate to each other and to merge in unprecenteded ways. Never had any culture access to such a wealth of experience and expression, never was the outcome so open. We all feel that we are facing a period of transition in which the potential of the new (hyper-) media to create new associations and views plays an important role. But this transition is depending on the role of many players, and the traditional keepers of purpose and structure are equaly important.

At the present time, with a lot of effort and technological sophistication, the digitization of contents of museums, libraries and archives is taking place in Europe, which holds a large part of the cultural heritage of the world. A gigantic number of cultural artefacts is potentially accessible, although nobody knows exactly how, at what price, where and with which limitations.

This is where "Culth" wants to start at. The Changes in the modes of reception as well as the transformation of institutions will be the main issue, based on the encounter with and the experience of some technological options that fuel our phantasy and ability to recognize future options and take part in shaping them. With the joint effort and synergy of many partners we want to enable easier understanding of the double transition - in reception and institutions - ahead of us. Some of the exhibited and presented options might even be called "best practices".

We try to avoid the notion that there are fixed criteria what a "best practice" is. In fact, the very popularity of this concept reflects the absence of such criteria. Rather than following a fixed set of criteria, a "good" practice establishes consensus and compatibility between a range of different value-systems. "Internal" criteria of quality, coherence, sustainability, reliability meet "external" criteria like acceptance, usefulness, empowerment in many different ways. "Best Practices" as we understand them are experimental steps towards a new structure in an age of transformation. Some of them might be still not completely out of the research lab, but they should have some appeal to many different target groups.

The following examples have been mentioned in preliminary talks, .
2. Ideas for good practice to be presented and discussed in the Symposium

Tuesday, 6th of October, 1998
Day 1 of the Expert part of the conference
The n-dimensional museum: enhanced capacity, enhanced experience

We start our tour at the very core, at the institution that holds and collects the elements of our cultural heritage. The Museum is the paradigm of the question how digital media allow digital and physical content to interact. The different tasks of the museum - to collect or to capture - to archive - to present - to combine or to navigate are deeply affected by digital media:

¥ possible Keynote speech : Hypermedia as Paradigm and as Design Challenge
Kim H. Veltman

¥ Good practices in Capturing of digital content:
There are more issues than simple quality involved in this area. Good capturing of content creteates condition for good presentation, efficient storege, representation of many elements of knowledge embedded in and connected to an artefact. Capture is not merely duplication; it can also be the preservation of an original condition or environment which otherwise would no longer be available. Copyright issues are as well relevant to capture and quality.


Good practices in Archiving and Categorization of Digital Content

The Museum as a place of collection requires sophisticated methods of registration, and digital media can be helpful in drawing the links between objects of various kinds. The increasing ourtreach of the museum requires standards and common understanding as a vital condition for collaboration of any kind.

Good Practices in Presentation and Navigation

What role can digital media play in the enhancement of the museum experience? will the digital /virtual representation tend to overshadow the (sometimes restricted) encounter wit the original - or can the digital world serve as an agent to sharpen and focus attention and to produce a mental background which allows the visitor to conceive the meaning of the artefact in front of him in a richer way...?


Wednesday, 7th of October, 1998
Day 2 of the Expert part of the conference
"Museums as Providers - Networks, Synergies, Markets and Non-Markets"

The increasing digitization of our "objective spirit" not only creates increasing irrelevance of place; it also changes completely the way tasks are defined and done. Digital media create new and exciting dimensions of centralisation and decentralisation, competition and cooperation. The museum of the future will face the challenge - or the opportunity - that its digitezed content can be used elsewhere, it will team up on one hand with similar institutions to create leverage and division of labour, on the other hand it will be a node in a network of institutions completing each other by different core competences.

Thursday, 8th of October, 1998
Day 1 of the General part of the conference
"Museums where we need them (and even did not expect them):
Access points in Education, Tourism, Leisure etc."

Sometimes we intentionally visit a museum, but many times we visit something else which can be extended through the capacities of a good knowledge base. In fact, sometimes we wish our cultural heritage just to be present when and where we need it. Sometimes the museum itself turns into something different and becomes a place of entertainment, on behalf of its educational function. Digital Media and the omnipresence of content allow to implement cultural flavour and serious deepening of views. On the base of new collaborations this external presence of the museum can manifest itself in very different forms.

Friday, 9th of October, 1998
Day 2 of the general part of the conference
"Culture as consumer item: Target Interpassivity ?"

With the emergence of a global society and the decreasing significance of the national state, the idea of culture as a common posession and source of identity of society is giving way to the model of the universal information marketplace. The target of this marketplace is the individualized consumer and the delivery of content to the household and the transformation of historic sites to commercially structured theme parcs. The anti-utopian notion of this might give room to a deeper look into the internal dynamics of this process, which might lead to the surprising result that consumer demands towards digital media are also evolving towards empowerment, community building and sophistication.

Saturday, 9th of October, 1998
Day 3 of the General part of the conference
"The Digital Workshop: New Creativity in Cyberspace"
The exciting possibility of the digital media to create perspectives, to link, to modify, to rearrange - have been the subject of many concerns: in the digital world the original is lost, perfect fraud is possible, simulation is complete. Yet the unprecenteded ability of creation and modification of digital artefacts has the dimension that more than ever before everyone is called to become an artist. At a different level, as in Hesses "Glasspearlgame", there is a challenge to find underlying connections and bring out substantial discoveries through the playful, open and curious combination and variation of digital artefacts. They might widen our perspectives for past, present and future.