We must interfere in the public’s understanding in the past. Change it. Surprise, enlighten, destroy when necessary and rebuild a better, stronger, more curious and more passionate interest in what we do. This is my charge to myself and to other archaeologists and to anyone who wants to join us.
What are you doing to Participate?
Good question. What am I doing? At the very least, I hope that what I write in this blog rises to that challenge. Rob MacDougall, in his tribute to Digital History Hacks, writes
…one meta-idea which Bill [read his work now! – SG] taught me is that the loftiest questions about what we do are not separate from the nuts and bolts of how we do it. As above, so below: lofty philosophical issues are practical technical questions and vice versa. Change the tools available to the humanities and you have the opportunity to rethink what the humanities are.
That’s what I aspire to do. I try to find the leading edge of what’s happening in new media, tech, games, society at large, and I try to wonder, intelligently, about how these things intersect with archaeology. Sometimes, it’s archaeology at the edge, sometimes not. Bill is passionate about getting historians to do their own coding. Archaeologists should do the same. Moreover, Bill’s pushing the historians and the humanities people more generally to get into making the digital devices themselves:
In my new research program, I’m exploring ways to build historical interpretations into physical devices and environments. This work is backward looking, in the sense that it engages with the histories of measurement, materials science and machine tools. It is also very present-minded, since I am approaching the project as a form of critical technical practice, building on new developments in ubiquitous / pervasive computing and desktop fabrication. To support this work, I have put together a modest Lab for Humanistic Fabrication with an associated Fabrication Wiki.
Read the wiki. Let’s build something!