[ISEA94] Paper: Ross Harley – Dig: An Archeology of Technology and Entertainment in Spielberg’s Jurassic Park


This paper argues that “Jurassic Park” can be considered as an exemplary moment in the convergence of a number of contemporary discourses on technology and entertainment. “We’re all diggers” comments one character, musing on the significance of the mosquito trapped in the recently excavated amber he holds in his hands. We can take this comment as our cue for a different kind of excavation of the film’s cultural ground. The biggest movie of 1993, Spielberg’s blockbuster epitomises everything about recent Hollywood’s increasing dependence on spectacular event-based cinema. By mobilising a number of popular pre-existing fads and fears, the film manages to market itself on the back on a monumental popular fascination with the seemingly limitless bounds of technology. This paper takes the film’s depiction of cloning, artificial life, theme parks, tourism, spectacle and entertainment as the starting point for a discussion on the status of the spectacle in contemporary culture.

  • Ross Harley. Born in Sydney, Australia, in 1961. Graduated (BA Hons) from Griffith University 1982. Has been working in a wide variety of media, creating videos and art projects for exhibition since 1986, most recently the Digital Garden III at Ars Electronica in Austria, 1993. The former editor of the critical journal Art + Text, he was the director of the Third International Symposium on Electronic Art held in Sydney, 1992. More recently he has edited two anthologies, New Media Technologies and Artists in Cyberculture, published by the Australian Film Television and Radio School. He lectures in Theatre/Film Studies at the University of New South Wales.