[ISEA2022] Paper: Deborah Lawler-Dormer & Chris Muller — Museum Practices and Posthumanist Assemblages: Activating the Possibilities of Technology Collections


Full Paper. Session: Futures and Heritages / Histories and collections

Keywords: Museum collections, computational media, data visualization, posthumanism, science analysis, communication

A paper and conversation about posthumanist frameworks for museum practice between a lead curator and a cultural theorist.

This paper discusses the potential of computational media and museum collections to enable encounters with the technological present that complicate narratives of progress, modernity and individual (male) genius that often frame the conceptualization of technology in the museum space. It provides an account of an exhibition and associated time-based objects to help anchor a wider discussion of the potential of posthumanist modes of thinking in the museum space.

  • Deborah Lawler-Dormer is a research manager at the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney, Australia. Her work is transdisciplinary and often engages art, science and technology in collaboration with industry, tertiary and community partners. She is the lead curator for the exhibition Invisible Revealed (2022) developed in partnership with Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation. She is also a visiting Research Fellow with the Expanded Perception and Interaction Centre at University of New South Wales and Adjunct Research Fellow at Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University. Recent publications include ‘Critical posthumanist practices from within the Museum’ in The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Posthumanism (2022).
  • Christopher John Müller is a senior lecturer in Cultural Studies & Media at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. His work focuses on the intersection of technology and the deceptive “immediacy” of feeling. He is the author of Prometheanism: Technology, Digital Culture and Human Obsolescence (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016), and his articles, translations and reviews have appeared in Parallax, Thesis Eleven, CounterText, TrippleC, Textual Praxis. Chris co-edited ThePalgrave Handbook of Critical Posthumanism (2022) and he co-edits the Genealogy of the Posthuman on www.criticalposthumanism.net.