The mission of the Network of Experimental Media Archaeology (NEMA) it to promote experimental and playful ways of “thinkering” with past media technologies. In facilitating collaborations between university scholars and cultural heritage institutions such as museums and archives, the network aims at turning the archive or museum into a laboratory space, turning researchers (historians, media archaeologist) as well as archivists and curators into experimenters.
Experimental media archaeology is not about creating a reconstruction of an authentic historical experience as accurately as possible. Instead experiments such as re-enactments and simulations are geared to:
creating tacit knowledge and an awareness of the sensorial and experiential dimensions of media use,
raising the awareness of participants in the experiment about the functionalities ascribed to the materiality of the object (what can and cannot be done with a device),
- as well as the symbolic nature of such objects (design, semantics, interfaces),
- the explication of implicit inventories of knowledge and ignorance (knowledge that provides a springboard for action),
- the creative disconcertion of available knowledge (education through failure),
- the reflective analysis of the performative dimension of technical objects (object as medium),
- as well as the critical reflection of the situation dynamics in the experimental space (between the object and the experimenter as well as between different actors).
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