Jussi Parikka is Professor at the Winchester School of Art (University of Southampton) and Docent of Digital Culture Theory at the University of Turku. At WSA, Parikka is the founding co-director of AMT, the Archaeologies of Media and Technology research group. He is also Visiting Professor at FAMU at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague where he leads the project “Operational Images and Visual Culture” (2019-2023, funded by the Czech Science Foundation). Parikka’s books have addressed a wide range of topics contributing to a critical understanding of network culture, aesthetics and media archaeology of contemporary society. The books include the media ecology-trilogy Digital Contagions (Lang Publishing, 2007), the award-winning Insect Media (University of Minnesota Press2010) and A Geology of Media (University of Minnesota Press 2015). He is the author of What is Media Archaeology (Polity Press 2012) and he recently co-edited with Tomáš Dvořák the collection Photography off the Scale (University of Minnesota Press, 2021).
Why are science museums implicated in the history of media? And why media historians and media scholars should be interested in science museums? Media technologies, ranging from printing to computing, have formed the background of research in many fields of the humanities. In museums with a scientific orientation the perspective is reversed, and the technological nature of media is brought to the fore, by collecting and exhibiting the “media machines”. The link between the sphere of science museums and the sphere of media is not only a matter of (multi-media) exhibitions and scientific communication. It also calls into question the cultural meanings and the individual histories of those museum objects, that should be considered not only in their instrumental dimension in exhibitions – as rhetorical devices – but as content per se. The science museum approach allows to see media as a technological system and to focus on media material culture, regardless of objects’ status as textual/visual discourses or machines to make/use those discourses. Objects preserved in science museums, explored as nodes of larger cultural and social dynamics, can be a key to materialize the links between practices of imagination, visualization, narration and the constraints and possibilities of living in the material world.
Simona Casonato is the curator of Media, ICT and Digital Culture collections of the Museo Nazionale Scienza e Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci in Milan, Italy. Her background is in the history of institutions and social structures, with a focus on performing arts and media. Since 2003 she has worked at the Museum as an interdisciplinary specialist, curating audiovisuals, oral histories and researching for contents in exhibitions, documentary films and public events. Latest participations in exhibitions: Carlo Erba. Innovation in pharmacy (2012), #Foodpeople (2015), Extreme. In search of particles (2016), Nuove Gallerie Leonardo (2019). She collaborates with the academia in Italy and abroad for teaching and research. Her main interests are history of media technology, museology, scientific and documentary film, intangible heritage. She takes part in museum-academia research partnerships: AN-ICON project by Andrea Pinotti, (Università degli Studi di Milano), ALGOCOUNT project by Alessandro Gandini (Università degli Studi di Milano) Circuits of practice project by Simone Natale (University of Loughborough). She is the co-supervisor of the PhD research project Public History of Science Technology by Design (Museo Nazionale Scienza e Tecnologia – Politecnico di Milano).