Building Momentum: Physical Computing in DH

[Author’s Note: Taking a cue from the electronic literature of my fellow Studio DHers, I’ve crafted the following passage in the style of Twine. Follow the links including one to a Storify for Building in the Digital Humanities, as you so desire.]

While the Digital Humanities may or may not be defined by the design and construction of physical objects, it remains one of the quintessential elements of the field. It can take the shape of artistic installations which use technology to challenge our ideas of space and form and question society’s laws, 3-D printing which allows whatever we imagine to take shape, or steampunk gadgetry which makes a fictive universe tangible. Whole communities and world faires have been born out of the idea that making things matters and artistry can be expressed in circuitry as well as on canvases. These strides are not always positive, but all are united by the belief that through the blending of the digital and the real one can transform the every day and challenge the limits of possibility. Thus, while DHers may continue to debate the inclusion of building in the definition of the Digital Humanities, discovery and creation does and will continue to play a pivotal role in the future of DH.

P.S. Even the Tate of London feels the need to encourage the DH in the studio, if we see the museum itself as a exercise in physical computing and a studio for DH.

P.P.S. And while an older creation, the “tunnel” from the south bank of the Thames in London to New York–and it’s steampunk styling–demonstrates quite literally how such DH projects connects people.

P.P.P.S. And if those things don’t suit one, then go to camp with DHers and learn Studio DH as one really ought to: through serious play.

— Clifford Hichar


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