Rahul K. Gairola and Martin Roth
In this article, I perceive digital space as a space structured by different and, at the same time, related modes of exchange. Drawing on Karatani Kōjin’s model of ‘exchange’, I scrutinize capitalist exchange in digital space, data-based control on platforms, and the conditions of community in a filtered digital reality. The analysis indicates a shift in the structure of exchange in digital space. In Karatani’s analysis, capital, nation, and state form a strong alliance that maintains the present status quo. Although this holds true for digital space, the emphasis is much more on corporate and thus capitalist actors, which, in some cases, replace the state and interfere with the emergence of imagined communities. By relating the various actors and dimensions, I provide a heuristic model for the structure of digital space.
The article explores a series of blockbuster exhibitions of DreamWorks Animation developed by the Australian Centre of the Moving Image (ACMI) in collaboration with one of the largest Hollywood producers. Curated by ACMI, this blockbuster exhibition was designed to provide a behind-the-scenes look into collaborative processes involved in DreamWorks animations. This exhibition travelled across the Asia-Pacific in 2015-2017 and was hosted by a number of museums, such as the ArtScience Museum in Singapore, the Te Papa Museum in New Zealand, the Seoul Museum of Art in South Korea, and the National Taiwan Science and Education Centre in Taiwan. It displayed over 400 unique objects from the studio’s archive ‘of rare and never before displayed material’, such as drawings, models, maps, photographs, posters, and other artworks. The article explores the highly favourable reception to the DreamWorks Animation blockbuster in different cities in Asia. It employs a geo-visualization of Asian engagement with the blockbuster exhibit to reveal and explain local and global mechanisms of ‘attraction’ power, generated by DreamWorks in different Asian countries. Contributing to the special issue, this article engages with two aspects of it: the form, cultural digital mapping; and the content, the nature of media pop culture exemplified through the traveling blockbuster.
Empowered by information technology, the Vietnamese online community is becoming the most progressive and active social group in Vietnam. Using network society theory developed by Manuel Castells, this article investigates the impact of Facebook on the formation of cyber-networks in which internet users access uncensored information and voice their opinions about politics and everyday life. My arguments are based on an analysis of blogs, online discussion groups, and semi-structured interviews with Vietnamese activists, bloggers, and journalists. While the Vietnamese authorities struggle to find ways to control the dynamism of the developing cyber-society, these networks are leading Vietnamese netizens into the habit of using new media such as Facebook to become familiar with the basic values of cyber-democracy.
Digital archives are spaces for managing collections and providing online access to heritage material stored in museums and archives. In India, conventions on preserving cultural heritage in combination with the national agenda of ‘Digital India’ influence recent projects on digitizing collections and creating online repositories. Looking at ‘Virtual Museums’ and ‘Euro-Indian Paintings’ as two projects initiated by the Indian Ministry of Culture, this article sheds light on the dynamics involved in digitizing Indian cultural heritage: the visions, implementation, and use of the digital collection. The projects represent substantial efforts at creating modern collection management systems that would assemble heritage information in a single, online accessible space. In practice, however, it is not only information and communications technology for development that drives the creation of digital archives but also bureaucratic habits, reluctance, and impediments to forming it. Conceptions shape digital spaces but so do their implementation and (dis)use.