Curating Digital Images
Ethnographic Perspectives on the Affordances of Digital Images in Museum and Heritage Contexts
This paper provides an overview of the DFG-funded research project Curating Digital Images: Ethnographic Perspectives on the Affordances of Digital Images in Museum and Heritage Contexts, part of the DFG Priority Program The Digital Image. First, we outline the project’s theoretical grounding in affordance theories and its attention to practices of curating digital images before providing two ethnographic examples from our project’s main areas of work. These examples show how lay users shape their encounters with museum objects by employing digital image technologies and social media, creating new relationships between museums and everyday life. Next, we describe a new methodological approach that brings together ethnography, eye-tracking technology, and information science to study visual perception and practices of looking in digital curation. In our outlook, we indicate five key affordances of digital images for curatorial practices that we consider over the course of our project.