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Avatars, Monsters, and Machines: A Cyborg Archaeology

  • Colleen Morgan (a1)


As digital practice in archaeology becomes pervasive and increasingly invisible, I argue that there is a deep creative potential in practising a cyborg archaeology. A cyborg archaeology draws from feminist posthumanism to transgress bounded constructions of past people as well as our current selves. By using embodied technologies to disturb archaeological interpretations, we can push the use of digital media in archaeology beyond traditional, skeuomorphic reproductions of previous methods to highlight ruptures in thought and practice. I develop this argument through investigating the avatars, machines, and monsters in current digital archaeological research. These concepts are productively liminal: avatars, machines, and monsters blur boundaries between humans and non-humans, the past and the present, and suggest productive approaches to future research.

Avec la généralisation des pratiques numériques en archéologie, qui deviennent cependant de plus en plus imperceptibles, l'auteur soutient qu'il existe un vaste potentiel de créativité dans la pratique de l'archéologie cybernétique. Cette discipline s'inspire du posthumanisme féministe pour briser les limitations de nos préconceptions sur les gens du passé mais aussi sur nous-mêmes. L'emploi de technologies incorporées et de médias numériques en archéologie nous permet de dépasser les limites des reconstitutions traditionnelles et skeuomorphiques produites par des méthodes plus anciennes, de bouleverser nos interprétations et de mettre l'accent sur certains points de rupture dans la pensée et en pratique. L'auteur traite ce sujet à travers l'examen d'avatars, de machines et de monstres tels qu'on les représente de nos jours en archéologie numérique. Ces concepts, liminaires mais productifs car les avatars, les montres et les machines brouillent les frontières entre ce qui est humain et non-humain et entre le passé et le présent, nous permettent d'entrevoir des approches fructueuses en recherche. Translation by Madeleine Hummler

Als sich die Digitalisierung in der archäologischen Praxis durchsetzt und zunehmend unsichtbar wird, wird hier der Standpunkt vertreten, dass die Ausübung der Cyborg-Archäologie potenziell sehr kreativ sein könnte. Die Cyborg-Archäologie ist vom feministischen Posthumanismus beeinflusst und bietet die Möglichkeit, unsere beschränkten Vorstellungen der Menschen in der Vergangenheit aber auch von uns selbst zu überwinden. Mithilfe der verkörperten Technologien und Digitalmedien in der Archäologie können wir die Grenzen der traditionellen, skeuomorphischen Rekonstruktionen der älteren Methoden überschreiten, archäologische Deutungen stören und gewisse intellektuelle und praktische Bruchstellen aufzeigen. Dies wird hier anhand von Untersuchungen von Avataren, Maschinen und Monstern in der gegenwärtigen digital-archäologischen Forschung herausgearbeitet. Solche liminale aber produktive Auffassungen, weil die Avatare, Maschinen und Monster die Grenzen zwischen dem Menschlichen und Nicht-Menschlichen und zwischen der Gegenwart und der Vergangenheit verwischen, stellen vielversprechende Ansätze für weitere Forschungen dar. Translation by Madeleine Hummler

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Avatars, Monsters, and Machines: A Cyborg Archaeology

  • Colleen Morgan (a1)


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