The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A pointer to 3pointD: 9/11 Gets a Fitting Memorial in Second Life

Museums and memorials both deal with memory (I know, the clue's in the name) and both need sustaining for this to work. Of course many museums act as memorials and sometimes it's not really clear which we're looking at.

The memorial to 9/11mentioned in 3pointDs post sounds like a case in point (I haven't seen it, still no SL account but slowly getting keener on trying it out). "Artworks" in SL are, it would appear, common enough, indeed so are museums and galleries; but something like this memorial seems to be on a level very appropriate to the question I want to ask regarding experience-level resources, and when and how we decide what will happen to them in the future. There are many other questions of a more museological bent: who can feel ownership of this? does that matter anyway? can we be confident of what we see there?

Maybe I'll sign up soon and decide for myself. If it's as powerful as it sounds I hope the memorial is durable, but the chances of that are hard to assess in these hosted virtual worlds.
Empty as it may sound, my thoughts go out to those who lost loved ones that day six years ago, and indeed to those who were lost or scarred. The media is doing a good job of memorialising right now, and my mind is quite full of those terrible events; they never seem to settle down into becoming assimilated knowledge, bleached of much of their original emotion, in the way that other disasters so often seem to. The shock is still there.

3 comments:

Amy said...

Thanks for alerting us to this Jeremy. I'm increasingly feeling that the virtual world is becoming more 'real', and I think this is good evidence of that. It's no longer simply a 'game'. I have tried Second Life twice, but I don't think my laptop is good enough to process the graphics properly. I can't help feeling like I'm missing out on something.

Anna (W) went to Ground Zero recently and took some interesting photos of the impromptu memorials which have sprung up around the perimeter. Perhaps she could be persuaded to post some here?!

Mette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mette said...

Hi Jemeremy,

This is really interesting and I may add a small perspective to the debate which I find quite exciting. To me this memorial is also part of a growing tendency or need for private people to construct or interpret the past publicly. The task for the modern museum was to construct a shared past, but increasingly this has been taken over by individuals. With web 2.0. there are almost endless possibilities and the cost of making ones interpretations accessible is very low. It is of course interesting to see the implications this could have on museological practices if it was embraced fully - and I think it is inspiring to develop the dynamics and dialectics between a museal and private interpretations. Needless to say that this (especially with 9/11) would need an ethical debate�