The Identity of Objects: Form & Nature in Digital Museums

  • Jason T Hewitt
Keywords: semiotics, pragmatism, fundamental informatics, general informatics, museum informatics, museology, ontology of information, information ethics


Reconciling Justus Buchler's theory of natural complexes with the Peircean triadic categorial schema, a theory of semiotic radiance is articulated that elaborates the nature of identity with regard to informatic control over objects in a mu- seum collection. The model is deployed in the context of Edwina Taborsky's description of the historical transformation of the cultural syntax of museums. It is argued that the pattern of transformation is not random, but rather follows a specific and recognizable pattern. This pattern is consistent with a general trend in culture, identified by Heidegger, that becomes particularly problematic in its later stages. A theory of the commons derived from Hardt and Negri is articulated that looks to regenerate the space of the museum with regard to its informatic structures in order to renegotiate humanism in terms of a liberation ethic. The rubric of fundamental informatics is borrowed from Toru Nishigaki to describe the inquiry that pursues that end.

Author Biography

Jason T Hewitt
Jason T. Hewitt is a doctoral student at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the Department of Information Studies. His research focuses on the relationship of philosophical skepticism and semiotic theory to information ecologies. He has lectured on the History of Religions, Ecological Theology and Semiotic Ecology at the University of Denver, Naropa University, the Vajra- pani Institute, and elsewhere. He works professionally as a consultant and as a Knowledge Manager and Information Archi- tect for MySpace.Com.
Special Issue: Towards a New Science of Information