Let Them Eat Static: Public Archaeology and Mass Media in the Twenty-first Century
In this presentation Steve will examine the relationships between archaeology and popular media and consider the ways in which Australian archaeologists might approach a new engagement with popular culture in the twenty-first century.
In the postmodern digital age, fuelled by an explosion in communications technology and the so-called ‘information revolution’, images and ideas of archaeology and the archaeological past are everywhere. Some versions of the past have been heavily commoditised, pressed into service for a multitude of consumer-capitalist causes. Archaeology generates billions of dollars of revenue for huge corporatised media conglomerates, churning out endless streams of homogenised archaeological ‘product’. Artefacts of every description are bought and sold in their millions through internet auction sites every day. The World Wide Web turns popular books about alien visitors and lost continents into overnight sensations, while the ever expanding blogosphere abounds with fantastic theories and bizarre archaeological conspiracies. In this constantly moving multivocal environment there is no preordained authority for the proclamations of professional archaeologists. In this presentation I will examine the relationships between archaeology and popular media and consider the ways in which Australian archaeologists might approach a new engagement with popular culture in the twenty-first century.
About the presenter
Stephen Nichols is the Site Registrar with the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, where he is currently responsible for administering Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage legislation. He has previously held a variety of positions in both the academic and cultural heritage management sectors and has a PhD in public archaeology from The University of Queensland. In a former life, he was a corporate finance manager with the international consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.