Michael Carter - 3D point and virtual object

The life and death of archaeology: a DCI Conversation with Dr Michael Carter, Ryerson University

The life and death of archaeology: curating virtual objects and material culture in the digital age

A DCI Conversation with
Dr Michael Carter
Ryerson University

hosted by the Digital Curation Institute, Faculty of Information,
University of Toronto, on

Wednesday, 27 November, 4:30pm – 6pm

Room BL728, Bissell Building, 140 St George St, Toronto

The Digital Curation Institute is pleased to welcome Dr William Michael Carter, Director of Industry of the Master in Digital Media Program, Ryerson University in our third DCI Conversation this year. The event, based on a dialogic format, is part of this year’s DCI Conversations series aimed to explore the many faces of digital curation in contemporary settings of social and cultural significance. It focuses on the challenges emerging from the proliferation of virtual objects and  3D models produced and collected by archaeologists and digital heritage specialists in the  hope that one day they might prove useful, which challenge our certainties on how to best represent, curate, and communicate the archaeological record in our increasingly digital future. As Michael Carter notes, “we capture mass amounts of point-cloud data, only to struggle with its purpose or for whom it serves. Thus, like the Victorian warehouses and vaults beneath the floors of museums […] 3D data is too locked away in the digital cloud, on decaying servers or on forgotten digital tape never to be seen or utilized in any effective way”.

Michael Carter will share his insights and experience on, among other things, the following questions:

  • Can the multiple cables running through archaeological knowledge be accounted for through 3D model curation?
  • How do alternative 3D models and visualisation traditions bring about plural affordances, knowledge and meanings?
  • How can we account for the relational ontology, agency and ethics of 3D points, virtual objects, and paradata?
  • What are the limits of the dogma of preservationism?
  • What future lies ahead for virtual archaeology  in an era of pro-am digitization, platforms, and data promiscuity?

Michael Carter is an emerging scholar in the field of Virtual Archaeology, with a 24-year professional career in the 3D and 2D computer animation and visual effects (VFX) industries, in both the software and production environments. He is a 2015 Team Award Recipient for the Ryerson University President’s Blue and Gold Award of Excellence, in the design, development and implementation of the Master of Digital Media program. His research focuses on Artificial Intelligence and Culture, both from the perspective of the enculturation of data and in the formation of pre-cultural markers within AI itself. The use of Virtual Archaeology to enhance Art and Archaeological research, as well as the deployment of robotic systems within hazardous archaeological sites. Additional research is in the DNA of 3D points within virtual objects and the representation of providence and provenance data as an actor-network. Michael holds a PhD in Anthropology (Archaeology) from Western University, a Master’s in Education from the University of Toronto, two postgraduate diplomas in Computer Graphics and Computer Animation from Sheridan College, and an Honours BA in Anthropology, and Visual Arts, from the University of Western Ontario.

Admission is free, all welcome! RSVP to reserve a seat.