Museums and attacks from cyberspace: Non-linear communication in a postmodern world

Bob Hodge
2011 Museum & Society  
This article examines a single virtual incident, a hostile review by climate change sceptic journalist Andrew Bolt of an Australian Museum exhibition on climate change, to explore its implications for contemporary museums curating controversial topics. It takes both topic and attack as aspects of new conditions which science and museums alike must cope with, which include new concepts of science and society, and new communication technologies. It uses the concept of the 'postmodern condition'
more » ... a framework for understanding some crucial features of these new conditions. It sees traditional linear models of communication as dangerously limited ways for museums to operate effectively in this new highly complex and unpredictable environment. It finds that some aspects of this Exhibition had an underlying linearity that left it especially open to the attack it received, while other aspects incorporated an effective complexity that better fulfilled its aims. Yet the analysis does not offer complete safety against such attacks. On the contrary, part of the danger exposed in this analysis comes from new 'postmodern' levels of irrationality and lack of respect for science legitimated by the claims of these critics to be defenders of reason and science.
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