Digitalization transforms museums, theaters, cinemas, heritage sites, and other identity-creating stakeholders. They began providing streams and other online participation opportunities to stay in touch with visitors. Digitalization offers new modes of interaction and might impact shaping and curation memory. This workshop explores the digitalization of memory in China. Digitalization and datafication spread out much faster in China than in other countries. Despite the rapid digital development in China, research on digital memory is still an unattended field.
Researchers focus mostly on the digital protection of cultural heritage. Chinese scholars made little contributions, which for one emphasize the importance of digitization to protect and propagate Chinese intangible cultural heritage (Chen & Lyu, 2015) and also see benefits in preservation and making non-movable cultural heritage visitable to everyone (Hu, 2018).
Memory is crucial not only for the collective identity of nations but also for the legitimacy of governments themselves. Therefore, not only cultural heritage is digitalized but also party history. Digital content is available not only online but also in APPs. The relationship between memory and power changed since multiple actors can interact in the digital space. Due to spatial limitations in previous times, the ability to decide what will be presented to the public, how it will be shown, and who will access the memorial representations is a matter of power. Digital tools are contesting the aspect of power over memory.
The value of memories is the remembrance of the past and the implications for the present and future. Chinese government spokeswoman Hua Chunying mentioned it in 2020 during a press conference while emphasizing that “[t]he history of the combat against the pandemic should not be tainted by lies and misleading information; it should be recorded with the correct collective memory of all mankind.”
Prof. Dr. Maximilian Mayer, Frederik Schmitz
University of Bonn, Germany
Research Group „Infrastructures of China’s Modernity and Their Global Constitutive Effects” at the Center for Advanced Security, Strategic and Integration Studies (CASSIS), University of Bonn
Events and Public Relations Officer