Linhof Technika camera and accessories
Linhof Technika camera and accessories used by Max Dupain circa 1959. Made from metal, plastic and glass by various makers. Powerhouse Collection.

Dr Hugh Davies

The Powerhouse Research Fellowship

July 2021

Project Title: Device in Museums, Museums in Devices

Dr Hugh Davies
Dr Hugh Davies, photo supplied.

This research project will explore two converging threads of inquiry: devices in museums and museums in devices.

Devices in Museums: Exploring a series of hand-held devices in the Powerhouse collection, this research will examine how the material affordances of these devices have informed their use and popularity. Through this media archaeology approach, the researcher asks, ‘how might more sustainable devices be developed?’ — immune to the designed obsolescence and resources impact of present hand-held technologies?

Museums in Devices: As Powerhouse Ultimo seeks to digitise their collection, Davies will investigate best practices to examine how Australian artists, designers and makers can create objects with an awareness of their collection and exhibition in museums. COVID-19 has brought notions of collection and exhibition to the fore. With many museums closing their physical spaces, virtual collections have become more significant than ever. Dr Hugh Davies is an artist, curator and researcher who is currently a research fellow in Design and Creative Practice at RMIT, Melbourne. He is interested in histories of art, video games and handheld devices in the Asia-Pacific region. With training in sculpture, digital media and architecture, Davies has spent more than two decades exploring games and other playful technologies, with specific regard to how they have been consumed, discarded, collected and conserved.

In the past three years, Davies has presented research exhibitions at the Library at the Dock in Melbourne, at the C3 Gallery in Melbourne, at Tokyo Art and Space in Japan, and at the Tank Space in West Bund in Shanghai, China. His research has been published in high-ranking international journals, as well as through popular media outlets including the ABC, The Conversation, and Culture 360. Since 2018, he has worked with the MPlus Museum of Visual Culture in Hong Kong as a contributing curator and games consultant. Heco-authored Exploring Minecraft: Ethnographies of Play and Creativity (Palgrave, 2020) and Understanding Games and Game Cultures (2021).

More information about Davies’ art practice and research can be found at his website and research profile.