The Culture & Technology podcast 003 | March 19, 2021

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Natalie Kane & Marlies Wirth: Collecting Digital Objects

When an object consists of bits instead of atoms, how do you preserve and display it for future generations?

For Episode 3 of the Culture and Technology Podcast, two pioneers of digital culture curation, Natalie Kane at London’s V&A and Marlies Wirth at Vienna’s MAK, discuss the digital objects and share the challenges and rewards of collecting art that tells the story of our current moment – from Amazon Echo to the Women’s March Pussyhat.


Natalie Kane is Curator of Digital Design at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.

Marlies Wirth is Curator of Digital Culture and Head of the Design Collection at the Museum for Applied Arts in Vienna.


Severin Matusek is a writer, producer and editor who has spent the last decade researching how technology transforms culture, communities and society.


  • The Pussyhat™ Project is a social movement centering on a pink handcrafted hat made and worn by participants in the 2017 Women’s March in Washington DC. Chosen for its statement of solidarity with women in a political climate of discrimination and problematic rhetoric, the design was chosen to reclaim a word often used in the context of sexual harrassment and transform it into a symbol of empowerment.
  • Cointemporary was an online artist-run gallery that exclusively traded in Bitcoin, running from 2014-2015.
  • Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshop) (1903–1932) was a cooperative of artisans, architects, artists and designers co-founded by architect Josef Hoffmann in 1903.
  • Adolf Loos (1870–1933) was an Austrian architect and counts among the most influential European Modernists. Loos took a highly divergent and often antagonistic aesthetic and theoretical position to Hoffmann and the Wiener Werkstätte movement. One of his best-known essays, and an insightful portal into his thinking, is the 1908 work ‘Ornament and Crime’.
  • Ivan Illich (1926–2002) was an Austrian Roman Catholic priest, philosopher, and social critic known for his prescient works on technology and society. His 1973 book Tools for Conviviality outlined a framework for thinking about technology that is still drawn on by many today.
  • The MAK – Museum of Applied Arts is an arts and crafts museum in Vienna with a focus on architecture and contemporary art alongside crafts and design, and, increasingly, digital culture – as represented through initiatives such as the MAK Design Lab, which was established as part of the Vienna Biennale 2019.
  • The Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) in London is a leading museum of art, design, and performance, housing over 2.3 million objects spanning 5000 years of history.
  • Valentin Ruhry’s ‘Grand Central’ exhibition at MAK brought to light the decentralisation of the digital world and its digital totems. The large-scale installation draws its name from the Apple Store at the New York train station.
  • Andy Boot’s artistic practice occupies and blurs the boundaries between the digital and the physical.
  • Harm van den Dorpel’s ‘Event Listeners’ limited edition screensaver was the first work of art ever sold to a museum – the MAK – for Bitcoin in 2015.
  • Uncanny Values: Artificial Intelligence & You was an exhibition held at the MAK in Vienna as part of the Vienna Biennale for Change 2019. 100 years after Freud wrote “The Uncanny”, the exhibition delved into the impacts of artificial intelligence on every aspect of contemporary life.
  • Process Studio’s AImoji project, one of the works exhibited as part of Uncanny Values: Artificial Intelligence & You, generated new emoji via Deep Learning, with unsettling results.
  • Anatomy of an AI System is a 2018 art project by Kate Crawford, AI researcher and founder of AI Now Institute, and Vladan Joler, Share Foundation director and chair of New Media at the University of Novi Sad that considers the Amazon Echo as an anatomical map of labour, data and resources.


The Culture & Technology Podcast is a long-form interview podcast produced by the Vienna Business Agency @wirtschaftsagentur_wien that aims to establish a long-term perspective on the ways emerging technologies impact cultural production.

Editorial Team: Paul Feigelfeld, Anna Dorothea Ker, Severin Matusek, Elisabeth Noever-Ginthör, Elisa Stockinger, Heinz Wolf.

Theme Music by Zanshin.

S1E3 is now out and available wherever you listen to podcasts.

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Last updated: May 14, 2024 ■ 17:35pm