Are you only seeing red? Asked Professor Anna Reading, Head of the Department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries, to a public audience of around 350 at the Museum of Art (MASP) in Sao Paulo on 17 October. ‘Then by the end of this talk, I hope you will see green instead’. Her talk examined the materiality of images and digital memory. The commodity chain of rare earths and gold that go into our gadgets is also, according to Professor Reading, causing major environmental and community pollution, as well the destruction of indigenous peoples cultural heritage. ‘Gold wires the internet’ said Professor Reading and Europium gives us bright red as well microchips that are crucial for digital memory. Her talk ‘From icloud to upturned planet” was debated with two leading Brazilian journalists and an audience drawn from the Brazilian arts, communication and cultural industries. “We need to bring the ‘cloud’ back to earth: it is not cheap, it is not abundant, it is not clean. Our appetite for digital memory and electronic is costing the earth”, stated Professor Reading.
Professor Reading was invited by the Musea de Pessoa (Museum of the Person) in Sao Paulo as part of CMCI’s development of bilateral relations with universities and NGOs in the area of cultural industries in Brazil and was sponsored by ABERJE, a Brazilian business consortia that focuses on communication and digitisation. The Department of Culture, Media and Creative Industries at King’s College London is part of a successful award from the British Council with Warwick University to fund 15 UK Early Careers Researchers to a workshop in Sao Paulo on cultural memory in 2014.
Professor Reading also visited Rio de Janeiro and was invited to speak to a public audience at the Museum of Art in the city of Juiz de Fora. She visited as part of her research, Votorantim (www.memoriavotarantim.com.br) a large Brazilian company that owns mining sites, damns, and metal and concrete production sites. The research is to be published in the journal Media, Culture and Society in 2014 as well being part of a book. The talks were reported in parts of the Brazilian media. Further information: www.tribunademinas.com.br/cultura/o-preco-da-memoria-1.1361376