Erkki Huhtamo

Professor Erkki Huhtamo is a media archaeologist, writer and exhibition curator. At the UCLA Department of Design & Media Arts his area is media history and theory. Professor Huhtamo has written extensively on media archaeology and the media arts; he holds a Ph.D. in Cultural History. At ART && CODE, Erkki will deliver an arts keynote lecture about the history of 3D imaging, and a performance of a state-of-the-art virtual reality from 1900 — a reconstructed Mareorama.

Professor Huhtamo is a leading practitioner of media archaeology, an emerging critical approach he has developed (together with a few other scholars) since the early 1990’s. It excavates forgotten, neglected and suppressed media-cultural phenomena, helping us to penetrate beyond canonized accounts about media culture. Huhtamo pays particular attention to the “life” of topoi, or clichéd elements that emerge over and over again in media history and provide “molds” for experiences. What may seem new often proves to be just new packaging of ideas repeated during hundreds and even thousands of years. In recent years, Professor Huhtamo has applied this approach to phenomena like peep media, the notion of the screen, games and mobile media. He has also written about the ways in which media artists like Paul deMarinis, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and Bernie Lubell have integrated media-archaeological elements into their work. Professor Huhtamo’s most recent books are Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications, and Implications (co-edited with Jussi Parikka, University of California Press, 2011) and a forthcoming monograph titled Illusions in Motion: a Media Archaeology of the Moving Panorama and Related Spectacles.

As a curator Professor Huhtamo has created many media art exhibitions, such as the major project Alien Intelligence (KIASMA Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, 2000). He has served in art exhibition and festival juries worldwide, including Siggraph, Ars Electronica and the Interactive Media Festival. He has lectured widely in Europe, the US, Japan, and elsewhere, and he has also written and directed television programs about media culture, for example the series Archaeology of the Moving Image (YLE, The Finnish Broadcasting Corporation, 1995-96). Huhtamo also maintains one of the world’s most extensive collections of antique optical viewing devices, such as magic lanterns, peep show boxes, camera obscuras, praxinoscopes, and kinoras, which form primary resources for his research, pedagogy, and performance work.