This site is about the concept Mundania, and how I use it in art and research. I will post reflections as well as news about appearances, performances and talks, as well as sound and video art and publications.
Mundania is a proposal to think differently about everyday life with advanced technologies. Mundania is a realm that take shape as emerging technologies are made ordinary, a realm where more and more complex and ungraspable technologies become part of the atmosphere. Layer after layer of these technologies is added. This realm shifts shape depending on context and the variabilities of everyday lives. Mundania emerges through the adoption of and adaptation to technologies that are gradually experienced as ordinary. It emerges through seductive offers and deals, built on the operations of a number of influential businesses. Mundania is then strengthened through recurring practices, rituals and routines through which technologies become intimately integrated in life. These circumstances make Mundania simultaneously banal and uncanny. Mundane and weird. At hand and ungraspable.
Mundania emerges chiefly through a process I call mundanization. When technologies are introduced in Mundania, it is not about something wild becoming tamed and domesticated or converted step by step into controlled parts of everyday life. Instead, mundanization captures how complex arrangements of technologies and human organization maintain an incomprehensible unmanageability while still being transmuted into the ordinary, the mundane, the commonplace in people’s everyday lives. In this sense, what emerges as the technologically ordinary in different contexts also houses ungraspability, unknowing and the potentially uncanny. In this sense, mundanization is a complement to the domestication-concept, as it has been used in media theory.
My work with Mundania is based on a method I call probing. These articles describe the method:
Probing Mundania (2023) in: Cultural Analysis.
Art Probing and Worldmaking (2017), in: Hamburger Journal für Kulturantropologie.
Evoking Imaginaries (2017), in: Sociological Research Online (behind paywall).
I have also made audiovisual works that take Mundania as point of departure. Such as:
Mundania – Just above the noise floor (2019), an audio paper, which is a mix of sonic argumentation and sound art, in the journal and platform: Seismograf.
In 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, I wrote and composed what I called ”The Mundania Files”. It became a number of meandering evocations of various aspects of Mundania. They were meant to capture some of the peculiarities of the pandemic time, but also to imagine Mundania. You’ll find the files here. As a continuation of one of The Mundania Files called ”Waiting for Events”, I made the video essay Waiting – a 2020 Christmas essay.
A major work, through which Mundania is evoked is the book: Mundania – How and Where technologies are Made Ordinary.
Then who am I?
I’m Robert Willim. I work as an artist and a researcher of digital cultures and cultural analysis. I have a position as Associate Professor and lecturer of Digital Cultures and Ethnology at Lund University, Sweden. I create works that foremost explore imaginaries, media-related practices, and human experiences of technology. Since 2004 I have also explored the roles and imaginaries of industries at the intersection between cultural heritage and visions about the future.
I use research to spur artistic concepts and artworks to feed back into research practices. This is the process and method I call probing. In my art and music I use several media, primarily electronic or digital. More about me here.