Mundania is a hybrid online book/archive. It is part of the research project Connected Homes and Distant Infrastructures. It is an experiment to expand scholarly communication and it experiments with the forms and rhythms of research. Short chapters called Files will be launched from April 2020 and onwards. New formats will also follow to accompany the files.

¶ Mundania is made by me, Robert Willim. I am an artist and researcher based in southern Sweden. I work at Lund University as a senior lecturer of Digital Cultures and Ethnology at The Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences. The Mundania Files stems from my research and practice here in Sweden.

¶ In my work I combine art with research. I explore imaginaries, media and experiences of emerging technologies. New and old ones. I use my research to spur artistic concepts. The artworks, emanating from research questions, are then used as something I call art probes. These are used to engender inspiration and material for further research. The works are often based on the development and transmutation of concepts. 

¶ As a researcher I have published a number of books and articles. My research primarily deals with issues of digital and material culture. I have also developed a research track about the concept Industrial Cool, through which I scrutinise the role of industries in a hyperindustrialised society that is imagined to be postindustrial. Since 2018 I work with the project Connected Homes and Distant Infrastructures, financed by The Swedish Research Council. In the project, I examine the ways emerging technologies are entwined with people’s everyday life and how imaginaries about life and technologies unfold.  

¶ The work with Mundania stems from the ethnological cultural analysis that have been developed at Lund University for some decades, and which I have been involved in since the 1990’s. Central figures in the development in Lund have been professors Orvar Löfgren and Jonas Frykman. The latter has developed influential research dealing with phenomenology and affect theory. Orvar Löfgren was my PhD supervisor as well as mentor for over a decade since the mid 1990’s. His work and collaborations with Billy Ehn, and anthropologist Richard Wilk has been highly inspirational. Mundania resonates with the thoughts, methods and analyses Ehn, Löfgren and Wilk present in several publications, like Exploring Everyday Life. Strategies for Ethnography and Cultural Analysis and The Secret World of Doing Nothing.

For over ten years I was working together with my colleague Tom O’Dell researching cultural economy as well as the different guises of ethnographic method. The ways we dealt with cultural analysis and practices of Composing Ethnography have been hugely inspiring for my continued work. So have the collaborations with Martin Berg, Vaike Fors and Sarah Pink as part of SCACA, Swedish Center for Applied Cultural and Social Analysis (2015-2017, based at Halmstad University). Our work was aimed at finding new forms for cultural and social research in a kind of more-than-academic practice.

My work at Lund University with Digital Cultures, Cultures of Consumption and a number of other fora for collaboration, such as AI-Lund and The Pufendorf Institute for Advanced Studies also feed into my work with Mundania. I’m really grateful for the feedback, support, insights and inspiration from all collaborators, as well as colleagues, friends and peers, as well as the students in the Candidate programme in Digital Cultures and The Master of Arts (MA) in Applied Cultural Analysis (MACA).

The Mundania Files build on reflections and analyses based on theoretical readings from different academic fields. The empirical material comes from fieldworks and observations, as well as interviews, discussions, workshops and seminars. I have also used a directive on Connected Homes administrated by The Folklife Archives at Lund University. Thanks to everyone who answered the directive!

 The Mundania Files take text-writing as the point of departure to then include various media in a generative process. Companion works can be found through other outlets, like eg. the audio paper Mundania – Just Above The Noise Floor, published through the site/journal Seismograf. Other Mundania-related works and iterations will be developed and composed to appear in various places. When files are published or when other major updates takes place it will be announced via Twitter and Linkedin. Or here is a RSS-feed.

¶ If you want to cite or refer to some content from Mundania, choose preferred referencing system and please include: Willim, Robert (2020) NAME OF FILE. Mundania – Obscured by Everyday Life. Accessed: DATE. <https://2020.mundania.se>

Robert Willim @Lund University

Photo by: Susanne Ewert