Visit here to visit the prototype for my IAT888 Final Project:
Tyler! I think that there might be a comparative bioluminescence exhibit review in your future…
For my museum performance in Second Life, my avatar has been composed entirely out of neon signs. These pics illustrate the signs with animations advertising the Museum of Vancouver’s “UGLY VANCOUVER NEON VANCOUVER” show and the IAT 888 class…
The neon words on the custom signs get scrambled before spelling out the full words…UPDATE: This avatar now has the Pepsi head aligned with the Coors Lite bikini body…I have taken some video footage and hope to upload them to youtube, with the Prof’s permission 🙂 I plan to perform at Gallery Xue’s various museum franchises within Second Life and may also set up an installation there (time permitting)…
This is the TED talk that Bardia referenced in his presentation today: http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles.html
I noticed after reviewing my interview with Dennis Moser that I did not mention to him that I had co-produced one of the first documentaries about an avatar community.
The virtual world we explored was Steve DiPaola’s “Digitalspace Traveler”.
Our documentary was from 2003 and was called AVATARA…
Here are some links (including the entire movie online)…
Hi everyone, thanks for your great comments. Jeremy raises an important question about the definition of social media, and the extent to which platforms like YouTube constitute social media. You may have seen this video before, and if not I think it is a fun way to think about the social effects and relationships that YouTube at least initially promoted. Mike Wesch argues pretty convincingly that YouTube began as a profoundly social medium–“a celebration of new forms of communities…allowing us to connect in ways that we have never connected before”. Has it been able to persist in this way? Watch the first 5 minutes at least if you have time, and let me know if you agree…
In this article, I would like to explore the social media space in the context of Museums, and investigate different critical challenges in bringing museums experiences to social media space exposed through the body of related literature.
Recently, there has been a popular trend to introduce museum institutions and their digital contents in social media space in order to reach more audiences and build an online social community which better establishes the relationship between people and museums.
However, emerging museums experience and contents in social media space has created several challenges such as privacy issues, cultural ethics, authority management, tailored experience issues, educational role preservation, and so forth.
Meanwhile different aspects of social media exposition needs to be addressed, such as using this medium for marketing (effective ways Vs branding techniques), building social communities, Creating active collaborative environment for creation, and socio-cultural exchange, and finally collective intelligence computation power.
First, I will introduce the main perspectives and challenges, and then I will summarize this week papers while trying to connect their perspectives with introduced subjects and challenges in former section.
Social Media and new Challenges for museums
Social media is playing an over growing role in humans’ everyday life, while trying to address different needs such as social awareness in social networks, and promoting new dimensions in human life, by providing a set of tools for collective creation, socio-cultural exchange, media sharing, online community management and etc. It will be beyond of this article to explore these different dimensions, meanwhile it worth to investigate how museums benefits from this medium to increase their accessibility, and addressing their audience needs through social contents, and building an active collaborative environments while addressing issues such as user privacies, cultural ethics and authority management.
Museums as institutions which tries to preserves history, tangible and tacit cultural heritages, are trying to be responsive to social media phenomenon and connect its content and educational plans with this over growing medium. One of major goals in using social media space is to benefit from its accessibility power to outreach a larger number of audience and communities. Mediums like Facebook, and Twitters can be very effective is this domain, meanwhile Twitter is getting used mainly for marketing’s paradigms which might makes museums promotions as brands rather than symbols of cultural and historical centers. This can make the museums sort of distant from its audience, meanwhile a good social media strategy can better initiate connections which are more reliable and trustful, This can be reach either through community ambassadors or tailored invitations sent from existing trusted social groups.
Furthermore building online social communities is quite a challenging problem, which does not necessarily can be reached only by increasing the number of followers or friends, and it demands a good level of trust for bringing people in and keep them motivated and engaged with interesting contents. Using social ambassadors and active group of content creators, and many to many communication models can be effective for this case though.
Finally, having an active and collaborative environments, which lead to a better dialog demands a good level of collective intelligence, which can be achieved either by story-making or crowd-sourcing techniques, while the latter one is more engaging and effective, However it creates a shift in authority of medium from the expected experience initiated by museum designers to personalized and collective experience by social groups.
In addition to mentioned perspectives, in connecting museums to social media, there are several concerns and questions raised by community of intellectuals and critics about the limitations, and potential problems of this new space, the following papers and their summaries address these issues:
Museum Management and Curatorship : Ethical issues of social media in
museums: a case study
Amelia S. Wong a
This article explores the ethical issues raised from intertwining modern museum practice with social media space through a case study of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It investigates how this new medium can create synergy by increasing the size of audience and bringing the museum educational practices in humans’ everyday life, while exploring tensions raised from ethical questions around transparency of goals Vs process, Censorship of socio-cultural comments, and privacy of end users.
The paper mainly address questions like: “Can we selectively delete comments, feeling the museum’s memorial function affords the people lending their stories to these videos respectful treatment? Or should we allow any comment to stand in the name of free speech, even when it is hate speech?”, and it tries to provide a context to better understand whether the social media is appropriate for every museum practice or not.
Finally it discusses that modern museums largely motivate the inclusion of visitors’ views in social space, without considering the level of privacy that their users might be interested to be involved.
My critical point about this paper is about the authentic nature of some museums like one explored in this case study, and the openness emerged from bringing the museum experience to everyday life of a large audience which might not share the same cultural ethics.
Question: Social media can create a diverse audience for a museum which can cross the geographic and cultural borders, Should Museums expect to preserve their cultural ethics which might not be common among different communities?
Enacting engagement online: framing social media use for the Museum
This article demonstrates museums’ uses of social media by analysing critical frames which their use is currently being configured. It inspects the intersection of social media space with museum practices in Marketing, Inclusion, and collaborative intelligence frames, and tries to address the problematic views in each different frame. For example, how using marketing techniques widely applied in social media like Twitter can create a distant between museum and its audience mainly because of this fact that museums are quite different than brands.
It also investigate methods like creative ambassadors, many to many communication models, and creating shared knowledge and believe as important factors to initiate and build an online social community for museums, which cannot be necessarily reached only by having a Facebook page, Twitter account, and a Youtube channel.
Finally it compares story making and crowd sourcing techniques for maintaining an active online community, while recommending the second approach as more effective one.
Questions: Why does a museum need to have an active and collaborative online community meanwhile the social media can play an effective informative role about museum events, and contents and encourage people to visit the physical space?
Can models like collective intelligence in systems like Wikipedia be a good suggestion for museums in domain of social space?
The Use of Social Media in the Danish Museum Landscape
Nanna Holdgaard, IT University of Copenhagen, Denmark
The aim of this paper was to investigate how social media and their online communications has been used in museums in Denmark Content analysis is considered as their basic systematic and reliable technique to infer generalizations of representations and meanings of media content. Different museums have been explored by considering following categories:
Language (usage of Danish language or other languages)
Videos (moving images)
Games (interactive features)
Findings suggest that the majority of museums communicate with a low degree of user interaction, participation and engagement in social media space. While benefit from this medium in order to attract more visitors to the physical museums instead.
Question: Why museums only consider serious games (interactive and educational programs), while they can benefit from social gaming frameworks for a larger education, with better motivational derives. Is entertaining nature of these applications in contrast with new museum practices?
A SECOND SIGN OF THE TIMES: AN INTERVIEW WITH DENNIS MOSER VIA EMAIL – MARCH 14, 2012
SUMMARY: As part of a homework assignment for his “New Media and the Museum” class taught by Prof. Kate Hennessy; Jeremy Owen Turner interviews the virtual world librarian and music composer, Dennis Moser about heritage and conservation issues surrounding public and private signage in Second Life. The purpose of this interview is to draw parallels between the contemporary treatment of signage in Second Life with the “Neon Vancouver – Ugly Vancouver” exhibition of historic neon signs – currently at the Museum of Vancouver (MOV).
DENNIS: Because the Mainland is governed by the Lindens and the private islands are not, I consider them an unfortunate necessary evil. I think it reflects the general non-regard of the Lindens with the creative content providers both on the Mainland and those who develop the private islands. I’m not sure anyone would rush to accuse the Lindens of exercising or encouraging good taste. And unless the content is in violation of the Terms of Service, the Lindens are not usually going to get involved.
JEREMY: Are some signs more appropriate than others? Why/Why not?
DENNIS: I do feel that some signs are more appropriate than others. I hate to invoke terms like “discretion” or “aesthetics” but there is often a lack of both throughout Second Life. Bad design is bad design and I think that the pressures of community come into play more quickly on the private islands. That said, there continues to be a need for direction in the initial user experience.
First-time users of SL are invariably a little thrown off by the complexity of the interface and “experience.” Anything that can ease entry into the environment is good. I continue to hope that wiser heads will prevail when it comes to the design and implementation of those signs relating to this.
JEREMY: As an artist in Second Life, have you made any signs? If yes, what kind of signs would you like to make and why (for what purpose)?
DENNIS: Since my creative work in SL is performance (music, with some infrequent visual work), my “sign-making” has been largely related to that work. They have tended to be performance promotion posters that are shared with friends and venue owners. But like many, I’ve tried my hand at more general building, exploring the possibilities of textures and animation of objects, though these have never been used in “signs” proper.
JEREMY: As a curator, what kinds of signs would you want to preserve from Second Life and why? Is the content or type of these signs important?
DENNIS: This is more about the significance of the content and context of the signs than the signs-as-objects. If signage relates to an event — especially a non-recurrent one — the preservation of that signage becomes part of the context of the event. These “markers” are important, especially for things such as performances that might otherwise pass unmarked. I am too familiar with builds that had signage about the objects and events taking place there that subsequently disappeared with no record of their having been in existence. I think it is important to consider that the signage is but one element of a totality of the experience within Second Life and, as such, needs to be included as a part of a whole.
JEREMY: What would the act of preserving these signs tell future generations about Second Life’s cultural heritage?
DENNIS: What does the act of preserving them tell future generations or what would the signs themselves tell future generations? Two distinctly different, yet related, questions there. The second first: the signs themselves help to document this environment we call Second Life. By providing additional details about the place and/or the event, they can glimpse a bit of what was happening in there at that moment of time. It would, of course, be an incomplete picture since the signs are only a small part of the totality of the ecology.
The first question: to me, this is the more important question. WHY are we preserving these signs? To what end? Is it just vanity, a saying “We were here” to future generations? A “Look at what we could do” thumbing of noses? Maybe all of that or none. If we are willing to recognize the value of the creative impetus behind the signs’ creation — or their “significance” in relation to an event or objects — then we are saying that these things we found of value and feel that they need be shared with the unborn yet to come. The fact that they exist in such a fragile and fugitive environment makes this latter gesture all the more poignant.
JEREMY: If Second Life were to disappear in the coming years, what would be the best strategy to archive signs, entities and other virtual objects from Second Life?
DENNIS: Lowood, et alia, included Second Life in their “Preserving Virtual Worlds” project and devoted an entire chapter in their report documenting the failure of their approach for “archiving” Second Life. This may have more to do with their strategy, which was heavily reliant on scripted, automated processes, than anything else. One serious factor was that they — like many others — continue to think of Second Life as a “game.” A better approach, which I have staunchly advocated for some time now, is to take a more ethnographic approach for virtual environments. If we consider the information ecology that such places comprise, to “archive” them requires nothing less than approach that would be used in an analogue environment. And because we are talking about entire “culture” we must avail ourselves of the very same approaches, in this case every ethnographic tool that exist for documenting human cultures in the analog environment. This means the use of interview, oral histories, ethnographic visual documentation (in this case, ethnographic machinima*), and so on. This is, of course, a large part of my argument in the paper from DRHA 2010 (http://people.brunel.ac.uk/bst/vol1001/cover.html), addressing the difficulties of documenting performance practices in Second Life, specifically.
The fact that the environment in which all of this takes place is digital or “virtual” simply means that we must utilize digital application of methodologies that are already extant and, in some cases, highly refined and effective.
One thing that was clear from the “Preserving Virtual Worlds” report: the proprietary nature of Second Life is the single greatest hindrance to its long-term preservation (this was an inherent flaw in the project’s methodology and the application of scripted or automated processes for gathering materials together for preservation purposes!).
JEREMY: What would it mean to “restore” or “conserve” signage in Second Life? Would re-constructing or emulating a new sign from your memory of what the signs looked like represent an “authentic” artifact from Second Life’s signage history? Why/why not?
DENNIS: “Restoration” and “conservation” in this context are two distinct activities, and this leads to your second question — the reconstruction, especially from memory, is particularly problematic from an strictly-defined archival perspective: the “reconstruction” from memory is NOT a “trusted” document. That is, because it is NOT the actual object, or a replication of that object from a “trusted” source, the provenance of the object being instantiated is suspect. You cannot verify, unequivocally, that it is what it purports to be, and therefore authenticity is suspect. This could represent a major problem, especially with regards to creative content of significant financial value. “Emulation” is predicated upon having a trustworthy source for the materials being emulated, so it might be less problematic — a documented provenance could be ascribed to the source material, making the issue of authenticity much more manageable.
Of course, “restoration” could easily be accomplished by the loading of the source code on to an appropriate platform, though this might entail keeping hardware (and operating systems) on hand that would support these endeavors. I’m not sure that “conservation” in this context is even possible, since there is no “treatment” option available … I suspect that “preservation” is a more apt choice.
* The growth of machinima-makers in Second Life is an excellent example of the failure of much of the academic community to come to terms with the realities — pardon the pun — of Second Life. The concept of “ethnographic” or “documentary” machinima is almost entirely absent. To the best of my knowledge, to date there have been no serious attempts to utilize ethnographic methods for documenting Second Life communities. “
JEREMY: I would like to add to this that Tom Boellstorff wrote a book about ethnographic research in Second Life called “Coming of Age in Second Life” (2008).
DENNIS MOSER is part of the Library faculty at the William R. Coe Library of the University of Wyoming, serving as the Digital Resources Librarian. Moser’s research includes the preservation of digital cultural heritage materials.
JEREMY OWEN TURNER is a PhD student at Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) in Vancouver (Surrey),Canada. Turner has also been an avatar performance artist and music composer in Second Life since 2006.
Hello! Because I identify with physical experience so much, I find the exploration of tangible devices as interfaces a nice acknowledgement of [and ploy to] design for the human-centered physical experience. So I’m excited about Tangibles! This topic is also a nice way to segue discussions around awareness and acknowledgement of heritage to user’s own motivation to engage and explore heritage.
This week’s readings all revolve around Content and Interaction Design decisions by leveraging the direct experience of (or perception) of the place, space, mood, object and/ or social interaction. While the readings portray exciting situated experiences in the intended environment, I wonder how the tangibility aspects carried back into visitor’s everyday life (illustrating that an experience was meaningful). Here I just start to touch on how we can bridge the focus on experience design to the extensive content we have gathered through the course so far, and I plan on taking it a bit further in Tuesday’s class. Also, I’m afraid that my PDQ’s are concoctions of many questions, which can be escalated into much larger, overhanging questions on Tuesday.
RR #1: Ciolfi, L., and M. McLoughlin. Physical Keys to Digital Memories: Reflecting on the Role of Tangible Artefacts in Reminisce. In J. Trant and D. Bearman (eds). Museums and the Web 2011: Proceedings. Toronto: Archives & Museum Informatics.
This project designed a role for tangible artefacts to bridge the experience of exploring an open air museum environment with an additional layer of personal and social experience. Tangible artefacts were chosen and woven into a digital ‘layer’ to provide:
- A keepsake that connects to the experience
- A process of collecting personal stories that add a subtle ‘game’ experience to the visit
- A method for sharing the experience both during and beyond the visit (with both friends/ family and strangers)
The focus of the experience was on the affordances of the environment, physical components that could hold meaning and social interactions that both actually happened, and could be imagined in the museum experience. ‘Reminisce’ resulted in a combination of tangible artefacts embedded with RFID tags and QR codes placed throughout the exhibits to encourage visitors to gather information that tied their immediate experience to a tangible object that could travel home with them.
One logistical consideration that the project wanted to design for was to add a layer of personal content (characters, stories, objects) to enhance the natural experience when acting staff were not available. Fictional ‘memories’ were developed around a set of characters and objects that were woven continuously through the entire ‘Reminisce’ experience. These memories were designed as ‘clues’ to other memories, so a subtle game of collecting had to be played to hear them all. QR codes were placed in various locations (on buildings, places and objects) and would provide audio files with the memories that could be accessed by a mobile device. Visitors were also able to upload their own descriptions of their experience at that particular location. Tangible artefacts (or ‘tokens’) were designed to complement the memories relating to the museum experience, then could return home with the visitors (recipes, ball of wool, chunk of turf). Tokens were also embedded with RFID tags to interact with special memories at the end of the visit. At this time viewers were able to place their token in a basket with another provided object (a book, a photo) and would hear the uploaded descriptions of other visitor’s experiences attached to the location.
The results of the study on the design implementation showed that people felt connections to the memories, tokens and the tokens’s ties to the experience. Because objects could travel home with viewers, they tended to tell family and friends more about their experience, assuming that having the object gave a more ‘live’ feeling to the re-told experience. Viewers also had a social experience while visiting the museum when accessing and creating their own memory content, being provoked to discuss the content based on their situated experience in the museum so far.
I thought this project was a great example of really thoughtfully made design decisions. The authors obviously reflected on their experience well, and while the technical design of ‘Reminisce’ seems quite simple I assume that the design of the memories is much more complex. It would have been interesting to have more information on the design of the memories, because I imagine that it was the memories and the process of ‘collecting’ memories that enhanced the experience and stayed with the visitors more than the tokens or the act of using QR codes.
PDQ 1: Can we identify and discuss the affordances of tokens, situated memories, a motivated process for attaining memories and listening to other visitor’s experiences? How important is visitor’s passive or active engagement to the resonance of the experience?
RR #2: Tanenbaum, Joshua, Karen Tanenbaum, and Alissa Antle (2010) The Reading Glove: Designing Interactions for Object-Based Tangible Storytelling. Augmented Human Conference, Megeve, France, 2010. ACM Press.
The Reading Glove project focused on the experience of ‘reading objects’ for their history, or psychometry. To do this, the Tanenbaums explored the connection objects have to personal narratives in order to experience the stories that emerge through the combination of particular personal objects. Twelve objects were embedded with RFID tags and connected to different components of a narrative, which ‘revealed’ the narrative to the user in the order the objects were handled. Compared to prior explorations in designing tangible narrative interactions, the Tanenbaums wanted to increase awareness of the objects themselves as meaningful (semantically present objects). Many prior systems used tangibles as placeholders or containers, connecting the object to the outcome. This process emphasized the function of the object rather than its meaning, and hence a deeper integration into the experience. The objects in the ‘Reading Glove’ were to become artifacts of ‘movable heritage’ through affordances to personal narratives. By exploring meaningful coupling of object to narrative, they were playing with the concept of ‘boundary objects’ as sites of negotiation between the perspectives of the viewer. These perspectives are situated in the immediacy of the experience with one’s own personal histories and perceptions of the object alongside the perspective of the object itself with its own personal history. This refers back to Clifford’s paper on Contact Zones as spaces that are only mediated by our own experience and perceptions (Clifford, 1997). These spaces provoke awareness of our own perspectives in order to broaden (or narrow?) our experiences of others. A later paper (Tanenbaum et al, 2011) discusses ‘boundary objects’ more in depth, by stating that the chosen objects implicitly present a narrative to the participant based on their own personal history and experience that challenges or extends the explicit narrative that is presented while handling the object.
Then, we have another aspect of Heidegger Time! (Yea Jeremy! But- I suppose the focus is not on time, but on awareness)
The project identifies the concepts of Present-at-Hand to Ready-at-Hand. Present-at-Hand refers to the experience of becoming aware of an object when it breaks (the hammer breaking while in use, therefore bringing awareness to it as an object because it is not longer performing the way it is intended). Ready-at-Hand refers to the experience of the object existing as an extension of the user (when the hammer works as intended, the awareness is on the task at hand, not the object performing the task). This is paralleled by a definition of transparent immediacy as present in the moment, focused on the task at hand alongside hypermediated as aware of the devices in place that you are experiencing the present moment through. The Tanenbaums go a step further to ‘create’ the term ‘present-at-mind’, referring to the process of becoming aware of the associated or embedded meanings of the object (their example that the worn handle of the hammer or the carved initials remind them of their father, the original owner of the hammer, and the related stories of the father building). While this is an interesting way to coin a term, I’m not sure I agree that becoming aware of the content of an object is within the scope of Heideggers’ concepts of awareness and ‘being’ in general. However, I do think that affording content to an object, and all the design decisions in this project, problematizes the experience in a way that brings awareness to objects and narrative in an unusual way.
This was by far my favorite paper this week, mainly because the authors really focused on all the design decisions of the entire experience. Objects were selected to be of similar era, style, look and feel. The form of interaction was based on encouraging the agency and motivation of the user. The content of the story was meticulously crafted to function as an engaging narrative that could be configured in any order to make a sense as a story (not an easy task…). The design for pitfalls of an emergent narrative was considered and the physical implementation of the electronics in the glove and the tags on the objects were assessed and considered in evaluations.
PDQ 2: How would this experience design scale up to a whole-museum experience? Would the experience change if objects were scattered through a large space and could travel and adjust their content based on their new location?
What other design considerations could be made to make this a more social activity?
Reference: James Clifford (1997) Museums as Contact Zones. In Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century. Pp. 188-219. Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press.
RR #3: Wakkary, Ron, and Marek Hatala (2006) ec(h)o: Situated Play in a Tangible and Audio Museum Guide. DIS 2006, University Park, Pennsylvania, 2006. ACM Press.
The ec(h)o project focused on designing playfulness and liveness into the museum experience. By focusing on the different cultural ecologies created through the space of the museum (many exhibits that emerge alongside and through each other) this project aimed to explore liminality and engagement. Liminality is the experience of being somewhere that is separated from everyday life (discussed as a spiritual or transformative experience, I wonder if this also applies to engagement in spectacle?), which facilitates engagement. Engagement is described as a state that facilitates both learning and play (I think they mean simultaneously?). Wakkary and Hatala explore the balance between content and physical/ embodied play in a museum context by creating a tangible device to act as a trigger for content in focused exhibits. The visitor also wears an RFID tag to trigger sound files that correspond to the ambient environment at large as the visitor walks between exhibits.
Design decisions hinged on Dewey’s Constructivist Theory: that the visitor’s own construction of knowledge is a primary component to their own experience, engagement and agency in a given scenario. By focusing on the visitor’s own agency and the ‘aesthetics of interaction’ a tactile, motivating and humorous experience was designed to ‘perform’ content in a way that leveraged the visitor’s experience of the museum. The product of this inquiry was a fun colored, ergonomic cube object to use as a pointer to choose stories and the content of the stories themselves (which were designed to be colloquial and humorous for engagement). The stories were designed to sound very different from the Unassailable Voice in presentation (Walsh, 1997), yet the information is still a sort of wolf-in-sheep’s clothing. The content is still a single perspective that is recalled from a database with a one-to-one connection to the exhibit (each selection connects to one story, no content is developing or emerging). The feeling that ec(h)o was going for was that of a ‘virtual cocktail party’. The criticism to this is that the experience seemed to be oriented towards a single person’s experience – while a cocktail party experience would be a social one. This issue is addressed in Wakkary’s later project, Kurio (Wakkary et al, 2009).
The paper on ec(h)o also had extensive documentation on the different ways that visitors held the tangible device, illustrating the playfulness of the device design. It would have been interesting to explore this phenomena more deeply: why was the handling of the device considered a method for making the experience playful? Did certain gestures feel more playful than others? How did playful gestures support the engagement with the audio content?
PDQ 3: How important is the visitor’s own ‘construction of knowledge’ in the museum experience? How can this be designed for? How does ‘playfulness’ feel in a museum context? Is the meaning of playfulness, fun, and engagement different in the context of the traditional museum? (Is the Unassailable Voice ever playful? (Walsh, 1997))
Reference: Peter Walsh (1997) The Web and the Unassailable Voice. In Parry, Ross (ed.) (2010) Museums in a Digital Age. London and New York: Routledge.
RR #4: Cafaro, Francesco et al. (2010) RFID Localization for Tangible and Embodied Multi-User Interaction with Museum Exhibits. Proceedings of UbiComp’10, Copenhagen, Denmark. Pp. 397-398.
This project briefly describes a system for collaborative interaction (?) with an ambient (?) display. This system looks at the use of RFID tags either on a handheld device (a picture in a frame) or on a person (hence embodied interaction?) to control an already-existing interactive display of historical immigration patterns in the United States. To throw out some caveats right away, I don’t see what is proactively collaborative or social about this experience beyond the system being able to have multiple inputs at a time (this was designed into the GIS project already). I also would not call an interactive media display ambient, since it is actively drawing attention to its content (and is not passively blending into its surroundings like a wallflower). Personally, I’m also hesitant to call any form of position tracking ‘embodied’, since the user does not actually have any interactive control of the system besides the inputs they have chosen for themselves prior to the interaction. It is unclear if the user can control the content they are viewing by their location in the space and the need to know how tall a user is or how they carry their tag is odd (there doesn’t seem to be any reason for that information).
Issues aside, this project is an interactive information-visualization display that existed prior to the addition of RFID interaction. There seems to be minimal consideration of design decisions given the affordances of the content (patterns of immigration to the US by ethnicity), the tangible object (a picture of an Italian/ Swede/ Persian in a frame) or the embodied experience (either the person themselves or their interactions). One action will trigger the resulting information, which doesn’t warrant the design of explicit user interaction. By working on top of complex, interesting data (immigration patterns separated by time, location and ethnicities) there is a lot of potential for exploring user’s agency, personal connections to the data or interactions for emergent information.
PDQ 4a: Because we have a somewhat open-ended framework of a project here with minimal background information: How do visitors to an exhibit engage on a personal level to screen-based content? How could this experience be better designed to connect to the visitor’s personal history?
PDQ 4b: What are the affordances of a tangible object (other) vs. an embodied interaction (self)? How could these affordances have been used to better explore experience and exploration of content?
SR #1: McCarthy, J., & Ciolfi, L. (2008). Place as Dialogue: Understanding and Supporting the Museum Experience. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 14(3), 247-267.
This paper focuses on visitors’ active sense-making and interpretation in a museum environment by exploring the support interaction design can provide to the experience. The overall goal is to provoke critical reflection of the experience by creating a constant dialogue between the situated place, people and technology. McCarthy and Ciolfi discuss that technology often presents a substitute to a real experience, which promotes passive interaction through one-sided relationships. However, acknowledging every aspect of an experience can provoking active engagement (dialogical relationships) through the consideration of WHOLE experiences. They present a framework to consider when designing technology and interaction in a museum environment:
1. Experience is based on many relationships – exploring many perspectives of people, place, community, etc. can provide information for starting dialogue
2. Openness of museum allows for transfers between affordances of technology (new) and affordances of museums (old), creating new dialogues in established environments
3. Dialogue is situated in our perceptions, our direct experiences and the depth that we hold our experiences. ‘We interpret the situation in terms of our previous experiences and we reflect on our experience and our response to it. These processes give our experiences a narrative quality.’ (pg. 252)
4. Sense-making happens by projecting someone else’s interpretations of an object over our own interpretations
5. Dialogue is sensitive to time and place: other stories and perspectives shift our experience
A case study titled ‘Re-tracing the Past’ is presented to illustrate an exhibit design based on this framework. The exhibits were place in a museum that had an established sense of place: the building was an old customs house that held personal narratives of the original family that owned it and had a strong home/ family feeling to the design of the space and place. Interactive room installations with mysterious objects were designed to provoke dialogue between staff, volunteers and visitors. The mysterious objects in the ‘Study Room’ could be investigated via 3D models of the objects and what they would sound like when touched and a ‘radio’ was available to hear other visitor’s theories about what they are and were used for. When visitors moved to the ‘Room of Opinion’ they could physically handle replicas of the objects and leave their own recordings of personal theories. This project encouraged active exploration and discussion/ debate (social aspect) of the museum experience, resulting in collaborative discussion and reflection. One interesting point was that the docents, who spend regular time as volunteers in the museum, were able to continuously develop their own theories and do their own research. ‘It also showed how many different layers of content can be discussed around the handling of objects: participants commented not only on the material qualities of the artefacts but also on their possible use in the past, the feelings they triggered, and their similarities with present-day objects’ (pg. 261)
I think this is an interesting project because they utilize curiosity so well. By drawing on an environment, place, and space that is very specific, clashing with the histories and perspectives of visitors all in their immediate experience, the project built active interaction into the whole experience. The authors claimed that ‘Making place central draws attention to the sensations and feelings, thoughts and emotions, and the plurality of voices in situated interaction’ (pg. 265). This certainly seemed to be the case, requiring visitors to actively use their imagination first in the Study Room by exploring the 3D model (on a screen) and then later giving them tangible interaction to explore and reflect in two very different experiences of sensing and assessing.
PDQ #5: How important is the temporal order of experience as a device for provoking engagement?