The range of videos available on the site exemplify the different goals of musuem digital story telling projects and the broadening definition of musuem public engagement. LACMAs videos aim to provide viewers access to artists through interviews, behind the scenes looks at conservation, information about the architecture of the museum, curator led of exhibitions and conversations with the Director of LACMA. As we discussed in class, the central goals of digital story telling projects seem to be to provide the audience with a “behind the scenes,” more personal, and in-depth understanding of or access to museum content, collections and artists that is not possible in a traditional museum setting. The desire to make all this content available to the public reflects the on-going trend occurring in institutions to be more transparent with the public and increase public access to the curatorial process and musuem collections.

I personally like digital content that features interviews with artists, art historians, and curators. I feel these types of digital content can increase the resonance of art objects and exhibitions. The PBS series art21 is one of my favorite examples of how digital media has been used to document and explore the work of contemporary artists. art21 gives the viewer a personal look into the work of a diverse range of contemporary artists through the lens of the artist themselves discussing works, exhibitions, and process.  In terms of a museum’s digital presence, I really like the digital content the Whitney Museum of American Art produces in relation to exhibitions and the online interface they create for current and past exhibitions.  The Whitney’s online content and the interface are extremely helpful for research.

I think I would like to take Big Data Course on coursera because it is a really big topic right now that I would like to learn more about.

 

Multi-perspective Digital Story Telling

I read “The Museum as digital storyteller: Collaborative participatory creation of interactive digital experiences” by Maria Roussou, Laia Pujol, Akrivi Katifori, Angeliki Chrysanthi, Sara Perry, and Maria Vayanou. The essay discussed the methods employed in the CHESS (Cultural Heritage Experiences through Socio-personal interactions and Storytelling) research project that took place in multiple cultural institutions and museums.  The essay posits that creating digital story telling experiences and narratives for museums is a multilayered process that should involve interdisciplinary authoring groups. The essay also argues that in the age of  information technology and social media institutional boundaries of the museum are increasingly blurred, and thus audiences too must participate in the story telling process. I think this essay speaks to central concerns in the museum world at this moment: public engagement and participation; How can museums use digital technology and platforms to provide new avenues and spaces for audience engagement with museum spaces, exhibitions, and collections?

The Object Stories program at the Portland Art Museum (PAM) has a great digital platform for increasing audience engagement with collections through digital story telling. The Object stories websites has a collection of diverse personal narratives about objects in the PAMs collection, but also objects of the narrators choice, such as an old wallet or a child’s costume. The stories illuminate how objects in museums are not static, but have real uses, impacts and personal value, beyond the museum. Listening to the stories and seeing the pictures of the narrator and objects being discussed has a real resonance. I also think integrating objects outside of the museum’s collection shows that the musuem is interested in what is important to their audiences, and how they are hoping to get museum audiences to reflect on objects in the real world they way they would in a museum and vise versa.

The object stories and the conclusions made in the essay, made me think about the digital story telling project that I am going to create at the end of this class. Objects and their histories become much more meaningful when a multi-disciplinary and multi-perspective approach is taken in the digital story telling process. My challenge will be to integrate diverse narratives and perspectives regarding the object into an overarching account of an object.

Multiperspective Digital Story Telling

I read “The Museum as digital storyteller: Collaborative participatory creation of interactive digital experiences” by Maria Roussou, Laia Pujol, Akrivi Katifori, Angeliki Chrysanthi, Sara Perry, and Maria Vayanou. The essay discussed the methods employed in the CHESS (Cultural Heritage Experiences through Socio-personal interactions and Storytelling) research project that took place in multiple cultural institutions and museums.  The essay posits that creating digital story telling experiences and narratives for museums is a multilayered process that should involve interdisciplinary authoring groups. The essay also argues that in the age of  information technology and social media institutional boundaries of the museum are increasingly blurred, and thus audiences too must participate in the story telling process. I think this essay speaks to central concerns in the museum world at this moment: public engagement and participation; How can museums use digital technology and platforms to provide new avenues and spaces for audience engagement with museum spaces, exhibitions, and collections?

The Object Stories program at the Portland Art Museum (PAM) has a great digital platform for increasing audience engagement with collections through digital story telling. The Object stories websites has a collection of diverse personal narratives about objects in the PAMs collection, but also objects of the narrators choice, such as an old wallet or a child’s costume. The stories illuminate how objects in museums are not static, but have real uses, impacts and personal value, beyond the museum. Listening to the stories and seeing the pictures of the narrator and objects being discussed has a real resonance. I also think integrating objects outside of the museum’s collection shows that the musuem is interested in what is important to their audiences, and how they are hoping to get museum audiences to reflect on objects in the real world they way they would in a museum and vise versa.

The object stories and the conclusions made in the essay, made me think about the digital story telling project that I am going to create at the end of this class. Objects and their histories become much more meaningful when a multi-disciplinary and multi-perspective approach is taken in the digital story telling process. My challenge will be to integrate diverse narratives and perspectives regarding the object into an overarching account of an object.

E-Publishing and the Public Audience

The readings for today raised a lot of questions, and also illustrated the diverse ways in which museums are publishing on the internet. I find it interesting how the internet allows for radically new forms of engagement, while also providing a place for museums to perpetuate the same sorts of engagement that they do within a museum setting. E-publishing platforms are simultaneously democratizing and controlling.

For example, the Met’s attempt to make their collection freely available to global publics, which may not be able to access the collection otherwise, is a noble goal. At the same time in doing this the Met is perpetuating traditional art historical narratives (i.e. the art history timeline). Additionally, publishing platforms like the Walker’s are amazing examples of how museums can situate their exhibitions and objects in a broader network of intersecting values and theoretical concerns. Yet at the same time, the museum is responsible for selecting and publishing materials that align with their own ideologies without providing a space for dialogue or external voices with opinions that challenge the museum. However, do the downsides of these digital publishing practices mean that museums should not create these digital platforms?? Do the pros out weigh the cons? 

However, my analysis of these digital platforms is very binary. I think the Walker’s site provides a good starting place of what an institution’s online presence can be: a place where ideas can be exchanged and connected between art scholars and public audiences, and where audiences can be exposed to perspectives beyond the museum. I do agree with the author Orit Gat, that museum’s should invest in creating more digital platforms which aim to foster public engagement and dialogue. Perhaps one way to create meaningful dialogue, would be to post a series of related articles/essays/materials then host some sort of online event, in which people could engage in real-time?

 

 

Databases as Creative Opportunities

I agree with the article that it is hard to classify diverse objects, that each have layered meanings, and specific cultural and historical significance, under one overarching set of principles or guidelines. I think such a daunting, seemingly impossible task, provides institutions with the opportunity for creative and artistic problem solving when structuring and visually designing their databases.

I think generating databases can be an opportunity to radically restructure the ways in our society thinks about dominant historical modes of classifications. Starting with an analysis of the metadata of objects can lead to new connections and relationships between works, which can in turn shift the way a database is structured and designed in a way that disrupts traditional art historical taxonomies, that do not account for diverse histories and arts practices. Overall, I think databases and classification systems will become more inclusive and diverse, as more collections and objects, are digitally archived and become available online.  

Concerns About Open Cultural Data

The open cultural data movement has many positive and negative aspects. With available open cultural data, there is a plethora of educational benefits and research opportunities. However, open cultural data also presents a number of questions and concerns.

For instance, what happens when collections that include items that were never meant to be shown publicly, are culturally significant to a marginalized community or have been stolen from a community, make their collections and data freely available on the web?

Additionally, Open cultural data made available on the web can exacerbate negative effects that happen within a musuem setting. Narratives generated by museums rather than the culture from which the object/image came from can reach wider audiences on the internet.Despite licenses and copyrights, images often circulate on the web without any context and can be used for a variety of purposes, thus images can also be appropriated, decontextualized, and redefined by a wider audience on the web.

Furthermore, many open cultural platforms on the web, including wikiart, showcase objects and images, as well as define art, through western art historical ways of categorizing and defining art, which is problematic for many reasons and leaves many art forms and movements out of the conversation.

Ultimately there are many positive and negative potentials for Open Cultural Data.  Images and data can range from being completely appropriated, decontextualized, and redefined, or highly contextualized and democratized.

 

 

 

 

Art Objects, Damage, and Resonance

The essay “Resonance and Wonder” by Stephen Greenblatt touches on many key issues relating to the ways in which museums chose to display their art objects and the effects those display methodologies have on  viewers’ reactions and understandings of the objects. In his essay, Greenblatt discusses how often times museums try to erase the history of the art object, which may include contextual and historical factors as well as physical damage to the works themselves. Greenblatt also describes how museums function as “monuments to the fragility of cultures,” and how the fragility of art objects themselves can have resonance. Greenblatt’s discussion of these themes made me think about a trip I took to the Cleveland Museum of Art this summer and a statue, The Thinker by Auguste Rodin, I saw at the museum.

In 1970 an unknown anti-government group detonated a homemade bomb at the Cleveland Museum of art that blew out the bottom portion of The Thinker. The sculpture was severely damaged. The Cleveland Museum of Art’s The Thinker, is a great case study for some of the issues that Greenblatt discusses in his essay. The physical damage inflicted upon the art object can be seen as a testament to the fragility of the culture of the United States and to the ideologies and values tied to the United States government. The damage to the bottom of the sculpture also generates its own resonance through an added historical and contextual connection between the sculpture, the location, an era and a moment in time.

The Thinker also presents a way to look at how Museums make decisions about damaged works and present the history of objects.  After considering several options, the Cleveland Musuem of Art decided not to restore the The Thinker and return the damaged sculpture to the entrance of the museum. They added a small plaque, which described that the damage had been caused by a bomb, to the base of the statue. The history of the object now is inseparable from one’s understanding and appreciation of the sculpture on display. One can no longer view the art object without considering its history. According to Greenblatt, this is a somewhat rare occurrence, as most museums attempt to remove historical context from art objects on display.