For this week’s reading I chose to read Timothy Berg’s (et al) “The Infinite Museum: An innovative Digital Platform to Transform the Museum Visit”. The Infinite Museum is a web application that prompts users with unusual questions in an attempt to push viewers to rethink their museum experience. On the site there are about 1,500 short prompts that are used to help engage viewers in new and innovative ways for their usual museum visit. The prompts range in mood from reflective to silly and to strange — each asking the user to try and reimagine and rethink the normal way they would interact with an art piece. To encourage a social effect, users are encouraged to respond to prompts that have already been posted, by allowing a stream of posts to follow the art piece shown above – this part kind of reminded me of reddit.
I thought this website and platform was really interesting because it touches on what we have discussed a lot in class which is how viewer’s interact with art pieces. However I do not know how effective or useful it is in creating a dialogue for museums and artwork. I only say this because I think that the prompts are somewhat distracting and too random at times, and I feel that this almost detracts from the goal of creating a conversation about the piece and more so attracts attention to the question alone by itself.
However, I thought the concept was really great and that this platform could be effective if some of the prompts and questions were dulled down a bit – I am not sure if having so many prompts and a catalogue of items would be overwhelming for the user.
This week’s reading discussed two different museums’ implementations of new technology as a way to enhance their artwork and whether it has become a positive or negative trend. The idea of seeing artwork in person versus seeing it online is discussed, and I thought this was an important point to bring up especially given at this time where a lot of things are becoming digitized. While making an online log of different collections allows easier access to the art, new interactions with the pieces, and new experiences, does it detract from the piece itself and take part of the artist’s meaning away from it?
Most art pieces I feel are intended to be seen in person instead of online. With the digitization of these pieces, I feel that the idea of resonance and wonder can be lost. I thought a good example of this was Yayoi Kasuma’s “Infinity Room”. The room itself is a platform of wonder – walking into a room that warps one’s sense of reality, making the viewer feel as if they are in a room with thousands of lights. However with the digitization of this art piece, as well as the overposting of it on social media such as instagram – does it detract people from going to see the piece itself or enhance it?
I feel like this is an important question to ask with the age of technology amongst us, because it could play a role in the future of whether people are allowed to take pictures of art pieces such as these or not. I feel that with the overposting of this exhibit, it could ward people away from seeing it because they feel as if they already know what they are going to see. However, also it could attract people towards the art piece because they want to know what all the hype is about. I feel like the use of technology and art work has such a fine line of whether it helps or takes away from the art piece.
Week 2 Blog Post (wasn’t enrolled in the class yet)
This week we read Stephen’s Greenblatt’s “Resonance and Wonder” which discusses the way museums choose to display their art and how that effects the viewers’ perception and understanding of the art pieces themselves. He describes “resonance” to be the power within an art piece to “evoke in the viewer the complex, dynamic culture forces from which it has emerged”, leaving a lasting impression on the viewer. Meanwhile, “wonder” is described as a different power, the ability of the art piece to stop the viewer in their tracks, “[conveying] an arresting sense of uniqueness, [and evoking] an exalted attention”. He describes how a successful exhibition has both these qualities of resonance and wonder, and explains how wonder could be seen as more important than resonance. He explains that wonder is more important in an art piece because it is what initially draws in the viewer. If there is wonder and the object can have the power to stop someone in their tracks, they are more likely to then investigate its background and history of the object (or its resonance)…so in a way wonder can lead to resonance.
I thought this concept was really interesting – even though I have frequented museums and examined art pieces – I have never really thought about the concepts behind the actual exhibition. I noticed in myself that if I experience “wonder” in an art piece, I usually will take the time to learn more about it as well and it usually leaves me with a longer lasting impression, than those art pieces that I do not find “wonder” in.
What I thought would be interesting questions to explore then is what creates “wonder” – the placement, the size, the surroundings, the geographical location of the museum itself? For this concept I decided to explore an exhibit in Hong Kong for Valentine’s Day. For this Valentine’s Day, a company called Pancom decided to create an exhibit that included 25,000 LED lit up roses.
I thought this concept was really interesting because they chose to put this exhibit into a public space, and also the amount of roses really creates a sense of “wonder”. After seeing a video of this exhibit, I read up on it learning about its “resonance”, and I felt that common citizens too would investigate why there is such an exhibit in the middle of Hong Kong. I thought this was a good example of how wonder could lead to resonance.
I really enjoyed the videos from LACMA’s website. In fact, before this assignment I actually didn’t know there were such videos, despite having visited the website quite a few times previously.
I liked how there were different types of videos – some entertaining, some informational, and some educational. The one that especially appealed to me was the Past Exhibitions: New Objectivity: Modern German Art in the Weimar Republic, 1919–1933. Watching this video felt like I was given a private tour about modern German art. The curator did a great job narrating the historical facts and tying them in with interpretations of the artworks. I also liked the camerawork: it switched from the curator to paintings on the wall, to zoomed-in shots of the paintings, really shaping the storytelling presentation and making it feel real and dynamic.
Some educational videos, like on Khan Academy are very useful. I especially like that website for learning about math and sciences. That format, however, would not be appropriate for discussing objects and artworks, I think, because it’s too static.
There are many factors to consider when making a digital storytelling project about an object, and I think the way it should be done and presenting will vary based on the object, or at least type of object. For example, for smaller, cultural objects such as masks, pots, vases, plates, mini-statues, etc. – I would expect a lot of close-up shots of the actual object. Also, I would expect some images or clips showing how that object is used in its natural context. Also, given that today we can also have 3-D representations, it could be interesting to integrate a clip of the 3-D interaction with the object if there is any interesting detail to reveal that is not observable using basic videocamera. For larger objects and/or presentations, I would also expect shots of the curator, or other visitors in order to understand the scale of it.
I think there are contradictory expectations for a museum’s online presence to be cutting edge while also being accessible and providing information not in the galleries themselves while also presenting new information. While this may not be fair to the museum, it reflects the varied visitors to the museum websites. To be successful, I think there is a need for museum digital content to be accessible to everyone. While they are online, museums need to meet their public where they are, mainly social media like Instagram, twitter, and Facebook. While most museums have been present on twitter and Instagram, I think Facebook has been losing attention. This, while sites like Buzz feed are taking off, primarily from their content being shared through Facebook. Personally, I really enjoy videos like those we looked at from LACMA where the viewer can get a glimpse into the functioning of a museum. It would be interesting, however, to see a museum flood the internet with short and funny videos about their collection and things related to it.
For online classes, a practical option that I would have loved as a high schooler would be an online supplemental AP Art History course that draws on the collection of an encyclopedic museum, like LACMA, that I would have been able to visit and tangibly see. This would probably be more popular with students who could actually visit the museum. The opportunity to study a work and then visit it in person can be an eye-opening for a student. On a more random note, I would love to take a class on period dress, learning the evolution of fashion, particularly in the 17th to 19th centuries. A class like this could be illustrated with actual outfits in a museum’s collection, along with paintings and other works of art that depict the fashion of the time of commissioning.
The most effective digital story telling that I encounter is that on the radio. Podcasts my personal go to for when driving or walking to class. This American Life and Serial are both radio based shows that have has success because of their particular presentation of stories to their listeners. KPCC recently began a culture show called The Frame. It looks at art, film, and general pop culture. I love it because I am presented with new artists, musicians and films that I would not otherwise see, however they rarely spend time talking about actual art. Understandably so, it’s hard to talk about such a visual art form without images, or at least soundbites. I think this would be really interesting for a museum to tackle, as an authority on culture, museums are really in a place to fill this void and begin literal conversations on their collections, exhibitions, and current events in the art world.
I found the videos LACMA presented on their site to be really interesting, I like being able to see the intent behind artist’s work. I thought this added another layer to the art pieces that wouldn’t have previously been there – and found it to be really effective. When it comes to presenting museums digitally, I feel that it would present itself from a more educational stand point. Like what was presented in the LACMA videos, for example the artist’s intent, or an analysis of the work.
As for a digital storytelling example, I thought I would use the KONY 2012 craze. I thought it was really interesting how many people it greatly effected and moved enough to either donate or share their idea. Because of this, I thought it would be interesting to examine it and see what exactly in this digital storytelling caused it to be so powerful during that time.
As for educational online videos, I have always loved TedX talks. I think they are effective because it is usually for a 20 minute period and is a crash course on a very specified topic. I think that the 20 minute shot of information is effective because a lot of the time if something goes on for longer than that my attention would sway. Also the content being presented is usually an interesting take on a topic. Not just educational but delving more into the topic and how it relates to humans or the body.
Personally, I feel that the use of technology (in regards to the traditional definitions of technology, rather than our class’s understanding) is only most useful to museums if it engages the audience in a way that current print mediums cannot. Otherwise, the need to use technology renders useless. For example, if the idea is to reduce waste by using less paper for museum pamphlets through the increase of digital posters — it is successful in the sense that it creates solutions but I feel a strong need for interative elements beyond moving visuals. The beauty, for lack of a better word, in the use of technology is its capabilities to connect people beyond the physical realm, give answers to questions instantaneously, and to take a viewer into a different world essentially (may it be interactive interfaces that are clickable to immersive 3D environments with the virtual reality headsets). Thus, a museum’s virtual presence should be immense– it should unveil artwork in a way that the audience and understand the context better or experience differently than just seeing a work on the wall.
Also, despite lack of popular opinion, I personally enjoy online classes, such as Code Academy and Lynda. The reason being is the flexibility in the nature of online courses. For example, Lynda has the courses transcripted in the description with the ability to read ahead and highlight key phrases. Furthermore, for those who are pressed for time but want the most of the learning experience, Lynda allows the chance to change the speed — something that cannot be done in a real life class setting. If I zoned out Ina real class, that moment of learning would be lost; yet, the ability of online courses provides a way to go back in time and relearn what was forgotten as well. A pitch for an online course that I would take is how to make an effective anthropological video journalism work– how to properly and ethically interview and delve into social and cultural stories (so toes are never stepped on and cultures are respectfully represented). I feel that hear are important topics to discuss and share with a world wide public (beyond the physical realms of classroom settings).
A digital storytelling work that I find interesting is http://queeringthemuseum.org/previous-projects/digital-storytelling-project/
because it delves into the stories of an underrepresented community.
What do I expect from a museum’s digital presence? For me, personally, I expect a sense of coherence and unity between the digital space and the physical objects on display. Incorporating new and exciting technologies sounds creative and fun, but sometimes it fails to connect the viewers with the objects. I think that technologies should always come after the objects unless the point trying to be made is that the technology is art. It is a difficult task to bring together modern and antiquated themes together without causing disorientation and confusion. But I don’t think museums should sacrifice their intents by trying to keep up the image of being a new modern place. Museum’s digital presence should be engaging and informative but also act as a supplement to the patron’s experience without being overpowering.
I love online courses and have taken several during my time here at UCLA. I appreciate the idea of learning at my own pace and studying in the comfort of my own bed, even though this seems counterintuitive. I’m really interested in Java courses on edX and Python courses on coursera. As a Statistics major, I have done a lot of data analysis and coding in R, but I would like to expand my coding skills into something more widely used like Python.
Last year in summer, I took a course in Gender Studies that focused on the impact of media and the representations of race, gender, sexual orientation, and class in media. One of our final assignments was playing a game called Gone Home. It is an interactive game where the player navigates through the house through the perspective of a female protagonist to find clues and hints about where her family is and what happened while she was away on a trip in Europe. This is by far one of the best digital storytelling piece I have come across. It engages the viewers and the players by putting them into the protagonist’s shoes. The player has to pick up clues and hints around the house to put together a story of what might have happened, and the story is very captivating augmented by the music and sounds. I couldn’t help but feel scared, worried, relieved, and curious constantly while playing the game. It still has me mesmerized by the sheer quality and contextual depth of this interactive game. I think this piece tells a story that is relevant and important to our generation.
I personally expect a museum’s digital presence to enhance the works of art within a museum, rather than replace or overpower it. I think that museums can utilize technology as a way to disseminate their information to a wide rage of audiences to gain attention. I also believe that museum’s can utilize the transition into the digital space to change their role in a community or in the art world from a site of colonialism to a site of diversity.
Looking through the courses on coursera, I found that the Data science class developed by Johns Hopkins would be the most interesting to participate in for the course of a whole year. I think that the information presented in this course would be extremely interesting and beneficial in multiple disciplines. Similarly, since it is focused on data and manipulating data structures, working on the computer may make it easier to understand the translational process form lecture to practice.
I have found http://www.makers.com/about which utilizes digital storytelling to empower women. The website holds a collection of digital storytelling processes and gives insight into the lives of powerful and impactful women in society. Check it out!
What I expect digitally from a museum is more interactive expereinces that were not before possible. Unlike traditional objects in a museum, digital objects don’t degrade the more they are used. I expect digitally from a museum some kind of digital show or exhibit and also digital tools that help curate the museum experience should a patron want it. I think that digital tools and experiences should be available to patrons but not imposed on them if they want a more “authentic” or traditional museum experience.
An example of digital storytelling that I found interesting comes in the form of Lizzie Bennet’s diary which was originally published online as a youtube series. Interestingly enough, this piece of digital story telling was then published in print as a book. I find this interesting because we often see movie adaptations of books but with digital storytelling becoming a tool for self publishing, a book is no longer the only way to tell a story with low financial risk. Digital story telling is changing how we tell the stories and how they become popular or available.