In regards to the videos that are present on LACMA’s website, I find them all incredibly intriguing. For me personally, I love to know what goes on behind the scenes or why an artist makes what they do. Because I work in film, my favorite part is listening to an interview with a director to learn more about how they were able to accomplish something as spectacular as a motion picture. Because of this, I greatly enjoyed listening to Ed Moses discuss the art that he created.
When it comes to what I expect from a museum digitally – I don’t expect much. The first museums I visited were in Spain for a culture class I took there and I didn’t notice anything at all. (To be fair, I’m sure there were some digital aspects, but without looking I didn’t see any) And now to take this course and to learn all of the developments museums have been making, I have a whole different viewpoint. I guess I would expect them to have some form of social media presence and website. However, from there I am still excited to see anything of interest (like the behind-the-scenes interviews).
If there were an online class that taught real life skills pertaining to a job, I would pay attention to that. For instance, I would benefit from learning how to write a press release. If there were ever some sort of video that could teach me how to do one without having to consult my supervisors, I would take it in a second.
I’m not sure if this will count as digital storytelling, but the first thing I thought of was the Virtual Reality experience for The Walk. This film tells the story of Philippe Petit, the man who walked across a tight rope between the twin towers. This experience gives a little background of the story by playing the trailer and then actually puts you into his shoes to try and complete the walk. I can say from experience that this is so realistic most people can’t even take the first step. I know I couldn’t. I feel like virtual reality will be the next step in digital storytelling.
This week I read about the “Infinite Museum” at the David Owsley Museum of Art. This interactive website is innovative and useful when trying to tie digital aspects into a museum. Although many museums already do have websites where you are able to explore the works currently on display, this project allows you to explore the galleries in a more creative way. It allows you to be reflective or look at things in a fun manner instead of just completely serious. They did this by creating numerous different prompts, which they then referred to as ‘lenses.’ This reminds me of the interactive wig exhibit we looked at in class. However, I feel like that was just more playful. It didn’t give any real information about the wigs, besides some very basic background. It was entertaining to create an outlandish wig, but ultimately I didn’t learn much. With the “Infinite Museum,” it will actually take you to explore different parts of the museum, which is what a good online digital component will do. I personally like this feature because I often times feel self conscious visiting museums because I’m not very knowledgeable about art and art history and so to be able to explore at my own pace from the comfort of my home is an amazing feature. I will be interested to see how the online realm further develops in the next few years.
When I think about what a class on ‘Museums in the Digital Age’ would be about, the New York Times article by Anand Giridharadas perfectly encompasses that. This article was fascinating to read – it was nice to compare the different digital initiatives taken by two huge museums to show that going in a ‘digital’ direction doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing. It was interesting to read about the Brooklyn museum and how instead of just letting their initiatives linger, they took into account that they were only affecting the proximate audience and deciding to try something new. To use the Internet and digital platforms to create an exhibit that is chosen by digital users is brilliant. I would absolutely go to various artists’ studios to check out their work if I thought I might be contributing to something that could end up in the museum. What a perfect way to engage local users, since they were the ones spending the most amount of time on the site anyways.
When reading about the Met, I couldn’t help but think back to the digital storytelling video we watched in class about Mr. Peanut from the National Museum of American History. The digital director at the Met commented on how he wanted to enhance the scholarship of the museum, not detract from it. I feel like it’s easy to think of digital platforms detracting from the work because looking at art online isn’t going to give the same effect, but people might not stray from the comfort of their couch if they have access to something there. Instead, he found a way to add to the scholarship by allowing the audience to see what they hadn’t been able to before a digital age. Now he is able to document the restoration of a work, from the time it arrives in its crate to the time it is put on display at the Met. This is similar to the unveiling of the cast iron Mr. Peanut in the Founding Fragments video. I loved being able to see the ‘behind the scenes’ aspect of it, as I’m sure everyone else does as well.
To begin, I thought this particular reading was going to be very procedural, just a “how-to” guide on how to catalog, but it turned out to give much deeper insight into the meaning of art. One section I found particularly interesting was the section that asks you to describe what you are cataloging. This seems like it would be the most basic step but like Baca mentions, this could be incredibly complex. To define objects and to begin to catalog them means you have to understand exactly what they are and how they relate. However, this begins to get tricky when Baca gets to the section describing what is a work and what is an image. It begins to become entangled here because you are forced to make the distinction between what is a work depicted in a work (like the painting displayed below – an artistic visualization of Michelangelo’s David)
and what is just an image of a work – similar to the picture I took on my cell phone of David (as an example of something you might find commercially).
However, I believe that this really just depends on perception. Some photographs really could be considered works of art. I know that it isn’t my place to disagree, because this is all pretty technical, but I think that often times the photographs that Baca writes will “be treated as photographic documentation and recorded in an Image Record” could be considered by the photographer as an actual work of art. In the picture I took, it was just clearly meant to document what I was seeing so that I could bring it home and show it to my friends and family. However, often times the images people take of large architectural scenes or the Eiffel Tower have lovely photographic displays that shouldn’t just be accounted into an image record because they’re not from the 19th century.
This week I read the article about digital storytelling, which I found to be particularly interesting. I am involved in the entertainment industry, specifically in film and television, which is all about storytelling in a sense. The beginning of the article was great – it gave pointers on what sorts of questions to ask yourself to form a proper narrative. For me, that was especially helpful because I am interviewing for a couple real jobs this week and being able to effectively communicate the story of my life and experiences is crucial. To do this, I found the “Accomplishment Stories” section particularly helpful because it made me reflect on certain instances in my work career. I know that I am qualified, but sometimes it is difficult to pull up extremely specific instances and be able to talk about “what the event taught me” and “how the event changed my life.” I thought it was interesting that the article talked about storytelling as a way of “filtering, indexing and repackaging tools.” The story is always there – it’s just a matter of putting the right materials in the right place to form something that will be appealing and interesting to others.
However, I did disagree with the “Good Consumer Habit” section of the article. When I started to read, as I mentioned at the beginning, I immediately thought about film and television because directors, cinematographers, actors, show-runners – they’re all storytellers. And then I get to the section that discusses mass media and it only mentions that we are “immersed in too much TV” and that exposure to mass media depletes our “critical intelligence” and I have to strongly disagree with this. Sure, reading a thousand magazine articles about the Kardashians might deplete a few brain cells… but ultimately I believe media and television are a universal tie between all cultures. Films themselves are true art forms and directors and scriptwriters should be applauded, not lumped into the group of people that tell their story to simply just garner attention.