Social Immersive Media

Snibbe Interactive Environment

Scott Snibbe's "Our Environment" Interactive Installation

Artists and designers have long been incorporating media into the museum experience. Over the last decade a wide array of technologies have found thier way into the museum including GPS, RFID, infrared cameras and other locative sensors as well as networked objects, web-ready PDAs, cellphones and other devices. These technologies when paired with large-scale, immersive interfaces have allowed designers to create experiences that reinforce the value of the museum as a physical site of social interaction and learning. With its annual Horizon Report, the New Media Consortium forecasts trends in the adoption of technology into public and educational space.

Digital artist Scott Snibbe’s Social Immersive Media installations are unique in that they engage the audience both emotionally and physically by incorporating their body into a responsive physical experience that communicates complex message-driven content.

This week we will see the opening of the Sentient Cities Exhibition at the Urban Center. Toward the Sentient City explores the role of ubiquitous and embedded digital networks in our experience of urban and public space.  The exhibition’s curator, Mark Shepard describes” a coming age of urban infrastructure capable of sensing and responding to the events and activities transpiring around them. Imbued with the capacity to remember, correlate and anticipate, this near-future “sentient” city is envisioned as being capable of reflexively monitoring its environment and our behavior within it, becoming an active agent in the organization of everyday life in urban public space.” The exhibition features the work of five groups commissioned to produce new work that speculates on the future of architecture, computing and sociology.

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4 responses to “Social Immersive Media

  1. Making people an active part of exhibitions and museums is fundamental in order to create experiences that go beyond merely observation and engage people in unprecedented ways. The use of technology and media gives a huge range of possibilities to designers. No matter what is the museums’ mission there is available every kind of technology appropriate to communicate what is relevant to each museum. It’s exciting to see how some museums and designers have started to understand the importance of involving people in exhibitions in an active way trough experiences like the one described in this post, but there still a long way to go. Sadly many museums are still stuck in the earliest conception of exhibitions as a way of displaying objects and think that this kind of people intervention in exhibitions is more a matter of amusing parks.

  2. I as well agree with the importance of the interactive museum type. My museum- the NY Hall of Science, would be dull and impossible if it weren’t for the multiple technological displays, interactive exhibits and, what I thought most interesting, video/computer generated presentations. In a science museum of this scale, the reliance on technology is of up-most importance.
    One issue I think should be addressed however is the price and maintenance of these interactive displays. While at the Hall of Science, I noticed that three of the computer based programs were under repair- it is absolutely pertinent that if a museum uses technology, they must be able to maintain it. There is nothing more bothersome than seeing a wonderful exhibition ruined by “under repair” signs.

  3. During my interview with the AMNH, a large focus was on how museums need to be interactive. Not only through one person, but by groups of people coming together to learn something new. It seems as if they are trying to build more of a community environment through interactive technologies and design.

  4. The future of museum visitor networking? What a great idea to connect a group of people the museum with information that they all learned the museum. Not only is it a great way to gain museum publicity, but it is also a way to spread education to a much wider population.

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