The Museum of Chinese in America
I recently visited the newly re-opened MOCA–Museum of Chinese in America. Drawn partially, I’ll admit, by the museum’s architect, Maya Lin, I was also interested in seeing what, if any new design ideas on how to present this history–“Chinese in America”–an example of these unique groups building museums to tell specific cultural identity stories. Firstly, I find the title of this museum interesting–“Museum of Chinese in America,” not “Museum of the History of Chinese Americans” or “Museum of American Chinese,” but “Museum of Chinese in America.” The words “Chinese in America” suggest to me a purposeful separation of “Chinese” and “America” and does not imply overlap or inclusion. Perhaps that is part of the point, that for most of the history of Chinese immigrating to the U.S. our culture separated and labeled them as “Chinese” and not “American.” I thought that this was particularly relevant to our class conversation about the growing presence of such group and identity-specific museums. I have to question, who is the audience? Throughout my visit I felt as though the museum made no effort to connect this “Chinese” experience in America to any other immigrant group (other than a brief commentary on the Japanese interment during WWII). If museums keep telling these specific stories and do not connect them out to a larger point or group, aren’t they missing part of the point of the very history they are trying to present? Regardless, some of the objects on display in the museum, e.g. a candy box for “Fu Manchus” or a copy of “The Good Earth,” were great tools that could speak about racism without use of many words. I wish the current section, instead of having a wall of famous Asian Americans–Maya Lin, Yo Yo Ma, Ang Lee, they might have discussed current immigration or racial issues because this story is still ongoing–just because we have museums that discuss these issues historically, does not mean they are not still alive and relevant today.
Posted in 1, architecture, art, audience, community, design, emergent, exhibition, experience, history, identity, interactive, memory, native, network, society, stories, storytelling
"Parque Explora", an interactive experience that teaches you while you amuse
I would like to share with you my experience in “Parque Explora”, a very innovative interactive park in Medellin, Colombia. Its main objective is to disseminate and promote science and technology in the population of the city and its visitors. It gives them the opportunity to experiment, learn while they are enjoying, and build some knowledge that can help developing social welfare and dignity. It has more than 300 interactive experiences outdoor and indoor, spaces for experimentation and exhibition places.
One of the places I enjoyed the best when I went there was the open hall. An incredible place outdoors fulfilled with interactive experiences to learn about physics while you play. I remember my physics’ lessons in high school and how boring they were, but this place makes of physics an entertaining experience. You can experiment the physics’ laws on your own while you are spinning around on a circular platform and controlling its speed depending on how close your chest is to the center of it. You can also experience the laws of gravity, inertia, parabolic movement, eccentric movement, etc. You learn tons of stuff that is usually boring while you are amusing yourself.
Another amazing space in the park is the digital territory. Here you can learn everything about new technologies while you create with music, images and movement. You make your own animations, you broadcast the weather on a TV station, you analyze your own body temperature with infrared cameras, and you compose your own songs. It’s is magical.
“Parque Explora” makes of learning the most fun, amusing, unforgettable experience.
I was reading Reach Advisor’s article, “Is Art Really Asynchonous? What About Museums?” and examining Seth Godwin’s graphic which analyzes high and low bandwidth media against asynchonous and syncronized activities. In thinking more on this I realized that part of me likes the fact that most exhibitions in museums are stable and fixed in design yet also temporary. Exhibitions that I experienced years ago become part of whom I am in the same way that reading a classic or traveling constructs who I am as an individual. Considering that many exhibitions that impacted me the most are temporary (such as Sensation), does that experience become an isolated perhaps sacred set of moments? Because that exhibition experience can never be repeated is it more valuable?