Category Archives: participation

Flickr Museums

Over the course of the Fall 2010 semester Museum Lab students worked in four teams of three to invent and develop fictional museums using Flickr. This experimental format supplanted the Lab’s more traditional design assignment as the majority of students were non-design grads from Media Studies, History of Decorative Arts and Fine Arts. The aim was to see if we could practice the internal functions of the museum – including collection, conservation, interpretation, education and exhibition – using Flickr’s editorial and content management features.

While Flickr did seem at times to be a bit of an antiquated program, and lacking in participatory features of more popular social networking sites it did provide an environment for discussing a wide range of very general museum issues in an an abstract and easy to manipulate surrogate to a real museum. Questions explored included: What is a mission statement? How does mission relate to a collecting policy? How do you create and manage metadata to sort and access information? What editorial decisions are involved in creating a thematic exhibition? How can we effectively use the tools of social networking including collaborative and participatory modes of interaction, user generated tags and comments? How does the from and functions of a networked media environment influence the reading of the content?

Salon de Refuse: A Trash Museum
A museum of re-purposed objects and materials for the creation of new works of art. The Salon de Refuse derives its name from late 19th Century Parisian Salon Refusés that was founded by artists who were refused by jury of the officially sanctioned Paris Salon.
Students: Michelle Jackson, Ryan Massey, Logan Sibrel.

Gotham City Street Art Museum
This Street Art Museum creates an online site for exploring graffitti, painted murals, paste-ups and other ephemeral urban artistic practices in public space.
Students: Tori Jones, Jayme Elterman, Kadie Yale

The Play and Learn Collection: Toys that Influence
This museum explores the effects of designed objects on early childhood development including gender roles, race, occupation and identity.
Students: Meagan Elevado, Racini Andres, Ruby Hoette.

New Yorker’s Tribute Museum
The Tribute Museum explores the space of memory archives the many often unoticed memorials and monuments in New York, including spontaneous acts of memorialization, tribute tattoos, and municipally sponsored memorial installations.
Students: Sinnead Lawler, Livia Di Mario, Jessica Peterson.

Critics invited to the final review included Shannon Mattern, Professor at the New School Department of Media Studies; Ilona Parkansky, Educational Media and Technology Planner at Ralph Appelbaum Associates and Susan Sellers, Founder and Principal of 2×4 Design.

Tim Ventimiglia

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Identity, Self, Networks

A recent essay by author Zadie Smith brought to mind the topic of ‘self’ as we’ve discussed the BBC documentary, The Century of the Self, and the museum’s shifting focus on the complexity and identity of its audience. Smith’s essay, titled “Generation Why?” is largely a critique of The Social Network, a film released earlier this fall about the founding of the online social network, Facebook. Smith’s critique leaps beyond the content of the film to comment on our current society and the increasing importance we place on defining ourselves, as a seemingly increasing portion of this definition comes in the form of the people and things we collect and give preference to in virtual space.

As a class, we have discussed the role of Facebook in our society and our roles as virtual participants, like those discussed by Nina Simon in The Participatory Museum. Simon describes “The network effect,” the underlying concept of social networks, and our various levels of participation, “whether as creators, critics, collectors, joiners or spectators.”

By participating in social networks, in some ways, we are individually creating prescribed-format museums of self. We curate, update, and maintain them. We may create micro-communities with other individuals who share interests and ideas to which we relate, but we increasingly isolate the ‘self’ because we interface with software to a greater extent than the people to whom we are connected in social space.

Connection may be the goal of social networks, but decreased privacy, perhaps an evolved social norm, also affects how the self is virtually portrayed. And one’s expressed likes and dislikes allow for for marketing to be streamlined to his or her self-proclaimed preferences. In this way, we are viewed as individual consumers. Likewise, The Century of the Self reveals the shift from ‘need’ to a ‘desire’ based society.

In her essay, Smith also briefly discusses Jaron Lanier’s book, You Are Not A Gadget. She writes that, “Lanier is interested in the ways in which people, ‘reduce themselves’ in order to make a computer’s description of them appear more accurate.” We are aware that we self-edit for online portrayal and that our number of virtual friends is not an accurate reflection of our actual friends, but it is important to question our awareness of how the software affects us. Software is not neutral, and it is possible to consider that for most of us the lines begin to blur between our reduced, edited selves and our reality.

It is possible to consider that our selves which display our collections of friends and things we like are devoid of the richness of our actual lives and interpersonal connections.

In his publication, Do Museums Still Need Objects, author Stephen Conn wrote about how museums have generally adjusted to changing cultural atmospheres and he concluded that although they may no longer require physical objects to tell their stories, objects endure and offer a rich and unparalleled visual experience all their own.

Likewise, I think that virtual social space cannot offer the same quality of personal connection and reflection found in shared cultural space.

Jayme Elterman

Bill Moggridge wrote a book… and he’s giving it away for free.

A scenario from Dunne and Raby shows children growing meat to provide energy to operate a TV. <em>Photo</em> Jason Evans

A couple weeks ago, I attended  a lecture by Mr. Bill Moggridge, Director of the National Design Museum. It was an interesting albeit short lecture on what he finds interesting about curatorial design, as well as how the Design Museum looks to keep up with the trends of participatory and accessible exhibits. He currently has a new media committee trying to make the museum more available online. He has also written a book titled ” Designing Interactions” which highlights the different ways that artists and designers have been creating interactive and participatory technology. There are interview videos and biographies for each of the interviewed artists  both online and on a DVD included in the book.  Better still, he has offered this book FREE for download, either by chapter or in its entirety.

There’s some pretty great stuff here, and  I thought it would be of some interest to the class. http://www.designinginteractions.com/book

Jess Peterson

Listening to LaSalle NOLA!

In a week I’m going to New Orleans to hold my first exhibition, curate and be in complete charge of installation, reception, etc.  Because of this class, I’ve learned a lot about putting together a show.  I’m also going to use participation as part of the show so that we get a sense of what the community things about our proposal, what we are doing, and we can also use this data as part of our presentation to Chase in the final round!  So thanks for all the great lessons, I’ve learned a lot!  Wish us luck, if we win, our non profit organization gets $50,ooo.oo to see our project through.

Below is my proposal, please feel free to leave comments on how this could be better!

Listening to La Salle!

Listening to La Salle is an exhibition based on a project that the Chase Competition holds every year ranging from New York City to New Orleans.  This year, the New School along with the University of New Orleans and our non-profit organization, NONDC, are coming together to work on a proposal to make the street of La Salle, located in the heart of Central City, New Orleans, what it was and bring out its potential for the future.  With a great range of students, from business, architects, design, and fine arts, and a lot of research, we come together to create a strong, powerful, and meaningful project to help out the community of Central City.

Aside from the bigger picture, one of the ways we decided to get the community involved and to bring an understanding of what exactly we are doing was to have an exhibition.  Through our research we discovered a great art organization that work with local youth.  Below is their mission statement.

“YA/YA’s mission is to empower creative young people to become successful adults. We do this by providing educational experiences in the arts and entrepreneurship to New Orleans-area youth, and by fostering and supporting their ambitions.”

We felt that working with youth would be the most inspirational part of our project for the simple reason that they ARE the future of New Orleans.  They are the ones who ground us and bring us back to the bigger picture of why this project is so important.

Through this exhibition, it is not only about getting the youth involved, but it was also important to give the community a better understanding of who we are and what we are doing.  It is a chance to meet us.

This exhibition proposes; from the eyes of the youth, YaYa students will create paintings that represent their community, what it was, is, and can become.  Along with pieces from 2 MFA students from Parsons, The New School, in New York that will capture the history of La Salle street.  Aside from the fine arts part, the architect team will also provide images of what La Salle St. can look like in the future, through the rebuilding of the famous Dew Dropp Inn, Krump site, Smith site, as well as the new incoming occupants, the NONDC site.  We want to show how all these elements can bring the community together and build a better future.

From the New York side of the exhibition, we will be in charge of installation, de-installation, and transportation of all the pieces as well as providing of the food and beverages at the opening reception.  YA/YA will be in charge of providing the artwork and all it’s information as well as how any transactions regarding the purchasing of any work will take place.

The show will be held in the clubhouse of Harmony Oaks from November 23 – 29th.  Giving time for those who were unable to attend the opening reception to peak in whenever they have a chance to.

Racini Andres