One of the areas that we believe artist and exhibit designers will continue to explore is the world of using real-time data to provide an understating or awareness of our world today – right now! We previously looked at some earlier examples here in this blog, here. Recently, we’ve run across some new examples to enjoy and consider. The first is http://www.mta.me/ by Alexander Chen.
Here is video from the site:
This experience turns the New York Subway map into a musical instrument which varies depending on when you launch the website because it takes data directly from current subway movements.
We believe that the fascination with understanding the current state of the world, whether it be straightforward or through an artistic expression such as music, relates to a key aspect that museums often struggle with:
How to make a visitor’s next visit truly different from the last time they visited.
One way to respond to this challenge is to explore how to celebrate and present, in both engaging and three-dimensional ways, the once-in-a-lifetime experience that is this very second on the timeline.
What interesting examples of real-time data have you seen? What would you like to see?! Share your ideas here.
In the design of exhibitions, there is often a desire to create immersive environments or experiences that allow visitors to lose themselves in the experience rather than be reminded that they are in a museum or exhibition.
An example of a simple approach through projection – but surely not an easy one to create – is Onion Skin by Olivier Ratsi, who is on the AntiVJ visual label.
This experience is an elegant and totally mesmerizing exploration of point-of-view, perspective and vanishing point. It relies on principle known as “anamorphosis” (your vocabulary word of the day). Onion Skin, as is, certainly has relevance to art and visual science content and would be at home at many museums/exhibitions.
As an approach for an immersive experience,it also points out how a simple setup, with creative programming, can become a powerful experience that transports visitors out of an exhibition.
It got us thinking about if and how this approach could be used for various subjects and how that might be achieved. What comes to mind for you?
A final wild thought would be translating this technique and blowing it up for use in a large-screen format. That would be a fun experiment, don’t you think? Share your ideas here.
The interesting part of this exhibition was the work done by Hideyuki Nakayama, that created light and experience separation between the video screens displaying the work of several artists.
Hideyuki Nakayama adapted the metalized film used in emergency blankets to create a light, opaque, but air-porous layer between the screens and the floor below. Visitors are invited to walk beneath the layer and view the videos at designated spots between the layers.
What struck us was the almost eerie similarity of walking through or under a body of water.
Photos from the experience offer snapshots that reminded us a views “just under the surface,” to vistas across a calm body of water. How exciting it would be to encounter a series of experiences set into such a environment.
This made us ruminate on how often in experience design, museums lose sight of the power of such thinking.
Transforming the age-old adage about forest and trees to match our example above – too often we focus on the “waves” or individual experiences in an exhibition rather than the “ocean” that could be created. It is through experiencing the “ocean” that one can gain different and contextual insights into the nature of the “waves”.
In fact, other aspects of our popular culture – hit tv series, console games, and others – have moved toward creating the mega story with individual aspects that while standing alone create a larger, more powerful story.
Looking to future exhibition, it would be magical if we as a field could move from the waves to create more ocean experiences. How do you think this approach could enhance the museum experience?
Over the past year, we have remarked about how the use of scale, done well, can make an experience special. This week we’ve run across three very inspiring and imaginative examples of large-scale experiences. Whether marketing campaigns, art installations, or just cultural documentation, these examples captured our imagination.
The first is the submarine that surfaced in the center of Milan
Talk about an experience! This was a marketing event by M&C saatchi Milano for the insurance group europ assistanve IT. Certainly, it suggests some interesting ideas for promoting a new exhibition or large-format film in the museum world, and it got us wondering about how one might stage this to bring a short term “content” experience into a city.
Here is a possible example. Speaking of large scale film, here is what might be “the largest film camera in the world.”
You might be able to see this in your local city/town. It is traveling around the country as part of the project ”Butterflies and Buffalo” by Dennis Manarchy. The project is to document and “preserve our nation’s (United States) dynamic cultural history”
The last example shows how an abandoned building was transformed into an imaginative setting. Here is the project “from the knees of my nose to the belly of my toes.”
This house, with a sliding front, can be found in Margate and was done by Alex Chinneck, a British artist.
These projects are clear examples of how scale and the context in which the scale experience occurs can heighten the impact of the experience.
Our belief is that museums need to consider breaking down their walls to bring more of their experiences directly into the world beyond the building.
What do you think? What might you pull off in the middle of the city?
This experience of recording seemingly random movement along a train line using an ink ball reminded us here in the studio of the less random but similar in its “recording of forces” of a common science center exhibit the harmonograph. Here is a picture of one from Questacon in Canberra, Australia.
What this got us to thinking is what other common or perhaps not so common exhibits might we riff on and remove constraints to allow visitors to explore “randomness.” the idea of finding patterns in randomness is a key in the fields of science, engineering and math.
We believe that might make a wonderful direction to explore in a series of exhibits.
Of course we should mention that we also think it’s really cool to do exhibits on a train – that would be fun to do too!
What other “randomness” exhibits do you think might make up such an exhibition? Share them with us!
One of the more interesting effects of the merger between the digital and physical worlds is our ability to “read’ or “interpret” various mediums into completely different forms and to do so with simplicity and elegance.
A perfect example of this is the Colour Chaser, by Yuri Suzuki. While originally conceived in 2010, it recently was expanded to become an interactive sensor, sound and robotic installation called Looks Like Music for the Mudam, or Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean.
Here, as you can see, visitors can draw their own paths of color to engage the robot and, in essence, create a musical march for the robot. The simplicity of the approach, the straightforwardness of the interactive outcomes, and the possible creativity all make this incredibly attractive. It incorporates and engages science and art simultaneously.
Here is an example of something we might seek to embed in more technological exhibits in our field -
the idea of not trying to burden every exhibit with the full story but rather to create more exhibits that break the digital/physical interplay into bite-sized chunks…. discrete experiential chunks that can “sing” through a simpler design.
Where have you seen examples like this? How do you imagine using techniques like this to expand the possibilities?
Earlier this year, we highlighted a project by Tomás Saraceno’s called On Space Time Foam. There we were excited about how this experience allows for perhaps the closest opportunity for visitors to feel what it might be like to be inside a piece of foam. In addition, we mentioned how, very often, in creating experiences about astronomy and space, the science museum/center field does not embrace the larger-scale experiences that might provide more emotional and visceral responses.
Well,Tomás has a new work that once again demonstrates this idea. Opening today at the K21 Ständhaus (kunstsammlung nordrhein-westfalen) in Düsseldorf is his new work “In Orbit.”
Just looking at these images sparks the idea of allowing brave visitors the chance to walk out in the piazza, over 60 feet in the air, and experience what it might be like to be immersed in some of those classic images from science fiction film where the view swoops by planets or orbs. In addition, Tomás mentions that one can detect other visitors by sensing vibrations that propagate through the netting.
One wonders if one could riff on this idea and actually make a model of the solar system that visitors could float above, allowing them to potentially “travel” between our planet and our nearest neighbors. Perhaps this is the closest many of us will get to fulfilling a dream we might have of going into space.
So, summer has arrived here on the northern part of our planet, and this week’s inspiration focuses on experiences that “break the rules. ’’ Here, we explore ideas that allow participants to step outside their normal “roles” or be part of activities not normally open to public participation. The summer connection is that, at times, these activities take us outdoors. First, let’s look at breaking new ground in the participant’s role. Instant Art Career is a new piece at the Katowice Street Art Festival by the artists niklas roy and kati hyyppä
In this experience, participants stand outside and create a painting using a series of ropes with pulleys attached to a CNC machine. This set-up allows the movement of the ropes and pulleys to define colors and paint locations. As the website shows, many of these works are created by multiple participants. The second experience challenges our location expectations. While not a typical museum, the new Hot Tub Cinema looks like a lot of fun!
This is an unexpected opportunity to share the experience of watching a film and becoming part of a public party. Looking at the pictures, it’s hard not to want to just “dive” (pardon the pun) into these events. These very engaging examples point to some interesting tools we should keep in our quivers as we design experiences:
- “Breaking the rules” is inherently engaging, whether it be something not normally done publically or as a group, or where we take on roles
- Outdoor experiences offer opportunities for group participation and for creating experiences that are greater than the sum of their parts
So, might we take the idea of an instant hot tub party and create an instant science party? Or might we adapt the creative role-play of the painting activity to a science experience? How can you envision using these ideas? Let’s all go outside and break some rules!
This piece done in Linz, Austria allowed experiencers to get the view of feeling of walking amongst the clouds that might fill the sky. The installation uses high pressure pumps and fog nozzles. What a special experience this might be to have as part of an institution from a aviation museum, children’s museum to an exhibition on weather, birds or even dreaming.
The second piece is “fluff” an interactive lighting system from the Japanese design studio tangent.
This interactive lighting display made from balloons (1.1 meters in diameter) and LEDs changes its appearance according to sound and video displays. What immediately came to mind was to use this to create the feeling of being beneath the waves surrounded by “jellies” or as an evocative space to discuss the idea of different forms of life such as what might evolve on a gas giant.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our field’s exhibition spaces would focus as much on this type of inspiration as they often do on curricula or education.
Often science centers and other museums look to engage people about how to understand different aspects of phenomena in three dimensional space on two dimensional displays (screens, graphics etc.).
What we often do not do is represent the three dimensional space in actual 3D space, allowing us to present the phenomena’s behavior in more powerful ways.
But since we are three dimensional creatures possibly this is the best way to understand or appreciate 3d space and what occurs there – seen or unseen.
Here are two examples that certainly one can riff on that made us think about this. The first is FLUIDIC by WHITEvoid.
Using 12,000 suspended spheres, a camera that senses the viewer and eight high speed lasers it creates an almost magical experience. We believe that being illuminated by laser light adds something special. Certainly a concept programmed to both enchant but to do so mimicking certain scientific phenomena could be impactful. By the way want to see this in person? Go to the Temporary Museum for New Design in Milan where it will be on display through April 14th.
This piece includes 8,064 spheres and LED lit. It too responds to visitors. This time though it’s possible to enter the space. Imagine explaining crystal structure, data movement or some other unseen movement through 3D space. You can see this at the Gallery ROM for Art and Architecture in Oslo, Norway
Often we fixate the on screens as the visual way to present information. What we may need to do more of is dedicate more space and create 3D spaces to represent 3D phenomena. We feel this creates an experience and opportunity that in fact is more powerful that what we have normally done.
If you know of more examples send them to us here on the blog.