Bat-art of the day: The Dark T-Rex Rises
In honor of The Dark Knight Rises, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh dressed up their beloved T-rex in a bat-cape and cowl. Surprise movie villain? SH*T YEAH.
A little bit of light-heartedness this morning, as I catch up on much grimmer news from around the country. More museums should be willing to play with pop culture like this (cf. the faux-Smithsonian ‘Historically Hardcore’ spoofs, which they totally should have adopted on the spot).
I want to understand the reality of the impact that having interactive interpretation can have within a museum – it’s all very well saying that it is useful for engaging audiences but what I want to know is how does it do this and are all museums and visitors a fan? When I talk about ‘new media’, my mind is mainly focusing on, touch screens, videos, computer generated games – things that focus on a screen, I know that ‘new media’ can contribute to many factors of a museum and is a much wider scope than what I have described, but for now I shall focus on those. […]
Thought-provoking post. I’m certainly against incorporating interactives and technology in museum galleries Just Because (excepting, of course, trials and pilot programmes where sometimes the entire point is simply to see what happens). However, I think it’s also important to remember that not every interactive has to do everything. To take the example of the ‘God’s Top Trumps’ game, whether or not it’s effective depends on what you expect it to accomplish. If you want it to give visitors a nuanced and contextualised introduction to ancient religions, then no, it definitely fails on that count. But if all you want is for younger visitors to come away knowing a little more about the variety of different gods worshipped in the ancient Mediterranean, and how those gods were adopted and reinvented by different civilisations? Then it probably does a pretty decent job.
Likewise, not only do interactives not have to do everything, they don’t even necessarily have to do the same thing for the same people. For example, while a visual learner might be perfectly happy to wander through an exhibit, look at the displays and read the labels and learn plenty, and might find interactives intrusive, a kinesthetic learner or problem-solver might get a lot more from being able to engage with the same content through a game-based setting.
There are always going to be issues around integrating ‘new media’, and balancing the tension between showcasing your objects and trying to make sure everyone gets the most out of what you have to offer in the way that works best for them. To my mind, the key to interactives is the same as for any of the shiny new toys of the digital age - social media, virtual content, et cetera. It’s about knowing exactly what it is you want to accomplish by using them, and why. If you’re not scrupulous in asking those questions and clear about your answers, you run the risk of winding up with something sitting in the gallery (or on the website, or etc. etc.), serving no real purpose or even distracting from your exhibit, simply because someone thought it would be cool.
Art Institute of Chicago Museum, Chicago: Designed by the Osaka-born internationally renowned architect, Tadao Ando, this particular gallery of the Art Institute of Chicago Museum evokes quietude upon the visitor and an all-round sensory appreciation of Japanese art. The architect’s usage of soft lighting and macro photographs focusing on the intricacies of the artworks displayed in a traditional Japanese atmosphere merging into a contemporary setting makes this gallery one worth a visit.
What an absolutely breathtaking way of showcasing objects. I can’t decide what aspect I like best: the lighting, the wonderfully architectural look of the vessels placed atop the pedestals, or the fact that the close-up images are displayed as art in their own right, rather than simply as part of the object labels. Resonance and wonder, indeed.