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    • INTRODUCTION 3MOTIVATION 5NARRATOLOGY & SEMIOTICS 7PRELIMINARY RESEARCH 10RESEARCH QUESTION 14CHAPTER OUTLINE 151 THEORETICAL FRAME 161.1 A CROSS SECTION OF CROSSMEDIA 161.2 MUSEUMS AS NARRATIVE CROSSMEDIA SPACES 221.1 NARRATIVE: A COGNITIVE CONSTRUCT 242 CASE STUDY DESCRIPTION 292.1 ABORIGINAL ART MUSEUM 292.2 UTRECHT ARCHIVE 352.3 RAILWAY MUSEUM 433 CASE STUDY ANALYSES 533.1 NARRATIVE STRUCTURE 553.2 LAYERS OF CONTENT 603.3 NARRATIVE PROCESSES 634 DISCUSSION 674.1 EXHIBITION STRUCTURES 674.2 LEVELS OF NARRATIVITY 704.3 INTERACTION PROCESSES 754.4 FROM DESCRIPTION TO PRESCRIPTION 77CONCLUSION 82ARGUMENTATION 82RESEARCH QUESTION 83OUTCOMES 84FURTHER RESEARCH 86 1
    • LITERATURE 88WEBSITES 89ILLUSTRATIONS 90APPENDIX 1APPENDIX 2 2
    • INTRODUCTION In April 1938, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam opened its doors to an exhibition that was simply called Abstract Art. This exhibition was curated by Willem Sandberg, the future managing director of the museum from 1945 until 1962. Mart Stam designed the exhibition. According to Sandberg and Stam, art did not need a textual explanation. A view that is still used in museums today, but is often regarded as somewhat elitist. The current trend is towards inclusion of target groups that are less experienced in viewing art. For those visitors, textual explanation on the works of art and the artist, adds to the experience of a visit. Sandberg and Stam designed their exhibition without such explanatory additions. Instead, they used the museum space as a meaningful medium. By placing the objects in certain relations to one another, the objects explained themselves.1 And so the media used to create this exhibition, were the paintings, the small labels stating the title of the work and the name of the artist and finally but perhaps most importantly the museum space. James Bradburne described Sandberg’s views as follows: ‘Willem Sandburg(...) pioneered unjustified text (...), which he believed challenged convention and had important social overtones. Sandburg was among the first to recognize the importance of the visitor’s as well as the museum’s voice, and to argue that they consist of a dialogue, and not a ‘top-down’ lecture. Along with Marshall Mcluhan, Sandburg was among the first to champion the ways in 1 J. Leering (1991) p. 53-54 3
    • which the museum had to transform itself – long before the technology was able to do so.’2In 1952, fourteen years after the Abstract Art exhibition, Sandberginstalled one of the world’s first audio tours to accompany visitsto the Stedelijk Museum. His views seem to have changed morein favour of adding explanation to exhibitions. Judging by thequote above, the texts on the audio tours will have had amotivating nature, pressing the visitor to look at the objects andform an opinion of their own. A technique that is still used today,in the guided tours that the Stedelijk Museum organizes. Apartfrom keeping Sandberg’s dialogue with the audience alive, theStedelijk Museum has also remained innovative. They are apioneer in the field of media usage in museums. For, as Sandbergforesaw, museums have to keep transforming themselves. Newmedia generate new possibilities. And it is one of thesepossibilities that form the centre of this research: the concept ofcrossmedia storytelling.The digital age brings more advanced possibilities for addinginformation to an exhibition. It creates a whole new dimension ofcommunication and education. This evolution also has an effecton how exhibitions are designed. The underlying structure ofexhibitions has become more complex. The curator does not onlyplace objects in a meaningful order but also decides where andhow additional information is needed and in what medium thisis provided. This research is aimed at providing more insight inthis underlying grammar of crossmedia narrations in the galleryin space.2 J. Bradburne (2008) p. x 4
    • MOTIVATION The topic of this thesis came to me while taking the MA course Crossmedia Storytelling, which is part of the Master program Comparative Arts and Media Studies at the VU University in Amsterdam. During the course we studied crossmedia products such as the TV series Lost and the Matrix film sequence. We also got familiar with new media theory. What struck me was that this course was mainly focussed on new media and marketing. To me however, crossmedia storytelling is not something that is defined by an era: the digital age, or a purpose: marketing. Instead of analysing a television series, we can also study a renaissance church in Italy as a crossmedia concept, by taking into account the architecture, the paintings, the sculptures, the rituals, the music and the people that are all celebrating and adding to the same theological narrative. And apart from being used as a marketing tool, crossmedia concepts can be used for other purposes, such as education, too. In chapter one this extended view on crossmedia storytelling will be explained and supported by a theoretical frame. My views on crossmedia storytelling made me experience museum exhibitions in another way. Although it’s possible to look at each object in an exhibition separately, the museum creates another layer of meaning by putting them together. This Meta level is not only shaped by the choice of objects, but is also expressed through architecture, the use of staging, exhibition texts and new media such as audio tours, social media and films. Museums combine these media to create broad, thematic concepts. Both old and new media are put to use and museums 5
    • use this for the purpose of marketing, communication andeducation. The gallery space becomes a crossmedia narrative.Other researchers have taken up the idea of museums ascrossmedia platforms as well. This thesis is written incollaboration with the Crossmedialab, a centre for appliedresearch in Utrecht. The lab has recently started a project oncrossmedia in a museological. The project is calledMuseumkompas and will run for two years. Its aim is formulatedas follows: ...to support professionals working in museums in developing new and robust crossmedia services. These professionals are increasingly faced with changing expectations of the public, the increasing influence of digitalization on the development of public services, and the growing need for acquiring additional funding because government funding is not guaranteed anymore. Heads of collections, curators, managers education and presentation, project managers and staff members new media must try to withstand these developments. More so: they must embrace and shape them.3Harry van Vliet, the managing director and founder of theCrossmedialab, has agreed to take on an advisory role in thewriting process for this thesis. These insights from theperspective of applied research will hopefully challenge andsharpen the theoretical analysis presented here.3 From the crossmedialab website:www.crossmedialab.nl/work/project/26/museumkompas 6
    • NARRATOLOGY & SEMIOTICS During this research three case study exhibitions are analysed on their narrative merits. Before going into how the case study selection has taken place and what method will be used to analyse these cases, the basic principles and lexicon to talk about the structure of crossmedia storytelling on a conceptual level are introduced. The two fields of study that are described here, narratology and semiotics, form the foundations of the theories that will be presented in chapter one. Narratology, the field of study that specializes in storytelling, has changed recently under the influence of technological advancement. Traditionally narratologists were literary scholars, who focused on questions regarding the storyline of a novel. Now, film and new media scholars produce work on this topic as well. Narratology has become an interdisciplinary study and this has affected the definition of what storytelling is. In the introduction to ‘Narrativity across media’ (2004) Marie- Laure Ryan, a narratologist who focuses on storytelling through new media, defines a narrative by the following three requirements: • A narrative text must create a world and populate it with characters and objects (…). • The world referred to by the text must undergo changes of state that are caused by non-habitual physical events (…). • The text must allow the reconstruction of an interpretive network of goals, plans, causal relations, and psychological motivations around the narrated events (…).4 4 Ryan, M. (2004), p. 8-9 7
    • These requirements are medium-independent. According toRyan narrativity can take shape in both verbal and non-verbalmedia.5 Although she does admit that each medium has its ownnarrative qualities and that ‘of all semiotic codes language is thebest suited to storytelling.’6 For a crossmedia product this meansthat special attention should be given to what information isaddressed through which medium. According to Ryan somemedia have the properties to express a narrative while others onlyhave a certain amount of narrativity.7 This is an argument thatshall resurface in the first chapter, during the theoretical, in-depth discussion on crossmedia concepting and narrativity.Ryan starts her introduction by mentioning the different terms inwhich narrative has been researched thus far; the existential, thecognitive, the aesthetic, the sociological and the technical.8 Thearticles in her book reflect this diversity of perspectives. For thepurpose at hand: researching the storyline of an exhibition incombination with the media usage, the cognitive approach hasbeen selected. Because ultimately Ryan concludes that narrativeis ‘a cognitive construct or mental image, built by the interpreterin response to text.’9 So the form of the text, its medium, and thecontent are connected in the mind of the beholder. The visitor ofan exhibition brings the story together.The triangular relation between medium, message andinterpreter forms the core idea of Charles Sanders Peirce’5 Ibid, p. 156 Ibid, p. 107 Ibid, p. 98 Ibid, p. 29 Ibid, p. 8 8
    • semiotic theory, which was published between 1931 and 1936. His work is recorded in eight volumes of collected papers.10 Figure 1 shows the Peircean semiotic model. Apart from this model Peirce’ also made a well-known and often used classification of signs. According to him there are three types of signs that are defined by their relation to the object they refer to. The first type of sign is the iconic sign. An iconic sign refers to its object in a mimetic, direct way. An example of an icon is a portrait. The painting refers to its sitter through a direct physical resemblance. The second type of sign is the index. Indexical signs share either a partly physical resemblance or a cause and effect relation with the object. A road map is an example of a sign, which only partly shares physical trades with the object it refers to. Other indexes are footprints in the sand that refer to the person that once stood there or smoke coming from a chimney, indicating the fire burning in the hearth. The third and last types of signs are symbols. Symbols do not relate to the objects, they are arbitrary. Language systems are the most symbolic sign systems. Throughout the theoretical discussion in chapter one the Peircean model and sign classification forms the basis for new cognitive theories on media. Fig. 1Charles Sanders Peirce‘ semiotic model 10 Peirce, C.S. (1931-1936), p. 49-58 9
    • The cognitive theory on narrativity, placed at the centre of this research, is by Jerome Bruner. A cognitive psychologist, who published his book called Acts of Meaning, in 1990. In this academic work he states that human beings generate narratives continuously.11 According to him narrativity forms and structures the reality people experience around them. He says that humans give meaning to their actions and experiences through an interpretative mechanism. He describes this system as ‘patterns inherent in the culture’s symbolic systems - its language and discourse modes, the forms of logical and narrative explication, and the patterns of mutually dependent communal life.’12 This cognitive approach is highly relevant within the context of museums as narrative spaces. Because, following up on Bruner’s theory, when people experience an exhibition space they impose these symbolic patterns upon the display. In 1991 Bruner adds to this theory by publishing an article called The Narrative Construction of Reality,13 in which he sums up what he calls the ten features of narrative. My preliminary research and review on the literature surrounding this topic leads to the following research question.PRELIMINARY RESEARCH A preliminary research was used to find a relevant and meaningful angle to the topic of crossmedia museum exhibitions. The preliminary research design was not only aimed at finding a perspective on the topic, but also at the selection of 11 Bruner, J. (1990), p.34 12 Ibid, p.34 13 Bruner, J. (1991) 10
    • relevant case studies. To make the selection of case studies lessbiased a specified area was delineated: the city of Utrecht. Allthe official museums in this area were part of the preliminaryscope, which created a very diverse selection. The followingthirteen museums in Utrecht were analysed at this stage.- Aboriginal Art Museum (appendix 1.1)- Centraal Museum (appendix 1.2)- Money Museum (appendix 1.3)- Dick Bruna House (appendix 1.4)- Dom Tower (appendix 1.5)- Utrecht Archive (appendix 1.6)- Museum Saint Catherine’s Convent (appendix 1.7)- Museum Speelklok (appendix 1.8)- Sonnenborgh Observatory Museum (appendix 1.9)- Dutch National Railway Museum (appendix 1.10)- University Museum Utrecht (appendix 1.11)- Wijk C working-class museum (appendix 1.12)- Museum Maluku (appendix 1.13)An inventory was made for each of these museums. Theseinventories, to which the appendix numbers refer, contain adescription of the core content the museum wants to bring acrossand list the media types that are used by the museums tocommunicate with their visitors.14 These media were categorizedby using Robert Semper’s museum media chart as explained inhis study Designing Hybrid Environments: Integrating Media intoExhibition Space (1998) (fig. 2).15 Semper’s model shows theamount of interactivity that the medium allows in that specific14 See: appendix 1 for the thirteen preliminary inventories.15 Semper, R. (1998), p. 119-127 11
    • context and specifies which role these media play within the exhibition. Fig. 2Robert Semper’s museum media chart A medium within Semper’s theory is regarded as a technological device. Because crossmedia concepts do not only make use of digital media, the analogue media that were encountered were also placed in Semper’s model. Analogue media used in the museums were labels, texts on the wall or on a room-sheet, a hands-on spot and guided tours; in some cases the architecture and design of the exhibit played a crucial role as well. In the museums in Utrecht the following media types were used: audio tours and pod catchers, smart phones, video and projections, touch screens, interactive presentations and web based media such as social media. This preliminary research gave two important insights that ultimately led to the research question for this study. First of all it turned out that the media used in these exhibitions are hard to 12
    • compare to one another. Some devices can be used in a singleway, whilst others are more flexible. A hands-on table is used tosignify objects that can be touched by the visitor. This creates aninteraction between the visitor and the collection in anothermodality: touch. Other media, such as the pod catcher, can beused in more than one way. The pod catcher can function as anaudio guide, but also has the option to read out a quiz. Thevisitor is then able to press the A, B or C button to answer thequestions. Media that can take on different medium specifictraits complicate the categorization process. Viewing media as atype of device or object does not account for the wide array ofmedia possibilities. The device type is part of the mediumcontext instead of being the medium itself. Semper researches thecontext of a medium and how a visitor is able to respond to it.This is very useful when studying a crossmedia concept. It placesa single medium in the context of a larger plan. However, thiscannot lead to a prediction of how a medium will function inanother context. It does not profile the medium specificity itself.Second of all, and for this research more importantly, Semper’smodel is unable to account for the relation between content andstructure. In order to research crossmediality the relationbetween content, media type and structure is very important. Ina crossmedia platform the content of several media combine intoa storyline. Each medium adds something new to the story in itsown specific way. And all these media are placed in a certainorder. During the case study analyses this relevance betweenstoryline, medium specificity, structural ordering will beaddressed. 13
    • RESEARCH QUESTION How can Bruner’s ten narrative features aid in creating a model, of the structure underlying the narrativity in the crossmedia concepts, museums in Utrecht have to offer? Finding a common structure between crossmedia products is a daunting task. Not only because of the diversity and multi functionality of the media used, as was addressed in the section on narrativity and semiotics, but also because the content of crossmedia are so diverse. This is no different when limiting the scope to museum concepts alone. Bruner’s narrative features label the different tools and materials that are necessary to form a storyline. By analysing the presence and relations between these features in the case studies, a comparison can be made. This comparison hopefully leads to a number of connections between features, and perhaps other structural elements, these case studies have in common. Because it was impossible to look at all the museums in Utrecht at the same time, three case studies were selected. These case studies represent three ways of dealing with a crossmedia exhibition. Because the aim is to compare between very diverse concepts, the case studies are deliberately chosen to challenge the method to the fullest. The selection consists out of the following three cases: the Aboriginal Art Museum, the Utrecht Archive and the Railway Museum. 14
    • CHAPTER OUTLINE Before describing these case studies in detail, the theoretical frame will be presented in the next chapter. The theoretical frame will contain in-depth discussions on crossmedia, narrativity in museums and of course on narratology in general and Bruner’s psychological theory specifically. Chapter two will then describe each case study in detail in by using both imagery and words. After this, chapter three will provide analyses of the application of Bruner’s features in the three case studies. These analyses will amount into a discussion in chapter four. This is where the relations between the structural elements that are described in the previous chapters will be debated and visualized. The research will come full circle in the conclusion, which answers the research question. 15
    • 1 THEORETICAL FRAME1.1 A CROSS SECTION OF CROSSMEDIA This section will answer two important questions: What is the role of narrativity within a crossmedia concept? And when is an exhibition a crossmedia concept? In order to define crossmedia and the role of narrativity in such concepts, it is necessary to introduce two key concepts right away. In Basisboek Crossmedia Concepting (2009) Indira Reynaert, proposes that there are two types of concepts the term crossmedia can refer to.16 Reynaert proposes a distinction between the transmedial, or autonomous concept (fig. 3) and the dependent or integrated concept (fig. 4). According to her, crossmedia products often incorporate elements from both concept types. The theory of Reynaert forms the general introduction to crossmedia concepting. Let’s take a look at how these two types of crossmedia are defined. Transmedia is a term that is not only used by Reynaert. In fact is Convergence Culture (2006) by Henry Jenkins that has become the standard work on the transmedial concept and on crossmedia in general.17 Jenkins defines transmedia by the use of a multitude of media that function independent of one another, but cover the same concept.18 Each medium is an elaboration on the narrative 16 I. Reynaert (2009), p. 61-62 17 H. Jenkins (2006), p. 93 18 Ibid, p.93 16
    • that is broadcasted. Jenkins’ example of this concept is the Matrixtrilogy (1999, 2003 & 2003).19The story of the Matrix was not only told by the trilogy of films,but the narrative was extended by using other media such as theAnimatrix20 The Animatrix is a series of nine anime films thatfeatured additional Matrix stories. And so each animationelaborates on the story of the Matrix trilogy. The video gamesalso added to the grant narrative by letting the gamers play outadditional subplots. By using more than one medium theproducer can tell a more elaborate story. But Jenkins doubts thatthis is an advantage of transmedial storytelling. In his opinionthe Matrix narrative has become too dense and complex. Theusers are unable to keep up with all the subplots that are added.This affects the user friendliness in a negative way.So why do producers use transmedial storytelling? From acommercial point of view this is very understandable.Transmedial storytelling ensures the producer, that new targetgroups become familiar with the story. Gamers, who might notgo to cinemas often, are introduced to the same narrative conceptas film lovers and vice versa. This means users are able tounravel the story through the media types they feel mostcomfortable with. And if they are so hooked on the story thatthey want to know more, they can start exploring other media aswell.19 The trilogy sequence contains The Matrix (1999), The Matrix Reloaded (2003) andThe Matrix Revolutions20 The Animatrix film The Second Renaissance (2003) featured on the DVD of the firstMatrix film. 17
    • Fig. 3 (left)Reynaert’s transmedial concept Fig. 4 (right) Reynaert’s integrated concept The second type of crossmediality Reynaert defines is the integrated concept. This type of crossmedia concepting is defined by one plot that is broadcasted through a multitude of media channels. Each medium has its own medium specific traits. In a media concept these traits can either be regarded as strength or weakness. An integrated crossmedia concept aims at putting media together that bring out each others’ strengths and block out each other’s weaknesses. By doing this each part of the story is brought across in the medium most fitting and this makes the story more powerful. Both types of crossmedia concepts, integrated and transmedia, share the idea of using more than one medium to bring the story across. The difference is that in a transmedia concept the different media can be experienced separately. The media in an integrated concept cannot be taken in individually. The user then needs all the media input to generate the storyline. The cross relations between the media within a crossmedia concept form an important part of how these concepts function. Part of the conceptualization of crossmedia is therefore aimed at accounting for the different relation types that are possible 18
    • between media within a crossmedia concept. In other words:How can the ‘cross’ in crossmedia be defined? Two theories oncrossing within crossmedia will be discussed in here. The firsttheory focuses on the level on which the crossing takes place,while in the second theory the relation between the mediacontent is conceptualized.In her article Current State of Cross Media Storytelling: Preliminaryobservations for future design (2004), Christa Dena defines the crossrelations between media by conceptualizing different levels ofcrossing. The highest level of crossing is from one media channelto another media channel. This level of crossing is called a cross-channel relation. An inter-channel relation means that there is aswitch within a channel from the use of one modality to another.The final level of crossing Dena defines is mono medial andmono modal. This relation is called an intra-channel relation.21In order to understand Dena’s levels of crossing, it is importantto know what she considers a channel. According to Dena, achannel is not only the medium used, but also refers to theenvironmental conditions in which this medium is placed. Thismeans that a film in the cinema is considered another channel,than a film seen at home on DVD. To make Dena’s levels evenclearer table 1 is added. This table gives a concrete example forlevel of crossing Dena has proposed.21 C. Dena (2004), p. 3-5 19
    • Cross Crossing between channels From an channel interview on level the TV screen within an exhibition to a room sheet Inter- Crossing within a channel From a radio channel (single-channel), between programme level modes (multimodal) online to a website Intra- single-channel, mono-modal From one film Table 1 channel crossing in the cinemaDena’s cross relation types level: to another film In Idola van de Crossmedia (2008), Harry van Vliet, who has already been mentioned as the founder of the Crossmedialab, has taken another approach. Instead of establishing on what level the cross relation takes place, he has looked at the content relations between the different media used. Van Vliet defines this content relation between the signs, by using the semiotic sign classification by Charles Sanders Peirce that was described in the introduction. When the message of one medium is translated directly into another medium, the medium relation is labelled iconic. When the message directs the user to another medium, the relation is defined as indexical. Sometimes there is no direct relation between the content of the different. But the message in each of the media adds something to an overlapping concept. In this symbolic relation the link between media is made in a covert 20
    • way.22 In table 2 each of these relation types is paired with a concrete example again. Iconic Content is Audio tour text that is also relation translated offered on a room sheet directly from one medium into the other Indexical Content that Television advertising that directs relation directs the user a consumer to the website for to another more info medium Symbolic Content that The Rijksmuseum brand is relation adds to the same brought across through products, Tabel 2 overlapping lectures and a magazine. TheVan Vliet’s cross relation concept in a Rijksmuseum name is the types covert way overlapping concept. The media are only covertly connected to each other These two relation typologies by Dena and van Vliet can be taken into account when creating the visualization between the different narrative elements analysed in chapter four. In the last section of this chapter, Bruner’s features will be introduced. During the description of these features, the insights presented here will be tied to Bruner’s terminology. This terminology will be used throughout the rest of this thesis. 22 H. van Vliet (2008), p. 6 21
    • 1.2 MUSEUMS AS NARRATIVE CROSSMEDIA SPACES ...museum architecture moves from “showing” to “telling” and from classification to narrative.23 In the field of museology, the term crossmedia has not quite settled in yet. Instead, scholars make use of a broad scope of terminology, when referring to crossmedia. Some scholars talk about spaces for multimedial or interactive informal learning.24 Others call exhibitions narrative space.25 Flavia Sparacino is one of these scholars. But before introducing her views on the ‘blending of media design and architectural disciplines’26, a more general introduction on the museologial concept of Space Syntax is presented. Two scholars who have worked on the study of architecture as a narrative feature in museums are Bill Hillier and Kali Tzortzki. Space Syntax they call it, a term derived from the field of civil engineering. Syntax is a term used in linguistics to describe the sets of rules that underlie the structure of phrases. Space Syntax aims to offer a same set of rules to describe the ordering principle behind exhibitions. In their article called ‘Space Syntax: The Language of Museum Space’, published in 2010, these two museologists study how the layout of a museum affects the visitors view and action around objects.27 Hillier has been studying space syntax since his first article on it in 198228 and focuses on the layout of museum spaces. Tzorstki connects the architectural layout to the level of curatorial strategy. In 2003 she 23 B. Hillier & K. Tzortski (2011), p. 293 24 G. Leinhardt et. al. (2002) 25 D. Dernie (2006) 26 F. Sparacino (2002), p. 2 27 B. Hillier & K. Tzortski (2011) 28 B. Hillier et. al. (1982) 22
    • published a study on the spatial arrangement of the SainsburyWing of the National Gallery in London.29 Space Syntax wasalready used by Sandberg and Stam in the thirties and is stillapplied by exhibit designers today. But how is the arrangementof objects, their order, combined with other media in acrossmedia exhibition? Scholars in the field of space syntax donot usually account for the information management.Flavia Sparacino has researched this combination between mediaand spatial context. She calls multimedial exhibitions body-drivennarrative spaces. Sparacino is a researcher for the MassachusettsInstitute of Technology (MIT). In 2004 she published the articleScenographies of the past and museums of the future: from thewunderkammer to body-driven interactive narrative spaces on anexhibition called Puccini Set Designer, a 2003 exhibition by theRagghianti Foundation in Milan. She worked on this exhibitionherself as a multimedia curator.30 The article’s aim was toevaluate the media usage throughout the exhibition. The conceptof medium specificity played an important role in the reasoningbehind the choice of a certain medium. The opera fan corner wasfor example a place where opera lover could listen to opera byPuccini. Instead of using earphones, the choice was made toincorporate audio spotlights. Whereas earphones isolate thevisitor, the audio spotlights enabled the visitor to listen to themusic in a specific spot without internalizing. Other visitorscould enjoy the space around the audio spotlights without beingdisturbed by constant background music, which would havebeen the case with regular audio equipment.29 K. Tzortski (2003)30 F. Sparacino (2004) 23
    • In museology the concept of narrativity is often viewed in the light of spatial ordering. Few scholars have linked these spatial patterns to the other media used in exhibit. However, the meaning that is ascribed to space syntax suggests that the spatial context will have an important effect on the meaning of each medium and the semantic relation between media. As was pointed out in the previous section, ordering principles are the foundation of any crossmedia platform.1.1 NARRATIVE: A COGNITIVE CONSTRUCT A narrative approach can shed new light on crossmedia concepts in museums, by making both form and content of the narrative core comparable. A narrative plot, a concept, is what binds the different media in a crossmedia exhibit together. This narrative creates the core of the visitors’ experience. Therefore, instead of looking at narratives from the perspective of the writer, in this research the perspective of the reader is centralized. This reader perspective is clearly present in the theory by Jerome Bruner, as will become clear in the rest of this section. Jerome Bruner states that human beings generate narratives continuously.31 According to him narrativity forms and structures the reality people experience around them. He says that humans give meaning to their actions and experiences through an interpretative system. He describes this system as ‘patterns inherent in the culture’s symbolic systems - its language and discourse modes, the forms of logical and narrative explication, and the patterns of mutually dependent communal 31 J. Bruner (1990), p.34 24
    • life.’32 Bruner sums up ten features of a narrative. These featuresdifferentiate between narrative and other types of discourse.1. Narrative diachronicityA narrative takes place within a certain time frame. This timeframe is generated by the sequentially of the narrative events. Ina narrative, time can speed up and slow down. Theconceptualized ‘imaginary’ time is different from the time framein which the story is read or experienced.2. GenericnessEach narrative is both generic and particular. The genericness ofa narrative is created by the endless appropriation of specificnarrative types. The tragic love story is an example; two peoplein love who cannot be together for some reason, define this typeof narrative.3. Intentional state entailmentIn a narrative the characters have certain beliefs, desires, theoriesand values. The receiver of a narrative takes these into accountwhen interpreting the story.4. Hermeneutic composabilityIt is the reader who interprets a narrative. And this reader has alimited amount of life experience. This influences how he or sheattributes the intentions of the characters and to what extent thedetails within a story are understood.32 J. Bruner (1990), p.34 25
    • 5. Canonicity and breachRyan states that a narrative needs ‘a change of state by non-habitual events’.33 This idea corresponds to Bruner’s canonicityand breach. The canon is a fixed state that is interrupted by abreach. A narrative can start by a description of everyday life in acertain city. All of a sudden something happens that breaks thepattern. This structure is recognizable in the following sentence: Iwas walking through the park, when suddenly....6. ReferentialityA writer uses known places and people as a reference. Evenfantasy novels use certain references. For example, vampirenovels often refer back to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, which wasinspired by the knowledge of historic superstitions.7. ParticularityThis is the opposite of genericness. The generic part of anarrative is filled up with specific data. This is why the story ofRomeo & Juliet is different from West Side Story. Although bothdeal with a tragic love affair, the specifics of each story makethem different.8. NormativenessBecause a breach takes place in a story, there is also a norm. Thecanon is not only a fixed state; it also creates an expectation onhow a character should behave.33 M. Ryan (2004), p.9 26
    • 9. Context sensitivity and negotiabilityWhen we listen to a story we take the context into account, forinstance how knowledgeable the storyteller is. We also take ourown knowledge on the topic into account. Narrativity allows fora certain margin of error so to speak.10. Narrative accrualWe construct narratives out of a large amount of data anddifferent versions of a certain narrative. In a crossmedia story thereader creates this accrual. All the media elements accumulate toa core narrative.Some narrative spaces possess more narrativity than others. Butthe visitors will always experience their visit through a cognitiveconstruct that imposes narrativity onto reality. They will addtheir interpretative system onto the experience of an exhibition,creating a personal narrative. Museums have started recognizingthis role of the visitor. Apart from core tasks such as collectingand conserving, most museums have now treaded in thefootsteps of Sandberg and started a dialogue with their visitors.This enables visitors to actively interact with the crossmediaexhibitions that are on display.The museum still plays a key role in the construction of narrativespace. Let’s not forget that visiting an exhibition is not anexperience of reality. By using space syntax and by addingaddition mediated information and narrative, the museumshapes the experience of the visitor. The visitor and the museuminstitute work together in creating personal narratives. In theprevious paragraphs the tools and materials these two partieshave at their disposal were presented. 27
    • Bruner states in Acts of Meaning (1990) that the function of thecognitive structure human beings is ‘interpretive of “life inaction”.’ He continues by saying that it is then ‘a very complexform of what C. S. Peirce long ago called the “interpretant”, asymbolic schema for mediating between sign and ”world”. Thislink between Bruner and Peirce is an important one. Whenlooking at the features, Bruner describes narrative as a complexPeircean sign. An interpretant, a sender and objects construct thissign. The interpretant, according to Bruner, mediates betweenthe sign and the world, between the narrative and reality. In amuseum it is the visitor who fulfils this role. The visitors createlinks between the exhibition and their lives outside of themuseological setting. Other features are descriptive for the roleof the sender and the objects. Genericness is a feature that isrelated to the objects and the order in which they are placed. Thesender, who in this case is the museum, applies the normativeness.In the chapters three, four and five, Bruner’s features will beapplied on the three case studies. The roles of the differentparties that aid in the creation of a narrative shall be addressedthere too, for perhaps not all features are always distributed inthe same way. 28
    • 2 CASE STUDY DESCRIPTION The case studies that have been selected are: the Railway Museum, the Aboriginal Art Museum and the Utrecht Archive. All three museums are relatively new. The Aboriginal Art Museum opened in March 2001, the Railway Museum reopened its doors in 2005 and the Utrecht Archive exhibition has now been presented for three years. This chapter will provide the reader with a textual and visual representation of these case studies.2.1 ABORIGINAL ART MUSEUM The Aboriginal Art Museum shows both a temporary and a permanent collection of Aboriginal art. Aboriginal art is contemporary art, made by Aboriginal communities in Australia. The aboriginals produce this contemporary art form for the Western market. The first examples of modern Aboriginal art date back to the beginning of the 1970’s. It became a new way of communicating the traditions. The language of abstract shapes used in these works, is a mixture of Western and Aboriginal symbolism. By selling these products to the West, Aboriginal communities gain the income to maintain their traditions. The current exhibition at the Aboriginal Art Museum is called: Be my guest. For the 10-year anniversary of the museum, ten guest curators were invited to select two artworks: one work by an Aboriginal artist and another work by a contemporary artist with a different background. With this exhibition, the museum aims to show that Aboriginal art is not merely anthropological, but a full- 29
    • fledged contemporary art form. The exhibition also shows theparallels between cultures and art forms.34The following media are used in combination with the works ofart. Each guest curator has produced an article on their own partof the exhibit, the two works each picked. This article is publishedin the catalogue of the exhibition. Each dialogue between artworks is accompanied by several texts on room sheets. These textsinclude the article by the guest curator as well as generalinformation on the artists on display. In addition, the visitorreceives a small booklet when entering the museum. This bookletshows the floor plan (fig. 5) and a concise, one page text, aboutthe choices of each curator. Short interviews shown are shown ona TV screen. This allows the curators to explain the choices theyhave made. One can find this television screen next to the pair ofworks in room no. 8 on the floor plan (fig. 5). Last but not least,the visitor can purchase an audio tour. Each section, or eachcurator, is accompanied by one, two and sometimes three entrieson the tour. The entries are all between one and two minutes longand two entries feature introductory music (no. 4 and 10 on theexhibition plan in fig. 5). 34 These two aims were expressed by the curator of the Aboriginal Art Museum th Georges Petitjean in an interview on October 5 2011 30
    • Fig. 5 Floor plan of the Be My Guest exhibition(Aboriginal Art Museum) The routing of the exhibition is made clear by the numbering on the floor plan. After buying a ticket, the visitors are encouraged to visit the second floor first. This floor shows the permanent exhibition. This collection contextualizes the temporary exhibition. One can also choose an alternative routing through the exhibition, because each segment of the narrative on display, each dialogue between artworks, is shown in a separate space and can be appreciated without knowledge of the other segments. Each segment features the same contextualization of audio tour, interview and written text. Two segments have been selected to showcase the relationship between the media used. 31
    • The first dialogue that will be described is by guest curator Maria Roosen and is indicated as no. 4 on the floor plan (fig. 5). Roosen has selected an Aboriginal object that is called an Ilma (fig. 6). Ilma’s are rare, ritual objects, used in dance ceremonies. Roy Wiggan is a Bardi elder, a community situated in the Kimberley region in Western Australia. Wiggan still produces ilma’s, a craft that was passed on to him by his ancestors. This highly traditional Aboriginal object is brought in relation with a modern Dutch carpet by Hester Oerlemans (fig. 7). The symbols on the carpet are icons used on computers. These are multiplied and organised in abstract shapes. Take for example the on/off icons in the right bottom corner of the picture in figure 9. These four orange symbols are arranged in a way that creates a new shape, a sort of formalised flower with four petals. Fig. 6 (left)Ilma (1997) by Roy Wiggan Fig. 7 (right)Draft for a work called The Magic Carpet (2011) by Hester Oerlemans The article in the catalogue points out that Roossen connects these two works through several relations. Oerlemans is a craftsman who makes her work in public places. Apart from this parallel in the process of making art, both works deal with communication35. 35 Aboriginal Art Museum (2011), p. 40 32
    • Aboriginal art is known to communicate in different layers.Although we can see the physical representation of symbols, andwe sometimes know what these symbols mean separately, thearrangement of symbols tells a specific story. This story is hiddenbetween the ‘words’ so to speak. This same quality is present inOerlemans’ work. By arranging the symbols in this way, theirmeaning becomes more than the sum of its parts.The communication surrounding these two objects is layered aswell. The audio tour adds a soundtrack into the mix. Thissoundtrack is by Kraftwerk, a techno pop band that relates to thecomputer language on the carpet. The audio tour continues with ageneral introduction to the two works of art on display. Thenarrator tells us that Oerlemans recognizes the relation betweenher work and the Aboriginal work as well, and that she isconsidering a donation of the carpet to an Aboriginal community.This view by Oerlemans is only expressed on the audio tour. Thetexts do not mention her opinion, only her work. However, thecatalogues article quotes Maria Roossen. Each text surroundingthe object expresses new clues about the works of art, the artistsand the curator who picked them. Each text overlaps the other,but shares information from other points of view.The other dialogue addressed here is indicated by no. 7 (fig 5).Aboriginals have a spiritual connection with their surroundings.Each year they travel the same routes and carry out the samerituals. This connection to the land is also present in the musicalculture. So-called songlines are ritual songs that translate thephysical journey in song lyrics. In the exhibition a recording of asongline is played. Its sounds increase while approaching thealcove labelled no. 7. In the no. 7 photography is shown on thewall. Pictures of Utrecht are combined with pictures of Australian 33
    • landscapes and Aboriginal people. The songline is the Aboriginalwork. But what dialogue is being expressed here? The curator ofthis part of the exhibition is Arjan Dunnewind, the generaldirector at Impakt, a Media Arts Organisation. Multimedia artistsMarc Tuters and Ricarda Franzen have made a ritualised tourthrough the centre of Utrecht using GPS technology. Visitors arestimulated to download an app on their smartphone and continuetheir visit outside the museum walls. The app guides them toplaces with special meaning to inhabitants of Utrecht. The localsshare their memories through recordings and the visitorencounters visual clues along the way. During the tour the visitoruses all his senses and really experiences the environment that isdiscussed on the recordings. As the software knows the GPSlocation of the visitor, it can offer the right content at the righttime. The visitors do not have to start the audio clips themselves.By participating in this new media artwork the visitors are able toexperience their environment in a symbolic way, like theaboriginals do in their songlines.The narrative concept of this exhibition revolves around theartworks, the objects on display. When we enter the museumspace this is what we focus on. The artworks are hung in ameaningful way. This is what Sandberg called a functional way ofhanging. Although the art can tell the stories on its own, extrainformation is added. All texts are an addition to the narrativityof the space and objects. The visitor can access this information inthe surroundings of the artwork. After the exhibition the visitorcan take a part of this information home as well, by buying thecatalogue. 34
    • 2.2 UTRECHT ARCHIVE The Utrecht Archive shows a temporary and a permanent exhibition. The analysis given here is about the permanent exhibition. There are two narratives that are told in the archive. The first narrative is about the building. The old walls of the monastery that once stood there, called St. Paul’s Abbey, have been uncovered. And the usage as a court of law is shown in the prison cells that are shown. The second narrative uncovers how visitors are able to use the archive. By gathering archive material and making a newspaper, visitors get an idea of what it’s like to research documents. These two narratives are mixed together. In the next paragraphs the different story elements will be discussed. Fig. 8 (left)Floor plan of the ground floor at the Utrecht Archive Fig. 9 (right) Floor plan of thebasement at the Utrecht Archive The story starts in front of a glass wall in the entrance hall. This wall encapsulates four screens, each in combination with a camera and a scanner (fig. 10). The scanner is for the barcode on the museum ticket. This barcode is the key to the visitor account. The visitor smiles to the camera, enters name and email address and is off to discover the archive. 35
    • Fig. 10 Starting point of theUtrecht Archive exhibition The first room on the right (indicated in dark blue on the map in fig. 8) is the temporary exhibition room. Continuing down the hall the visitor encounters the Auditorium. (Indicated in orange on the map in fig. 8) The auditorium was used, as a refectory when it was still in use as the St. Paul’s Abbey. One of the entrances to this dining hall is still in situ (fig. 11). The room has a more theatrical purpose now. Two films are on show here. In a rapid sequence, the first film shows inhabitants of Utrecht throughout 200 years of history. The second film is presented every whole hour and explains the history of the building. A narrator tells the story. He focuses on stories that give an idea of who wandered through these halls tells the story. It also shows how law changes when governments change. For example in the Second World War the Germans spoke law here too. An interesting fact is that during those years of war the resistance occupied the basements. 36
    • Fig. 11Auditorium of the Utrecht Archive exhibition The basement is where the visitor is going next. The first room downstairs is called ‘Moments’ (fig. 12). The room is rather dark. Within a large glass casing in the centre of the room, objects and projections are on show. But what are these objects? And who are the people that are projected? Fig. 12‘Moments’ at the Utrecht Archive exhibition Surrounding the glass casing are computers with scanner for the barcode on the entrance ticket. By scanning the ticket, the visitor 37
    • gains access to their personal account. Now it is time to browse.The screen shows a ring with two names on it. By clicking on aname the visitor opens a document. The historical person inquestion pops up on the screen and tells something about themoment in history he or she was part of. After this introduction bythe character it is possible to flip through the file by clicking on thetabs for information on ‘the whom’, ‘the what’, ‘the where’, ‘thewhen’ and on what happened elsewhere. There are sixteen files intotal. Each document in each file can be stored on the visitoraccount. These files will be put to use later.This room also forms the entrance for a different storyline: thewine cellar. The wine cellar is a narrow passage that opens u in alarger space (see fig. 13). Stepping onto the stairs going down avoice calls out. It is the ghost of a monk who once worked in thecellar, projected on a screen. He tells us anecdotes about howsome of the monks were not as celibately as they pretended to be.The visitor exits the cellar by continuing down the stairs. Thisroute leads directly back to the room that shows moments in thehistory of Utrecht. After browsing through the files and meetingthe ghost the visitor continues the basement hallway. 38
    • Fig. 13 Wine cellar at the Utrecht Archive exhibition In this hallway street names are shown on touch screens on a wall on the far end of the hall (fig. 14). Pressing a name activates an old picture of that particular street that merges into a current picture taken from the same spot. The exhibition continues behind a set of doors on the left side of the hall. Fig. 14Interactive wall with street names at the Utrecht Archive exhibition Behind the doors is an explanatory text on the wall. It introduces the next part of the exhibition: the prison cells. These are four small rooms with thick doors to close them. Each cell has its own 39
    • theme. Two of these themes will be addressed here. The first cell shows pictures of couples on the wall. It is a white wedding chapel with a TV screens as its centre piece. The words ‘just married’ are illuminated above the screen (see fig. 15 and 16). It is possible to press four buttons. The judge on the television explains that one of the things people used the court for, was to get a divorce. The visitor gets to pick a couple and decide if they are still together or divorced. The judge than tells the couple’s story. The final cell is very dark we see five small screens that show close-ups of a prisoner. A young boy explains how he ended up in his cell. The visitor has a very direct connection to this story because of the surroundings. Imagine what it’s like to be locked up like this boy. This cell triggers a very physical experience. Fig. 15 (left) ‘Just married’ cell at theUtrecht Archive exhibition Fig. 16 (right)Detail of the ‘Just Married’cell at the Utrecht Archive exhibition The room at the end of this hall is called ‘encounters’ and is dedicated to all sorts of people that use the archive in this day and age. The three showrooms this room contains generate its settings (fig. 17 for an example of a show room). Each showroom has a TV as the centre point. On these screens, three couples explain how they made use of the archive and how they went about to find that information. For example, one couple has traced back information 40
    • about their house to renovate it in a more accurate historical way. Another used it to look up information on Morocco. Fig. 17 Showroom in the‘Encounters’ section of the Utrecht Archive exhibition The final three rooms in the basement are all connected to each other. They are located at the opposite side of the hallway. The entrance is right across from the first cell. This room is full of large touch screens with scanners on the right side of each of them. This is the hub of the exhibition, where newspapers are made. On either side of this room is a film room. The film room on the right side shows a boat on the Vecht (fig. 18). The Vecht is Dutch branch of the Rhine that meanders through the province of Utrecht. This boat stops when the visitor presses a button. These stops show short clips, which give an insight of the surroundings of Utrecht and its current and historical inhabitants. One of the stops is Zuylen Castle, home to the famous 18th century female writer, Belle van Zuylen. Her story is shown and told by a narrator who sometimes uses sentences Belle herself has written down. The film room on the other side is a theatre. The visitor can select sixteen 41
    • different film clips that are part of the collection of the archive. And which show Utrecht in black and white moving images. Fig. 18Boat trip at the Utrecht Archive exhibition . But the central room is the “moment supreme” of the visit. A search engine is installed on the computers in the middle of the room. These engines can be used to track down more information on a variety of themes. One of these themes is the big storm that Utrecht endured in 1674. Information regarding this topic can be stored on the visitor account. When the visitor has collected all the data, it’s time to select the items for the newspaper. The program generates a newspaper format and places the selected data in this format. By pressing the publish button in the top-right corner, the paper is sent to the visitor’s email address. The visitor can also choose to print the newspaper A3 size at the service desk of the museum. 42
    • Fig. 19 Newspaper room at theUtrecht Archive exhibition 2.3 RAILWAY MUSEUM The slogan of the Railway museum expresses the aim of the museum well: ‘The Railway Museum, something to experience’. In the Master plan for the renovation in 2001 the museum specified its aim as follows: ‘The Dutch Railway Museum is an attraction based on authenticity, that offers the Modern consumer, education in the form of entertainment on the topic of Railway history in general and the Dutch situation specifically.’36 The layout of the map of the museum is in line with the aim (fig. 20). It looks like something handed out in a theme park. And just like in a theme park different worlds are specified on it. 36 Meurs (2006), p.7 43
    • Fig. 20Floor plan of the Railway Museum The visitor enters the museum through the former Maliebaan Train Station. This old station is very atmospheric. Although the station is freshly painted and is modernized, its decor still takes the visitor back in time (fig. 21 and 22). The first and second-class waiting rooms now function as a museum restaurant. In the hallway old trunks and suitcases are piled up.37 Having explored this area the visitor continues onto the train platform outside (fig. 23). An old royal train is displayed on the tracks. To enter the main building the visitor walks around the train and crosses two pairs of tracks. One track is for the old royal train and the other track is for the modern shuttle train. This shuttle service takes visitors from Utrecht Central station to the museum and back. 37 When peaking inside of these trunks the visitor sees small, filmic projections. 44
    • Fig. 21 Front entrance of theRailway museum: the old Maliebaan Train Station Fig. 22 (left) Decor of the former Maliebaan Train Station Fig. 23 (right) Clock at the platform of the former Maliebaan Train Station After showing the tickets at the main building visitors can start their explorations. The first intake is slightly overwhelming: large, old trains on the left, a cafe opposite of the entrance, and visitors everywhere including on the bridges in-between worlds that give access to the rooms on the second floor. Where to start? Probably, most visitors will begin at world one, indicated by a large number one on the corners of a grey building next to the cafe. While standing in line for world one, headphones and locative media devices are handed out. Visitors enter the world in groups of ten. This is the amount of people that fits in the elevator that will lead 45
    • back in time to the 1800’s. The man on the audio tour speaks Dutch with an English accent and introduces himself as John Middlemiss. When we exit the elevator we are in English mine shaft that leads into a mining village. Middlemiss explains that this is where it all started. This is where the steam engine was invented. Middlemiss explains how it works. After this he tells us that he went to the Netherlands to ride the first Dutch steam engine train called De Arendt (fig. 24). Because it was the first train there were no Dutchmen who knew how to drive it. This locomotive is the most prized object in the museum. It is the centrepiece of world one, a theatrical setting (fig. 25) in which the visitor plays a part as well. The narrator directly cues the visitor by expressions such as: ‘Hey, hold on a minute’ and ‘I’ll see you down at the party just down this street’. After viewing the train, the visitor exits world one. The visitor needs to go through several hallways with 19th century paintings of trains on the walls, to reach the exit. Fig. 24‘De Arendt’ the centrepiece of world 1 of the Railway Museum 46
    • Fig. 25Dutch village scenery in world 1 of the Railway Museum World one is dedicated to the train itself. World two however, shares a different perspective: that of the traveller. World two is a theatre with three different performance areas: the platform, the train and the theatre (fig. 26 and 27). There are six different plays on show. All these shows are somehow connected to the luxurious Orient Express. The timetable for these performances is shown on a digital screen in front of the cafe. Most visitors will only pick one play during their visit. In order to give the reader an idea of what an experience in world two is like, the performance of Collette and Fifi will be described here. The plot of the performance is as follows. Collette is a cancan dancer who was recruited by a captain to spy for the British government. She must retrieve secret papers from someone aboard the Orient Express. Her pink poodle Fifi helps her on this quest. During the performance Collette seeks assistance in the audience. Two children are asked to sit behind the control panels on either side of the stage. By pushing the buttons, turning the wheels and pulling the handles, these kids manage the decor on 47
    • stage. The performance is mainly aimed at children between the age of four and twelve. Fig. 26Platform between trainsat world 2 of the Railway Museum Fig. 27Theatre at world 2 of the Railway Museum World three shows the perspective of railway personnel. The line is in a wooden room, filled with model trains and other railway memorabilia. It turns out that we are in someone’s attic, someone who has worked for the railways for his entire life. Previous generations of his family have been in the trade as well. His grandson Hans is interviewing him for a school paper on Dutch 48
    • railway history. The dummies representing them are seated in the attic (fig. 28), in-between the queue. While waiting we listen to the grandfather sharing his stories. Some of the stories correspond with objects in the room. An example of this is when the grandfather talks about the 1939 celebration when the Dutch railway was a 100 years old. In the attic we see objects with 1939 on it. These memorabilia bring the story to life. But world 3 is not this popular amongst kids because of Hans’ grandfather. It is the ride that makes this an attraction. In a cart that seats four people the visitor discovers the world of ‘steal monsters’ (fig. 30). Dummies represent the labourers cleaning the trains and working the signposts. The driver of a passing train waves at us and there is a party celebration for two members of staff who have been in service for 60 years (fig. 29). Fig. 28 (left)Dummies of Hans and hisgrandfather at world 3 of the Railway Museum Fig. 29 (right)60 year anniversary at the Railway celebration’ at world 3 of the Railway Museum 49
    • Fig. 30 Cart passing one of the‘steal monsters’ at world 3 of the Railway Museum The last World changes continuously. World four consists of five tracks on which several trains are displayed (fig. 31). Visitors can get more information on these trains from museum staff giving tours on the platforms. At the moment there is also an exhibition on safety on the tracks (fig. 32). This exhibition is incorporated in world 4. Bright yellow poles give information. These info kiosks tell stories through small TV screens, audio fragments, games and text (fig. 33). Fig. 31 World 4 of the Railway Museum 50
    • Fig. 32 (left) Exhibition on safety on the tracks, currently on show at world 4 of the Railway Museum Fig. 33 (right) Visitors enjoying the exhibition on safety on the tracks, currently on show at world 4 of the Railway Museum The four worlds are indicated on the map in orange (fig. 20). But the green areas also contain art, model trains, rooms with requisites and more, too much to describe here. Therefore one of the green areas has been selected: the outside area. The outside area is a playground for the younger children (fig. 34). It is a place to relax. It shows some more authentic material on the tracks (fig. 35), but there is no more information. Fig. 34Playground at outside area of the Railway Museum 51
    • Fig. 35Historic material at the outside area of the Railway Museum 52
    • 3 CASE STUDY ANALYSES Bruners ten narrative features mentioned in chapter one will now be applied to three case studies. These features will be applied to the three case studies in this chapter. Bruner delivers his features in the form of a list, which might give the impressioncause the idea that all features are equal to one another. However, this view limits their functionality. For instance, when studying the feature particularity38 in a case study, it is possible to point out examples of particular elements of that specific narrative but it is still impossible to show the value of this feature in relation to another feature such as narrative accrual39. By structuring the features, the outcome of the analytical process presented in this chapter, can be explained in a more meaningful way. After reviewing Bruner’s ten narrative features, we can sort them by their function. A feature can either descibe a part of the content of a narrative, have a structural role or describe a process that takes place between the reader and the writer of a given narrative. These three roles of Bruner’s features all play their part in what is essentially: the narrative (visualized in fig. 36). The narrative body consists of the structural features and the content features. A narrative cannot exist without one or the other. The arrows in the visualization (fig. 36) show the processes of creating, consuming and adding to the narrative content and structure. When sharing a story the content and structure that the writer has imposed on the narrative change slightly at the hands 38 The concept particularity was introduced and explained on p. 25 39 The concept narrative accrual was introduced and explained on p. 26 53
    • of the reader. The personal interpretation of a reader becomes part of the narrative. Narrative processes Writer Reader Content Narrative: Structure Fig. 36Visualization of the three narrative elements The model presented above (fig. 36) categorizes Bruner’s features in the following three clusters: structural features, content features and narrative processes. Thise visualization also shows the relationship between these categories. Bruner labels the structural elements as follows: diachronicity, canonicity & breach and genericness.40 This structural form cannot be expressed without content. And so the second group of features, are the content related features. This group contains the intentional state entailment, the norm, the particularity and the referentiality.41 Ultimately, Bruner also argues that narrativity is not merely the narrative itself. A narrative is always part of a communication 40 For an introduction on diachronicity and genericness see p. 24, and for canonicity & breach p. 25. 41 For an introduction on intentional state entailment see p. 24, for particularity, normativeness and referentiality p. 25. 54
    • process between a writer and a reader. Bruner captures this communicative layer by adding the last three features to his theory, which he labels: hermeneutic composability, narrative accrual and context sensitivity & negotiability.423.1 Narrative structure The narrative structure of a museum space can be analysed by watching the visitors move through it. While the previous chapter gives a description of the routing through each of the case studies, this section presents the structure underlying the exhibits, on the basis of those descriptions. This introduction to the section focuses on the general spatial structure, the space syntax, of each case study. After this general introduction, Bruner’s three structural features, diachronicity, Canonicity & breach and genericness are applied to each of the case studies. Georges Petitjean, the head curator of the Be My Guest exhibition at the Aboriginal Art Museum, has divided the museum space into ten separate sections. Although some of these sections are in an open plan environment, there are clear markers that indicate the beginning of one section and the ending of another. This is done by using separation walls, by using the differences in level and by clustering objects together. In the Utrecht Archive the exhibition rooms all have a different theme or function. A visitor follows the hallway and enters each of the rooms. Within a room objects and information are clustered together. Each cluster 42 For an introduction on hermeneutic composability see p. 24, for narrative accrual and context sensitivity & negotiability see p. 26. 55
    • represents a deliniated part of the plot, or in narrative terms: a sub plot. At the Railway Museum visitors are less obliged to follow a route, although the different worlds are numbered. Each world is a separate space with a separate atmosphere. Objects are not clustered but placed, in order to represent reality.Diachronicity The timeline, or diachronicity, at the Aboriginal Art Museum is determined by the amount of time one stands before each of the art dialogues. And this time span can increase by the number of resources the visitor uses. By using the audio guide and exhibition texts the visitor is able to elongate the time span of each experience. The diachronicity is determined by the amount of detail in the explanation. By using this method, the museum places this feature in the hands of the visitor. The Utrecht Archive uses another method to structure time. It gives the visitor a spatial trail to follow. This trail has certain stops. During these stops the visitor experiences audio visual footage or gathers archive material at their own discretion. The time span of the footage and the amount of material determines the length of the stop. Although the visitor is able to forego a stop and certain shortcuts are possible, this exhibition does not allow the visitor to determine the diachronicity of the narrative space. The visitor needs to follow the spatial trail to conclude the story by making a newspaper.43 In the Railway Museum the timeline is also structured by spatial elements. Each spatial area has a certain size and a contains 43 The newspaper is compiled out of achive material the visitor has selected and is made during the visit. The paper can be printed or emailed. For a more detailed description see p. 41. 56
    • certain amount of objects. This determines how long one can stop and linger. Some areas are so big it is impossible to see everything. This gives of a strong incentive to visit the museum again. World two and three also have a more pressing time frame. The theatre performances in world two have a certain duration and so does the ride in world three. But in all the other spaces, visitors are able to wander aboutCanonicity & The feature of canonicity & breach at the Aboriginal Art MuseumBreach can be considered to be the main theme of the exhibition. Each time an aboriginal artwork forms the canon it is contrasted with a breach in the form of another contemporary artwork. The canon clashes with the breach during each dialogue. The breach is visualized instead of verbalized in this narrative space. At the Utrecht archive the canon and breach are spatially determined as well. Each space creates a canon for the next space. And each time we enter the next space we experience a change in state. Perhaps this breach of a canon is most clear when entering the cells. Each cell is so specific, so different from the neutral hallway space, that the visitor really experiences this clash between then and now. These breaches are created by isolating the spaces, using contrasts in lighting and using contrasts in the themes on display. At the Railway Musuem the canon and breach are spatially marked in a clear way. Each world creates a canon that contrasts with the other worlds. By moving from one world to another the visitor experiences a breach. The breaches in the Railway Museum resemble those at the Utrecht Archive. By setting the scene in a 57
    • different way and by using themes the worlds compliment and contrast one another.Genericness Genericness was also mentioned as a structuring element in the introduction to this chapter. This element structures the outline of the narrative being told. An example of a generic narrative type is the love story. A love story usually contains a description of how the two main characters meet or have met and how they feel about each other initially. After this initial setting something happens to trigger the spark between them. This spark contrasts with their previous view on the relationship between them. At the end of the story the contrasts are resolved and the main characters find their happy ever after. These generic elements to a story create the format for each story type. In the Aboriginal Art Museum the generic format can be described as repetitions of contrasts. Each section in the exhibition uses this format. It enables the visitor to compare two distinctly different works. By comparing the works in each section, the visitor unravels the story. Therefore this generic format can be identified as the comparison. The Utrecht Archive takes another approach on genericness. Each section covers a certain theme. Some of the rooms are dedicated to the archive itself while other rooms explain about different periods and functions of the building. This thematically generic narrative can cover a wide array of relations. Themes can be by the same artist, in the same period, from the same geographic location and so on. 58
    • When visiting the Railway Museum it becomes clear that there isanother type of structure possible: the reconstruction. Thedifferent worlds create groupings of objects, but these objects arenot compared by the visitor. Instead these worlds function like asnapshot of a moment in time. The structure is purely spatialand aimed at creating a realistic environment. The objects arearranged to create a representation of a real place. In thethematical format, space is used to place objects together thatshare a certain relationship with one another. In the railwaymuseum this neutral thematical space becomes a meaningfulrepresentation of place.There is one common generic structure missing from this set ofcase studies: the chronological generic narrative. This structure isoften used in exhibitions on one specific person or group. Eachwork marks a specific moment in time. The genre that isconnected to this particular structure is the biographicalexhibition. These biographical exhibitions show the differentstages of the development of an artist or a group. Because eachstage can be regarded as a theme as well, the thematicalstructure and the chronological structure sometimes overlap. Inthe thematic structure of the Utrecht Archive this was not thecase. There the timeline of the theme’s were not of achronological nature. Instead, the visitor travels back and forthtime constantly during the exploration of the rooms.During the visits for this research it became clear that these threestructural features are particularly interesting when researchingnarrative space. Bruner mentions that the diachronicity is not thephysical time it takes for the reader to read a story, but that it isthe conceptual time in the narrative itself. This timeline can 59
    • either speed up or slow down depending on the amount of detail that is used in describing the scenes. The museological equivalent of being more detailed is by adding more space, more objects or a more detailed explanation to a certain theme. The canonicity & breach are related to this time concept. In narrative space the breach does not only take place through text but also through the spatial design. And also the genericness of each of the narratives can be deducted from the spatial design. The analyses of the case studies shows that the placement of objects and the timeline are important tools to shape the narrative structure of exhibitions. In chapter four, the relation between these two elements in narrative space will be discussed in a broader context.3.2 Layers of content A narrative consists of both structure and content. During the preliminary analyses it became clear that museums often attach more than one layer of content to an exhibition. The narrative that is told through the audio tour might be really different in tone and content than the text that can be read on the museum wall. Apart from that, content can also be divided up in types. Bruner mentioned that a narrative needs particularity, an intentional state entailment, normativeness and referentiality. All these features describe a perspective one can take on the narrative content. The case study examples will now be viewed in the light of these perspectives. Particularity The particularity is the aspect in which exhibitions differ from one another most of all. Although some exhibitions may be on the same artist or the same period, they take on a different approach and that changes the specifics. This is the only feature 60
    • that is incomparable. In fact, this feature labels all the elements of a narrative that do not fit into a box. One can consider the description given in chapter two, as a report on the particularity of the case study exhibitions.Intentional state The intentional state entailment is described by Bruner as beliefs,entailment theories, desires and values which are embedded in the story world. The time in which the story is set and the characters that are chosen determine the intentional state. A narrator expresses them to the reader through his or her own voice or the voice of a character. Often, museums do not use fictional characters to express their voice. Instead they speak from the perspective of the museum institute. The Aboriginal Art Museum shows this use of voice. On the audio tour and in the introduction text on the wall, the museum expresses its expectations, its hope of what this exhibition might accomplish. The museum wants to validate the claim that Aboriginal Art belongs in the realm of modern art. The Utrecht Archive does use the voice of characters in their exhibition. Each character expresses its intentional state entailment through introductory speeches in the ‘moments’ room. The digital portraits tell the visitor about what has happened to them and how they feel about that. After this state is expressed the visitor browses the data of the event and reconstructs the story. The intentionial state entailment at the Railway Museum is not expressed through text or characters. Instead the visitor is presented with the interior of the Maliebaan station. This interior sets the scene for the rest of the visit. Although the interior of the 61
    • station may at first not present itself as narrative content as such, within an exhibition space the design should actually be regarded as such.Normativeness The norm of a story is inserted by the writer, or in these cases, the museum. The institution decides how historical events are interpreted and it validates the information that is presented. Often, institutions have a clear perspective on how they view the objects they have on display. The Aboriginal Art museum views its collection as modern art and this determines how they put their collection on display. The Utrecht Archive expresses to the visitor, a part of how archive research is done. Which part they communicate, was decided upon by the Archive institute, when the exhibition was created. Finally, the Railway Museum wishes to educate its visitors, on the history of train travel in the Netherlands, by means of an entertaining environment. This norm is the foundation for the exhibitions on display.Referentiality It is difficult to pinpoint the equivalent of Bruner’s referentiality in a museum exhibition. Exhibitions refer to the themes they cover. An exhibition on Alexander the Great refers to a specific historical time and place. But the type of reference that is made, differs from object to object. The Aboriginal Art Museum shows paintings that refer to the world of contemporary art. Each work refers back to its own history. This also means that each work is important on its own merit. In the Railway Museum, this is often the other way around. Most objects are placed together in order to create a sum that is greater than its parts. In the Utrecht Archive some objects are only represented digitally. There are not a lot of real objects on display, but they are referred to through a virtual copy. The aspect of referentiality in museums 62
    • is broader than the mere story world that is on display. Because this reference is not only made through language, but also through objects the matter of referentiality becomes more complex. This discussion will be continued in the next chapter.3.3 Narrative processes Narrativity has always had a social aspect as well. Because stories are expressed between people, certain discourse processes take place. Bruner dubs these processes: hermeneutic composability, context sensutivity & negotiability and narrative accrual. All three of these processes take place between the writer and the reader of a text. In regular texts the boundaries and roles of both of these participants are clear. The writer delivers a narrative that is compliant with one of the narrative structure and the reader interprets this narrative (hermeneutic composability). During the interpretation process the reader adds to the story by piecing the different story elements together and adding connections to his own life experience (narrative accrual). The reader also treats the background and knowledge of the writer with care and compares this to his own knowledge on the topic (context sensitivity and negotiability). But are the roles and boudaries between the museum and its audience the same, or do these processes differ when it comes to three dimensional narratives? In the Aboriginal Art museum the visitor looks at the dialogues Narrative accrual between two works of art. Each visitor has his or her own life experiences. Some visitors might have been to Australia and seen some Aboriginal works there, while other visitors know 63
    • much about contemporary art. The type and amount of knowledge a visitor has will influence the narrative accrual. This will influence the interpretation of the exhibition and the works on display. It also influences the amount of background information a visitor seeks out. For some visitors the catalogue texts are a pleasant addition to the knowledge they already have. For other visitors it is more interesting to get more general information on the works of art, before focussing on more detailed texts. In each of the museums this process takes place. In the Utrecht Archive a visitor might come from Utrecht. This will some parts of the exhibition more recognisable. At the Railway Museum an former railway imployee will gather other information than his grandchildren. The visitor decides how much of what the museum offers is consumated. This means that the visitor does not only create a personal interpretation, but the psychological narrative experienced between the museum walls can have a different content entirely. When comparing these findings to the general description of narrative accrual it bomes clear that this process is more important in a three dimensional narrative than in its two dimensional counterpart. Where in a regular text the author decides on the content of a narrative, a three dimensional narrative encourages readers to seek out the content they’re interested in. The information a reader seek out in the exhibition space isHermeneuticcomposability placed there by the institution. In that sense the writer still controls the content. The pocess of content placement is called: hermeneutic composability. This composability feature is especially apparent at the archive. When the visitor starts browsing articles 64
    • for the newspaper he or she really esembles all the important bits and pieces together. The visitor uses background information and personal interest to compose relating material. All this information is combined with the visitor’s historical knowledge and the amount of ability he or she appropriates to the institute. At the other museums this process is applied as well, but without a physical, newspaper output. The difference between content placement in regular texts and three dimensional texts is the amount of information. A three dimensional, multimedia text can store an endless amount of content. By placing this content correctly the visitor will be aware of how to access the information that is most interesting to them. In the next chapter two different ways of placing content will be discussed. At the Railway Museum the visitor becomes and explorer of theContextsensitivity & story world. Because the visitor explores for himself, he is lessnegotiability aware that this experience is created by an author. The visitor is less aware of the placement of the content. This can blur the process of context sensitivity and negotiability. In the Aborignal Art Museum and the Utrecht Archive the visitor is aware of the knowledge of the institute. This can influence how they experience an exhibition. If you do not know a lot about contemporary art it can be encouraging to read the museum texts. However, if you do know something about art and the text in the booklet expresses another opinion, it can change your view on other texts as well. This negotiation and contextual sensitivity between the writer and the reader is not much different from regular narrative texts. 65
    • Each text is coloured by its author and each author is challangedby the knowledge of his reader. In the same way a museuminstitute colours its exhibitions and is challanged by the diversityof its audience. 66
    • 4 DISCUSSION After highlighting the importance of narrativity within a crossmedia concept in chapter one and presenting the narrativity of the case studies in chapters two and three, it is now time to come to terms with the underlying structure of these narratives. There are two important goals in this chapter. Firstly to create a model that visualizes the underlying structure revealed by the case study analyses in chapter three. Secondly to show how this model can be used in a museological context. The first section of this chapter will present and elaborate on a visual model that shows the space syntax of an exhibition. This part of the model draws on Bruner’s structural features. The second section goes beyond the structure and focuses on the content. The model from section one will gain new layers, showing how the content is connected to the structure. The third and final section of this chapter focuses on an area that has shown a large amount of variation in each case study: the process level. This section presents a debate on the concept of interactivity in museums and how this is connected to Bruner’s process features.4.1 Exhibition Structures The case study descriptions in chapter two, elaborated on the exhibitions through the eyes of the visitor and the coherent structure of the exhibitions became clearer too. Describing a museum visit as an experience through storytelling, gives insight in the narrative rhythm. It shows the timeline the visitor 67
    • encounters during the visit and it shows which objects andmedia are perceived as part of the same cluster. The tools used togenerate this crossmedia cluster structure of an exhibition are:timing, space and object placement.44These three tools were already researched by Hillier andTzorstki in their work on space syntax.45 They also focused onthe way the visitor moved through the exhibition spaces.However, they did not connect the experience of these spatialstructures to narrativity. Space syntax chart which elements ofan exhibition are easy to reach for a visitor and which elementsare more difficult to find. Tzorstki also shows the clustering ofobjects on the plan of the exhibition spaces. But in order to showthe narrativity of an exhibition it is more important to show therhythm of an exhibition instead of the precise placement ofobjects. When we want to show the narrativity within the Be MyGuest exhibition, it is important to show each cluster is made upout of the same elements and which clusters are in separaterooms and which are not. It is less relevant to show the exactpositions on the museum plan. The rhythm enables one to seethe diachronicity and the canon and breach. It shows theunderlying narrative system.We can visualize this narrative rhythm by making an abstractvisualization of the museum space, the clustering within thatspace and the amount of objects within a clustering. Thefollowing model shows such an abstract representation (fig. 37):44 The case study analyses on the structural features was presented in chaper threep. 54-59.45 The research on space syntax was introduced in chaper one p. 21-22. 68
    • = Exhibition space = Cluster Fig. 37 = Object Model for narrativestructure in crossmedia museum spaces This model shows the clusters the visitor will distinguish when following the routing through an exhibition. This routing determines the diachronicty of a three dimensional museum narrative. The model also shows an indication for the feature of canon and breach: the placement of clusters in separate rooms. All three case studies showed that the break of a room usually creates a breach in the narrative as well. This breach effect is strengthened when the design of a room contrasts with other spaces in the exhibition. By using clashing colours or different styles, the visitor becomes aware that he has entered another part of the narrative. This method is used in the Railway Museum, where each world has a clearly distinct style. In some exhibitions the breach is made textually while the design of the exhibit remains neutral. This type of breach is encountered in the Aboriginal Art Museum. Here the breach takes place within the cluster itself. The objects within the exhibition create the breach. 69
    • In the Utrecht Archive the breach takes place in each change of room, although the change of style is less dramatic than in the Railway Museum. However, before creating the cluster structure in a museum gallery, one needs to know what generic strategy underlies the narrative. Chapter three described four different generic forms. The form of a narratives is determined by the type of relation objects have within a cluster. In a thematic exhibition each cluster represents a certain theme. While in a comparative structure, like the Aboriginal Art Museum exhibition each cluster compares a number of objects to one another. This shows that these structural elements are tied to the content of the exhibition as well. The next section will elaborate on the content features Bruner sums up and will show the relationship between the structural layer and the layers of content.4.2 Levels of narrativity Bruner describes the content of a narrative by the feature particularity. Each museum picks a different set of objects and explanations to show and tell the exhibition narrative. In the first cluster of objects or in the first room of an exhibition, these particularities create what Bruner calls the initial state entailment. In this section of the narrative, the visitor warms up. The generic type of the exhibition becomes clear and the setting creates a certain atmosphere. Bruner’s other two content features are not traceable as entities in an exhibition. Both norm and referentiality seep through every element in an exhibition. A museum makes choices by including 70
    • or excluding certain objects and explanatory material. Thesechoices communicate the vision the museum has on the objects ondisplay. During the analyses in chapter three it also became clearthat the referentiality feature in the museological context, isspecifically tied to a normative statement. Therefore therelationship between these features will be discussed moreelaborately here.46Each case study example uses its object in a different way. Whilein the Aboriginal Art Museum the objects refer to themselves in al’art pour l’art setting, the Railway Museum aims at creating avisitor experience with the objects. Finally, the Utrecht Archiveuses the objects to tell a story. The objects do not refer tothemselves or the experience of a visitor, instead they refer to thenarrative the archive wishes to share. This perspective on theobject creates a norm: it determines how the visitor must look atthe artefacts on display.Each of the case studies has a level of content made up out ofobjects. This layer of content is clustered as shown in the previoussection. This object layer can be regarded as the core story of anexhibition. In addition to this story the visitor is able to use twomore types of content. The first type of content is the horizontalcontent. This content stretches over the entire exhibition and comesin a mobile form. The visitor receives this content at the beginningof the museum visit and chooses when to use it. The other type ofcontent is the vertical content. This content is aimed at giving moreindepth information as an addition to the core narrative. Thiscontent is related to one specific cluster. It can be regarded as asubplot to a certain theme. 46 The case study analyses on the content features was presented in chaper three p. 59-62. 71
    • Figure 38 shows the layers of content in the Aboriginal Art Museum. The image shows the objects as antennas that signal out information. The written and spoken text is attached to the object. To activate the audio tour a visitor needs to approach the signal device near the object. And the texts are placed near each pair of objects as well. The surroundings of these objects are information hot spots. And because each of these hot spots is arranged in the same way, the visitor knows what information is accessible. Each visitor decides how much information is needed at what time. This type of narrative space is object driven. The content is attached to the object clusters and gives indepth information on each of the object pairs. This museum mainly offers vertical content. Object Visitor Fig. 38 InformationVisualization of an Object Zone driven space The Utrecht Archive did not focus on the objects, but on the space in between the objects: the storyline. The visitor accesses information by locating the narrative elements. The scanning devices to access the visitor account specify locations that give access to narratives. But not all narrative elements are part of the 72
    • newspaper plot. The other narrative locations are therefore specified by signs along the way. The story driven narrative space is visualised in figure 39. The objects in these types of narrative spaces are placed near a narrative element. The object functions as an inspiration for the narrative and as an illustration to it. The archive mainly uses horizontal content to communicate the narrative they want to share with the visitor. Directed Narrative Element Signaling Narrative Element Fig. 39 ObjectVisualization of a Story Visitor driven space There are three types of content in a museum space: the objects, the horizontal content and the vertical content. Both horizontal and vertical content can be expressed through an array of media. These media can either be placed within the exhibition itself or taken through the exhibition by a visitor. The first group of media are the local media and the second group of media are the mobile media. Because the local medium is often attached to a cluster it lends itself well for vertical content. However, it is also possible to present a local medium on its own, such as a video 73
    • presentation. In those cases the local medium contains horizontalcontent. On the other hand mobile media lend themselves wellfor generating horizontal content. However, when an audiotouris used to add in-depth information on specific objects, thismobile medium adds vertical information to an exhibit.Flavia Sparacino47 has researched this combination betweenmedia and spatial context. The case study in her research is usedto showcase new techniques and how their application enhancesthe exhibition experience. Sparacino is a designer and this showsin her approach to the research topic. She focuses on the form ofthe media, instead of the content. By labeling the media used inan exhibition as containing vertical or horizontal data, the formand content of such a media can be analyzed in combination toone another.The visualization made in the previous section already showsthe first layer of content: the objects. In order to also visualize theother two layers it is important to distinguish between the localand mobile media. Figure 40 below, shows the abstractvisualization of these layers of content. In order to specify thetype of content it is possible to ad icons that represent themedium type. By alligning these icons with the cluster structureit becomes clear which connections there are between theinformation and the time and place within the exhibitionstructure. It is impossible to distinguish between horizontal andvertical content with this model. In order to visualize the aim ofthe information it is possible to create a visualization such as infigure 37 and 38.47 Sparacino’s theory was presented in chapter one p. 74
    • = Local media thread = Entry on a mobile device or text Fig. 40 = Film display on location = Mobile media thread Model for narrativestructure and content in = Text on location = Booklet crossmedia museum spaces = Audio fragment = Audio tour4.3 Interaction Processes The last section of chapter three discussed bruner’s three narrative processes. It showed that museum narratives allow more narrative accrual and this changes the way information and plots are presented in a three dimensional, crossmedia narrative.48 This type of narrative allows for its audience to interact with it. But this interaction is guded by the creator of the narrative. Within the space syntax certain liberties of the audience are calculated into the masterplan. This section will show this addition of interactivity onto the model in figure 40. In order to do so it is important to discuss at what moments interactivity takes place. The Railway Museum is an interesting case in that aspect. It allows its audience a lot of 48 The case study analyses on the process features was presented in chaper three p. 62-.65. 75
    • freedom. However, when a visitor enters a world the museum guides these visitors through by using all types of media. In figure 41 an abstraction of this visitor driven museum space is shown. The green area in figure 41 represents the atmospheric surrounding. This is the part of the exhibition where people can wander freely. However, when a visitor enters a red zone, a world, the visitors movements are controlled by the space syntax and mediation of that space. Atmospheric Area Fig. 41 Controlled Theme UncontrolledVisualization of a visitor Theme driven space Visitor Object And so it is the museum that determines the amount of interactivity. Some exhibitions are more interactive then other. For example, the Utrecht Archive motivates visitors to interact with the digital version of their documents. But this interaction is not continuous during the visit. Instead interaction can be marked in the visual model that was used in the previous two sections. If we add the path that the visitor takes, and show 76
    • where this visitor is allowed to engage with the content, we mark the interactivity. In figure 42 this addition to the model is made. The red bar marks the moments of interactivity. The connections between the markers to the laysers of content specify the interaction further. Fig. 42 = Interactivity thread Model for narrative = Interaction marker structure, content and = Interaction by local textual mediuminteractivity in crossmedia museum spaces = Interaction by entry mobile medium 4.4 From description to prescription The previous discussion has demonstrated the descriptive power of the model in figure 42. Bruner’s features have aided in the creation of this model by supplying an analytical focus on certain elements of narrativity. These elements have given direction to the analyses of the case studies and have aided in drawing comparisons between them. Bruner’s features and the model derived from it also presents an interesting way of dealing with the creation of an exhibit. It can be used as a communicative tool between the designer of an 77
    • exhibition and the people that determine the content. In smallermuseums this might be done by the same person. However, theUtrecht Archive and the Railway Musuem have both useddesigner agencies to help shape their exhibitions. Because themodel shows the information density and object density ofcertain areas, it can aid in discussing the narrative layers that areto be incorporated in the design. In order to create a narrativedesign the following ten questions can be of help. Each questionis based on one of the narrative features. By answering all thequestion, it is possible to describe and visualize the narrativeconcept in detail.The first questions three questions deal with the content thecreator wants to bring across. These particularities of a narrativeconcept are determined by the objects and the information that ispresented. Therefore the first question is:1. Which plots and subplots (or theme’s) do I want to bring across?The second question that needs to be asked is what norm shallbe communicated. Often an institute already has a specific viewon its content and objects. It is important to express this normwhen creating the narrative concept because the norm willdetermine the overall feel of an exhibition.2. What is the norm I want to set the visitor?The third question regards the referentiality of the objects. In thesecond section of this chapter it became clear that the norm andreferenciality are linked together in this museological context.The view of the museum on its content and objects determineshow they use the objects on display. An object can refer to itself,another time or place or can merely refer to another object just 78
    • like it. This last type of referentiality uses the object as arequisite. This leads to the third question:3. To what do the objects in this exhibition refer?The last question witin the domain of content is on the initialstate. As a rule, the initial state entailment takes place in the firstclusters or in the first room. By determining what the firstimpression of the visitor is, the first object, the first bit ofinformation and the first voice heard, the creator of the story setsthe scene. All these first experiences in an exhibition shape theexpectation of the visitor of what is to come. It is a very strongtool that can not be omitted. Question number four covers all ofthese aspects.4. What is the point of departure?When the content of the narrative concept is clear, the creatorneeds to structure it. The following three questions will aid indoing so. The structure of a crossmedia space is build up out ofclusters of objects that are related to generic story types. Whenthe style or topic changes between clusters, this is experienced asa breach of the canon. In the generic comparative story type thisbreach takes place within each of the clusters. Therefore the mostimportant first question on a structural level is:5. What generic narrative type suits the content best?After determining the narrative type the creator continues bydetermining the placement of the content. It is imperative thatthe creator takes into account what exhibition spaces areavailable and than clusters the objects in material in ameaningfull way. Question six stimulates the creator to do this: 79
    • 6. How do the subplots and theme’s relate to one another andhow can I communicate these relations through space syntax?The final structural question focuses on the canon and breach. Bydetermining which elements of the content contrast most, thesense of tension within the narrative can be increased. Like theintentional state entailment this feature really gives a narrativeits character.7. What content qualifies as breach material and where can Ihighlight these contrasts best?The final three questions regard the narrative processes that takeplace in an exhibition. The first question can be answered forspecific parts of the content separately. In order to stimulatenarrative accrual the creator of the narrative needs to keep inmind who is adressed. Some parts of the content might befocussed on one target group while other information is used foranother. This question is simply:8. What are the target groups I’m adressing with this material?This leads us further to the point of hermeneutic composability.The creator wants to stimulate the visitor to explore certain partsof the content. In order for the visitor to do so the creator placesthe content. The model (fig. 42) shows that this process is relatedto what type of content is dealt with and how this is presented tothe visitor. Some content is necessary for the baseline narrative,the core of the story. These elements need to be expressed in theobject layer of the exhibition. The other elements can bepresented in the content layers. The question that is tied to thisdiscussion is: 80
    • 9. Which narrative elements belong in the plot of the story andcan not be omitted by the visitor?Ultimately the creator needs to ask oneself where interactionwithin the narrative can take place. Are there parts of theexhibition where negotiability between the audience and theinstitute is stimulating or necessary? Because the reasons forinteraction in an exhibition differ, this question is simply put asfollows:10. How and where does the visitor add to the exhibition? 81
    • CONCLUSION Argumentation Crossmedia storytelling in museums is a relevant topic in this day and age. Museum visitors do not only come across art objects or written texts during their museum experience, but are also guided through the exhibition spaces with PDA systems, audio tours and other multimedial aids which tell a story. The visitor experiences a storyline that is brought to them by a crossmedia platform. Reynaert‘s theory was used to explain how crossmedia is defined.49 She makes a distinction between two types of crossmedia concepts: the integrated concept and the transmedial. The latter term, transmedia, has become popular in the field of crossmedia narrtology, because of Henry Jenkins work Convergence Culture. Both types of concepts can be applied to a museological setting. However due to restaints on the duration of this MA research, only the integrated concept was applied on each of the case studies. Both Jenkins and Reynaert consider narrativity at the core of a crossmedia concept. But neither of them conceptualize the narrativity aspect of crossmedia further. The field of crossmedia concepting seems to be more focussed on medium specificity instead of narrativity. This can be illustrated by looking at the research by Dena and van Vliet.50 Both researchers focus on the relations between media from a semiotic point of view. Although 49 Reynaert’s theory was presented in chapter one p. 15-17. 50 Dena’s theory was presented on p. 18 and van Vliet’s theory on p. 19-20. 82
    • these are very valid explorations within the domain of crossmediality, it does not explain the narrativity that is at the heart of these conceptions. This thesis aimed at giving more insight into crossmedia narrativity on a structural level. The topic of narrativity in museums has already been researched by designers such as Sparacino51 and researchers of space syntax such as Hillier and Tzortzki.52 Sparacino focuses on the media used within exhibitions. She shows the most modern technologies and discusses the concept of medium specificity. Hillier and Tzortski focus on the structure of exhibitions instead. They analyse how visitors use the exhibition space by monitoring their movements. In chapter four it became clear that both of space syntax and Sparacino’s insights are very usefull. However, the connection between these approaches is still missing. Sparacino focuses on medium specificity and Hillier and Tzortski focus on the structural elements of an exhibition. The content of the exhibition, the narrative is not research is these museological fields. This outcome was strengthened by the results from the preliminary research. During this research phase Semper’s medium chart was used to point out the various medium uses in the museum’s in Utrecht. The lack of data relating to the content of the media, made this model inappropriate for the narratological research of this thesis.Research question Neither the crossmedia nor the museological specialists focus on narrativity in their studies while it is this content that lies at the 51 As presented in chapter one p. 22. 52 As presented in chapter one p. 22-23. 83
    • core of an exhibition or crossmedia concept. In order to create a model of narrativity Marie-Laure Ryan’s theory was used in the introduction. Ryan is one of the narratologists who states that a narrative concept can be expressed through a range of media, instead of verbal media alone. In the introduction to her book she defines a narrative and elaborates on the different appoaches to narrativity. And one of the approaches she mentions is the psychological approach. This is where Bruner comes into play. When looking at narrativity from a pshychological point of view, not only the writer is seen as a creator. The person who experiences an event creates just as much and in the same way. This approach is highly appropriate in the museological setting because the narrative created in a museum experience is a joined efford between the institute and the individual visitor. The exploration through the literature has therefore lead to the following research question: How can Bruner’s ten narrative features aid in creating a model, of the structure underlying the narrativity in the crossmedia concepts, museums in Utrecht have to offer? The hypothesis during this research was that by analyzing the case studies by using Bruner’s narrative features, a relationship between the content of an exhibition and its structure could be made.Outcomes During the analytical phase it became clear that Bruner’s features related to the three key elements of a narrative: structure, content and the semiotic process between the writer 84
    • and the reader. Each of these elements is connected to oneanother. And by connecting the ten features to this model, thecoherence between the features became more clear. It also madeit possible to show the relations between these features in avisualized model. Because this model is the most importantoutcome of this research it is placed in appendix number twoallong with another practical tool this research has delivered: theprescriptive questions. The general outcomes of the analyses arepresented here, before zooming in on the prescriptive outcomesof this research,There was one feature that was particularly different from verbalnarrativity. This was the referentiality feature. The referent of aspatial narrative is different from the referent of a written text.Where written texts refer to fictional an non-fictional places,objects refer to themselves or their place in the context of thestory. This also creates a norm. The visitor is influenced by thisview on the object.The research also showed that there are two types of content, thehorizontal type and the vertical type. The horizontal type ofcontent creates a narrative baseline. The vertical type of contentis attached to that baseline. It creates depths to the story. Avisitor can either choose to ignore this information or take it in.Further more content can either be presented in a mobile way orin a local way. When presenting content in a mobile fashion, thevisitor is allowed to take the content with them throughout thevisit. When content is presented locally the visitor needs toconsume it at that specific time and place in the exhibition.By making clusters of information and objects the museumcreates a structure. The museum can also pinpoint at whichplaces interaction with the visitor takes place. In this sense the 85
    • museum shapes the psychological narrative the visitor generates. The exhibition structure gains power when narrative features such as the intentional state entailment and the canon and breach are taken into account. A structure that is connected to these content features, creates a powerful mechanism to bring the narrativity of an exhibit across. In a narrative the structure influences content and vice versa. This means that this research can be applied the other way around as well. If a museum knows the particularity, the norm, the intentional state they want to bring across and the referentiality they want to make, the model can be used to determine where they would need to express what. The questions that were presented in the final section of chapter four aim at guiding this production process.53Further research It might be interesting to follow up on this research from the crossmedia perspective. In each type of crossmedia platform information needs to be clustered. By analyzing case studies, specific structures can be brought to light. This might lead to other prescriptive models that can be used for the purpose of improving crossmedia concepting. During my internship at the Crossmedialab and in interviews with the staff of several museums, it became clear that much attention is given to the differentiation of content, for specific target groups. In theory, this should provide each visitor with 53 Appendix two demonstrates the outcomes of this research. 86
    • the type of content needed. However, it is still unsure if this isactually the case. When analyzing the succes of an exhibition,museums mainly focus on marketing research instead ofmeasuring what content came across. The marketing data willonly reveal the relative succes of visitor numbers and perhapsvisitor numbers of specific target groups. It does not show theintrinsic succes of the exhibit. Because of this lack of data, I wasunable to focus on the educational aspect of narrativity inmuseums. Further research from an educational science point ofview, can provide museums with tools to measure the succes oftheir narrative content. 87
    • LITERATUREABORIGNIAL A RT MUSEUM (2011), Be My Geust, Exhibition Catalogue, Amsterdam, Aboriginal Art Museum(AAMU)/Comuse.BRADBURN, J. (2008), Foreword to the work of Tallon, L. Digital technologies & the museum experience; handheldguides and other media, Plymouth, Altamira p. ix-xii.BRUNER, J (1990), Acts of Meaning, London etc. Harvard University.BRUNER, J. (1991), “The Narrative Construction of Reality”, from: The Critical Inquiry, v. 18 p. 1-21.DENA, C. (2004), Current State of Cross Media Storytelling:Preliminary observations for future design,http://www.Christydena.com/Docs/DENA_CrossMediaObservations.pdf (18-12-2011).DERNIE, D (2006), Exhibition Design, London, Laurence King.HILLIER, B. ET. AL.(1982), “National Gallery schemes Analyzed”, Architects’ Journal, v. 27 p. 38-40.HILLIER, B & TZORTSKI, K. (2011), “Space Syntax; the language of museum space”, from Macdonald, S. (ed.) ACompanion to Museum Studies, Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell.JENKINS, H (2006), Convergence Culture: where old and new media collide, New York, NY University Press.LEINHARDT, G ET. AL. (2002), Talking to Oneself: Diaries of Museum Visits, http://www.museumlearning.org/mlc-04.pdf (18-12-2011).MEURS, G. (2006), Op het Goede Spoor? Een kwntitatief onderzoek naar het imago en de tevredenheid bijbezoekers van het Spoorwegmuseum, Unpublished MA thesis, Social & Cultural Studies University Tilburg.PEIRCE, C.S. (1931-1936), “On A New List of Categories”, Collected Papers Volumes 1-6,Hartshorne, C. & Weiss, P(eds.) Cambridge M.A., Harvard University.REYNAERT, I (2009), Basisboek Crossmedia Concepting, Meppel, Boom.RYAN, M. (2004), Narrative Across Media; The Languages of Storytelling, Nebraska, University of Nebraska.SEMPER, J. (1998) “Designing Hybrid Environments: Integrating Media into Exhibition Space”, fromThomas, S. & Mintz, A. (Eds.) The Virtual and the Real: Media in the Museum. Washington, AmericanAssociation of Museums p. 119-127.SPARACINO, F. (2002), Narrative Spaces: bridging architecture and entertainment via interactive technology,http://alumni.media.mit.edu/~flavia/Papers/NarrativeSpaces.pdf (18-12-2011)TZORTSKI (2003), “An Approach to the Microstructure of the Gallery Space: the case of the Sainsbury Wing”,from Proceedings of the fourth International Space Syntax Symposium, v. 2003 p. 67.1-67.16.VLIET, H. VAN (2008), Idola van de Crossmedia, Utrecht, Kenniscentrum Communicatie & JournalistiekHogeschool Utrecht. 88
    • WEBSITES - www.Crossmedialab.nl - www.Spoorwegmuseum.nl - www.HetUtrechtsArchief.nl - www.AAMU.nl 89
    • IllustrationsFig. 1 Charles Sanders Peirce‘ semiotic model, Marlies Havenga, 2011Fig. 2 Robert Semper’s museum media chart, Robert Semper, 1998Fig. 3 Reynaert’s transmedial concept, Indira Reynaert, 2009Fig. 4 Reynaert’s integrated concept, Indira Reynaert, 2009Fig. 5 Floor plan of the Be My Guest exhibition, Aboriginal Art Museum, 2011Fig. 6 Ilma (1997) by Roy Wiggan, Aboriginal Art Museum, 2011Fig. 7 Draft for a work called The Magic Carpet (2011) by Hester Oerlemans, Aboriginal Art Museum, 2011Fig. 8 Floor plan of the ground floor at the Utrecht Archive, Utrecht Archive, 2008Fig. 9 Floor plan of the basement at the Utrecht Archives, Utrecht Archive, 2008Fig. 10 Starting point of the Utrecht Archive exhibition Utrecht Archive, 2008Fig. 11 Auditorium of the Utrecht Archive exhibition, Utrecht Archive, 2008Fig. 12 Moments’ at the Utrecht Archive exhibition, Utrecht Archive, 2008Fig. 13 Wine cellar at the Utrecht Archive exhibition, Utrecht Archive, 2008Fig. 14 Interactive wall with street names at the Utrecht Archive exhibition, Utrecht Archive, 2008Fig. 15 ‘Just married’ cell at the Utrecht Archive exhibition, Utrecht Archive, 2008Fig. 16 Detail of the ‘Just Married’ cell at the Utrecht Archive exhibition, Utrecht Archive, 2008Fig. 17 Showroom in the ‘Encounters’ section of the Utrecht Archive exhibition, Utrecht Archive, 2008Fig. 18 Boat trip at the Utrecht Archive exhibition, Utrecht Archive, 2008Fig. 19 Newspaper room at the Utrecht Archive exhibition, Utrecht Archive, 2008Fig. 20 Floor plan of the Railway Museum, Railway Museum, 2011Fig. 21 Front entrance of the Railway museum: the former Maliebaan Train Station, Railway Museum, 2006Fig. 22 Decor of the Maliebaan Train Station, Railway Museum, 2006Fig. 23 Clock at the platform of the Maliebaan Train Station, Railway Museum, 2006Fig. 24 De Arendt’ the centre piece of world 1 of the Railway Museum, Railway Museum, 2006Fig. 25 Dutch village scenery in world 1 of the Railway Museum, Railway Museum, 2006Fig. 26 Platform between trains at world 2 of the Railway Museum, Railway Museum, 2006Fig. 27 Theatre at world 2 of the Railway Museum, Railway Museum, 2006Fig. 28 Dummies of Hans and his grandfather at world 3 of the Railway Museum, Railway Museum, 2006Fig. 29 60 year anniversary at the Railway celebration’ at world 3 of the Railway Museum, Railway Museum, 2006Fig. 30 Cart passing one of the ‘steal monsters’ at world 3 of the Railway Museum Railway Museum, 2006Fig. 31 World 4 of the Railway Museum, Railway Museum, 2006Fig. 32 Exhibition on safety on the tracks, currently on show at world 4 of the Railway, Museum Railway Museum, 2011Fig. 33 Visitors enjoying the exhibition on safety on the tracks, currently on show at world 4 of the Railway Museum, Marieke Wijntjes, 2011Fig. 34 Playground at outside area of the Railway Museum, Railway Museum, 2010Fig. 35 Historic material at the outside area of the Railway Museum, Railway Museum, 2010Fig. 36 Visualization of the three narrative elements, Marlies Havenga, 2011Fig. 37 Model for narrative structure in crossmedia museum spaces, Marlies Havenga, 2011Fig. 38 Visualization of an Object driven space, Marlies Havenga, 2011Fig. 39 Visualization of a Story driven space, Marlies Havenga, 2011Fig. 40 Model for narrative structure and content in crossmedia museum spaces, Marlies Havenga, 2011Fig. 41 Visualization of a visitor driven space, Marlies Havenga, 2011Fig. 42 Model for narrative structure, content and interactivity in crossmedia museum spaces, Marlies Havenga, 2011 90
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    • Appendix 2
    • = Local media thread = Entry on a mobile device or text = Film display on location = Mobile media thread = Text on location = Booklet = Audio fragment = Audio tour1. Which plots and subplots (or theme’s) do I want to bring across?2. What is the norm I want to set the visitor?3. To what do the objects in this exhibition refer?4. What is the point of departure?5. What generic narrative type suits the content best?6. How do the subplots and theme’s relate to one another and how can I communicate these relations through space syntax?7. What content qualifies as breach material and where can I highlight these contrasts best?8. What are the target groups I’m adressing with this material?9. Which narrative elements belong in the plot of the story and can not be omitted by the visitor?10. How and where does the visitor add to the exhibition?