* Has this ever happened to you taking an audio tour? Expresses the aim of interpretation, be it in the gallery or elsewhere: to help us connect with what we’re seeing, care about it, and thereby open up to learning about it.
Peter Samis, also, has put interpretation at the center of SFMOMA’s mobile program, guided by the belief that visitors need more help connecting with some of the things museums exhibit than others. You may be familiar with his concept of ‘visual velcro’: works that don’t have it – are visual ‘teflon’, need interpretation in order to engage audiences in unlocking and appreciating all of their rich complexity.
Some are now predicting that mobile devices will be our primary means of accessing the Internet by 2020. If that sounds like a dotcom boom kind of prediction, that’s probably a fair way to characterize the hype.In comparison to fixed web’s development history, mobile is somewhere between 1995 and 1998: a wild, wild west boom town where fortunes are going to be made and lost probably even faster than in the 20th century. But don’t get me wrong: I’m a believer!
Another way to represent this is as a multi-tiered architecture with up to three kinds of content:1. -+-+-+-+-+ The Soundtrack2. o o o o o The Soundbites3. / | / | / Links
But both the Tate & SFMOMA examples are linear media: not perhaps the best interface for accessing information on a mobile device, whether used inside the gallery or outside.ArtBabble offers a model for what could be an ideal interface for combining soundtrack, soundbites and links to third party content.It allows us to choose either to watch or hear a soundtrack overview of the exhibition or collection linearly, but also offers a notation system that can create ‘stops’ or soundbites at any point along that linear timeline.William Christenberry exampleNeed to redefine 3rd party content and think about it beyond ‘user-generated content’: e.g. SmartHistory.org
Like museums, mobile lends itself both to the extreme personalization of niche activities, and to connecting disparate, passionate subject specialists and longtail markets. There is a powerful network effect of connecting lots and lots of people who are passionate about the same niches. As some of you may be aware, the niche I’m rather passionate about is mobile in museums: interpretation, games, crowdsourcing, social media.So I have been asking myself of late: what would a mobile social media experience be that connects museums’ strengths in niche content and collections with the passion and power of niche communities in the distributed network?So I’d like to try out an idea on you. This is a very fresh and raw idea, just formed this past weekend when I was working with a team at Wyspa Art Institute in Gdansk, Poland on an upcoming contemporary art festival called Alternativa.
In this project I’d like to leverage the fact that mobile is both very social and very personal. Mobile is an ideal vehicle for niche content, experiences & audiences because both personal – intimate, even - and social.The highly personal nature of the mobile experience also makes mobile a great vehicle for the kind of niche content and experiences that museums excel at. + How many people do you let whisper in your ear?Or put content onto your personal, mobile device that is always with you, and usually carried very close to your body? Although it’s arguably the social applications that make mobile products revolutionary, it may just be the intimate, personal nature of the mobile experience that ‘makes them stick(y)’! ;-)
I’d like to think outside the audiotour box a bit to go from headphones to microphones
And I’d like to meet people where they are, and take them some place new by connecting them to a network, however, niche, of people who share their interests.
And my desire to create a mobile experience that is a social media platform, an opportunity for encounter and meaning-making of the most personal and powerful sort, is inspired by the work of Joanna Rajkowska, a Polish artist whose work I first encountered at Wyspa in Dec 2009. In her work she creates platforms and meeting spaces, “agora”…
The festival will take place in and around the Wyspa Institute of Art,
Which is located in the Gdansk Shipyard
This is where the Solidarity movement started; these are the gates behind which the striking shipyard workers barricaded themselves, and in front of which tanks waited.
It is the shipyard where Lech Walensa worked as an electrician; his workshop has been reinstalled and opened to the public as both an artwork and a tourist attraction by artist Grzegorz Klaman
The art festival will include contemporary artworks installed in and around this evocative industrial estate, which is both on the national register of historic sites and a functioning shipyard even today.
And there are ambitious urban revitalization plans to develop a ‘young city’ in the heart of the shipyard.
So I’m thinking about a way to connect on-site visitors to the festival with the past, the present, and the future of the site, as well as with the art and audiences interested in all of these who might be reached through the Internet.My proposal is to provide what is at first glance a fairly simple mobile interpretation solution for on-site visitors. It will offer images and audio, text and video about the artworks in the festival but also the locations they are place in. Augmented reality – both visual and audio – will help people glance backwards and forwards in time to consider the evolution of the shipyard. Visitors will be able to take photos of whatever interests them, but also bookmark or collect items and information of interest to them from their self-guided tour.
Elsewhere, online visitors will be able to access anonymous collections of saved items and new photos from on-site visitors. A story-writing game will encourage and help them to ‘connect the dots’ – to write a narrative that makes sense of each personal collection of photos and artifacts. It is a way for remote visitors to connect to Gdansk, the shipyard, and the Alternativa Festival at Wyspa even if they can’t visit in person.And it is a way for people interested in art, in history, in the solidarity movement, ship-building or urban renewal to find each other and connect in a Twitter-style way that permits as much or as little anonymity as participants like. Perhaps most importantly, the game foregrounds the subjectivity and the relativity of history and art history. It is, perhaps, one way to make of the experience a distributed network where the whole is much greater, and much more sustainable, than the sum of its parts.
So what do you think: will you consign my idea to the rubbish heap of conference history, or has it got legs?
Design for Mobile Workshop
From Headphones to Microphones<br />Visitor-led mobile experience design for museums<br />Nancy Proctor, Smithsonian Institution<br />Design for Mobile Workshop, 24 September 2010<br />
Agenda for Today:<br />8:30-9:00 Introductions<br />9:00-10:00 Theory:audience-led mobile content & experience design<br />- 30 min break -<br />10:30-11:45 Practice: key messages, audiences & their questions<br />- 15 min break -<br />12:00-12:30 From headphones to microphones: from I do the talking to you do the talking!<br />
Introductions<br />8:30–9:00<br />Introduce yourself by name and affiliation;<br />Tell us your burning question or issue that you hope will be addressed today.<br />
Part 1: Theory<br />9:00–10:00<br />Interpretation is essential<br />Why mobile?<br />A new approach to designing mobile interpretation and experiences<br />From headphones…<br />to microphones<br />
Part 1: The Theory9:00-10:00Audience-led mobile interpretation design<br />6<br />
Tate Modern’sPrinciples of Interpretation<br />Interpretation is at the heart of the gallery’s mission.<br />Works of art do not have self-evident meanings. <br />Works of art have a capacity for multiple readings; interpretation should make visitors aware of the subjectivity of any interpretive text. <br />Interpretation embraces a willingness to experiment with new ideas.<br />We recognise the validity of diverse audience responses to works of art.<br />Interpretation should incorporate a wide spectrum of voices and opinions from inside and outside the institution.<br />Visitors are encouraged to link unfamiliar artworks with their everyday experience.<br />
In the Museum as Distributed Network…<br />13<br />
…at least half of the Museum’s platforms are already mobile.<br />14<br />
So if we want to meet our audiences where they are<br />And take them some place new…<br />
Mobile is a great vehicle<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ILQrUrEWe8<br />16<br />
But if we want to go beyond this:<br />We need to think outside the audio tour box<br />
It’s NOT about the Technology<br />Fraunhofer Institute, Kunstmuseum Bonn: ‘Beat Zoderer’ exhibition (Listen project) 2003<br />Fraunhofer Institute, Kunstmuseum Bonn: ‘Beat Zoderer’ exhibition (Listen project) 2003<br />
Thinking outside the audiotour box<br />Means thinking about content & experience<br />
Recent Research & Resourceshttp://wiki.MuseumMobile.info/research<br />2010<br />Smithsonian studies of Mall and Zoo visitors <br />2009<br />CHNM survey on Museums and Mobile Adoption<br />Learning Times International Survey on handheld use in museums.<br />2008<br />Whitney Museum of American Art: Audio Guide Technologies Survey Final Report<br />2007<br />Matthew Barney: Multiplatform interpretation at SFMOMA<br />La Placa Cohen Culture Track 2007 (with Antenna Audio)<br />
Who is your target audience?<br /><ul><li>Tied to mission & key messages
What are the desired outcomes? What do we want them to know, think and/or feel?
What platforms do they already use? How do they use them elsewhere & what excites them?
Mobile social media: SMS, Twitter, FB…</li></li></ul><li>A Minority of Visitors Use Technologies in the Galleries<br />BUT they use technology everywhere else:<br />WWW = Whatever, Whenever, Wherever<br />2006 study by Randi Korn & Associates at SFMOMA<br />
What do they want to know?<br />Question mapping in the gallery:<br /><ul><li>Semi-structured interviews
Questions posed to staff…</li></li></ul><li>Collecting questions…<br />Online question collection: <br /><ul><li>Specialized Q&A services, e.g. AJOA
Comments on social media sites</li></ul>Include audience research in order to segment<br />Go deeper with more experienced museum visitors<br />Where are visitors not being served by existing interpretation?<br />
Organize & Filter<br />Group questions:<br /><ul><li>Thematically
Mobile giving</li></li></ul><li>The right vehicle for your content<br />
Platform considerations<br />Users’ own devices or supplied on-site?<br />Can you support network connectivity at your site?<br />Can you support multiple platforms?<br />What kind of location-based/content triggering solution do your visitors & experience need – really?<br />Can you manage user-generated content?<br />What do your sponsors/funders require?<br />
Mission:SI: Increase and diffusion of knowledge.AA: Be the resource and facilitator for experiencing, understanding and engaging with American art in the US and the world.Objectives: Repeat visitors; Membership sales; Integration into the curriculum<br />
Break 10:00–10:30Please have a meaningful object & pen/pencil when you return for Part 2…<br />
Part 2: The Practice10:30–11:45Key messages, target audiences & their questions<br />44<br />
What are our audiences<br />looking for?<br />
2. Record your questions about The Museum of Meaningful Things<br />20 min<br />The Museum’s Mission: Enable meaningful conversations & build ad hoc communities & collaborations around personal objects & their stories. <br />Install your exhibition<br />Record your questions<br />Ask the curator<br />
10 min<br />3. Identify the key messages<br /><ul><li>Please list 1-3 main ideas visitors will take away from visiting the site or exhibition. What objects or didactic components of the presentations will help them learn this?
Describe the rationale and originality of the presentation. Is the site or exhibition bringing new scholarship to the field, exposing an under-recognized subject, etc.? Why is this presentation important now?
Please note other interpretive components at the site that should be considered (labels, docent tours, audio tour, in-gallery videos, interactive feature, blogs, etc.). Are you aware of existing media created by other organizations that address the key messages/topics of this presentation? How does mobile fit into the interpretive mix?</li></ul>SFMOMA's "Interpretive Goals Questionnaire”<br />http://www.archimuse.com/mw2009/papers/samis/samis.html<br />
3. Who will speak to these questions?<br />10 min<br />
10 min<br />4. Put the experience in context<br />On-site or Online visit<br />Visit life cycle: Before, During, After <br />Special context: At home, In school, On the go…<br />Networked or ‘on board’?<br />Other interpretation, information or services available? <br />Museum-authored<br />User-generated<br />Third parties <br />
5. Choose your platform<br />15 min<br />Users’ own devices or supplied on-site?<br />Can you support network connectivity at your site?<br />Can you support multiple platforms?<br />What kind of location-based/content triggering solution do your visitors & experience need – really?<br />Can you manage user-generated content?<br />What do your sponsors/funders require?<br />
Part 3: From Headphones to Microphones<br />12:00-12:30<br />Let’s hear you!<br />From “we do the talking” to “we help you do the talking.”<br />http://picasaweb.google.com/anup.rao/HaifaAkkoIsrael#4954285426665324562<br />
Opportunities to continue our work:<br />http://museummobile.info/ wiki, blog & podcasts<br />MCN Conference Oct 27-30, 2010, Austin, TX http://MCN.edu<br />Mobile Content Standards Summit 27 Oct, at MCNhttp://wiki.museummobile.info/standards<br />http://tatehandheldconference.pbworks.com<br />Koven Smith: http://kovenjsmith.com& http://www.archimuse.com/mw2009/papers/smith/smith.html<br />SFMOMA (Peter Samis & Stephanie Pau): http://www.archimuse.com/mw2007/papers/samis/samis.html & http://www.archimuse.com/mw2009/papers/samis/samis.html<br />Nancy Proctor: ProctorN@si.edu @nancyproctor http://MuseumMobile.info<br />With many thanks to Kate Haley-Goldman for help with this method!<br />
Here’s one I made earlier…<br />Idea by Grzegorz Klaman Wyspa Institute of Art, Gdansk, Poland<br />