How many people have taken an audio or multimedia tour? Did they enjoy their experience?
Yet all too often, visitors complain that audio tours give them this sort of experience: http://geschiedenis.vpro.nl/themasites/mediaplayer/index.jsp?media=19799217&refernr=19265092&portalnr=4158511&hostname=geschiedenis&mediatype=video&portalid=geschiedenis Although this video shows an example of one of the earliest tour technologies from the 1960s, excavated by Loic Tallon, the perception of audio tours is that they are not terribly different today in terms of inspiring a herd mentality among users, producing crowding around exhibits and a sort of dumbed-down, one-size-fits-all experience. All the issues that have plagued audio tours throughout their history are visible here: The linearity of the tour lead to a herd-mentality among visitors and crowding around exhibits In addition the challenges of: Hygiene: led to one of the earliest audio tour technology debates: headphones vs wands? Distribution issues always a challenge, but complexity also driven by technology choices, including the headphones or wand choice Very homogenous audience
Another way to represent this is as a multi-tiered architecture with up to three kinds of content: 1. -+-+-+-+-+ The Soundtrack 2. o o o o o The Soundbites 3. / | / | / Links
Museums are very good at soundbites: the wall label can be seen as a very basic, text-based soundbite. Although writing for the ear or video is not the same as writing for a label or catalogue, it is not such a huge task for museum staff to gain these skills and be able to produce good quality scripts for stops in-house. By contrast, you want a good storyteller writing your soundtracks if you don’t have someone as eloquent ‘off-the-cuff’ as Nicholas Serota!
What I like about this soundtrack; Given by the curator: visitors always like hearing from the expert, as long as s/he speaks relatively well! He gives us an overview with basic tools to understand Twombly’s work, both in this exhibition and beyond. He gives us a behind-the-scenes view, insight into what curation and the work of the museum is all about.
Reading the curator’s intention Keys to understanding the exhibition/display in its entirety Faster than reading (usually stops are slower than reading)
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 example Need to redefine 3 rd party content and think about it beyond ‘user-generated content’: e.g. SmartHistory.org
Thinking outside the audio tour box: Nancy Proctor Smithsonian American Art Museum Using front-end and formative evaluations to design new mobile experiences
Organize questions Painting Sculpture Folk Art Architecture Dramatic change in style in display Why multiples of same work? Lures aren’t art Story behind the architecture Triple painting?! Memory vessels: idea, ones with stones… Glad you dead you rascal you?!
Provides a sequential narrative and contextual information: tools for understanding the principles of the displays, both in the gallery and beyond .
Immersive, but may be divided into a number of connected segments.
‘ Downloaded’ for audiences on-site and beyond.
Like a good album, book or catalogue, should be possible to enjoy over & over again…
ArtBabble: the ideal interface http://www.artbabble.org/video/meet-william-christenberry
Identify soundtracks & soundbites Painting Sculpture Folk Art Architecture Dramatic change in style in display Why multiples of same work? Lures aren’t art Story behind the architecture Triple painting?! Memory vessels: idea, ones with stones… Glad you dead you rascal you?!
The right vehicle for your content Audio player Multimedia player Cellphone Personal media player Smart Mobile Browser phones Mobile App Soundtrack x x (x) X X X Soundbite X X X x X X Interactive X X X Link X X x Feedback X X X Social media X X