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Narrativestructurein3 d

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  9. 9. 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
  10. 10. 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
  11. 11. 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
  12. 12. 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: 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 6
  13. 13. 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
  14. 14. 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
  15. 15. 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
  16. 16. 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
  17. 17. 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
  18. 18. 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
  19. 19. 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
  20. 20. 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
  21. 21. 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
  22. 22. 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
  23. 23. 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
  24. 24. 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
  25. 25. 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
  26. 26. 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
  27. 27. 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
  28. 28. 1.2 MUSEUMS AS NARRATIVE CROSSMEDIA SPACES 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
  29. 29. 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
  30. 30. 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
  31. 31. 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
  32. 32. 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
  33. 33. 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
  34. 34. 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
  35. 35. 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
  36. 36. 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
  37. 37. 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
  38. 38. 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
  39. 39. 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
  40. 40. 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
  41. 41. 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
  42. 42. 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
  43. 43. 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
  44. 44. 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
  45. 45. 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
  46. 46. 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
  47. 47. 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
  48. 48. 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
  49. 49. 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
  50. 50. 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
  51. 51. 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
  52. 52. 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
  53. 53. 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
  54. 54. 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
  55. 55. 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
  56. 56. 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
  57. 57. 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
  58. 58. Fig. 35Historic material at the outside area of the Railway Museum 52
  59. 59. 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
  60. 60. 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
  61. 61. 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
  62. 62. 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
  63. 63. 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