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Closing Plenary: National Digital Forum

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Held in October, in Wellington.
Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_IFcP-juTg

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Closing Plenary: National Digital Forum

  1. 1. Assumption, Attention, Articulation George Oates gfns.uk @goodformand National Digital Forum Wellington, 2015 Hello! Thank you to Andy, Thomasin, and the rest of the NDF team for inviting me to come, to Raynor and her team for superb planning, and to the Auckland War Memorial Museum for supporting my journey to be here today.
  2. 2. By way of introduction, this is a map of me.
  3. 3. 1973-2003 Adelaide
  4. 4. 1973-2003 Adelaide Bad student, bike courier, fell into the web, by George! web design
  5. 5. 2003-2005 Vancouver Ludicorp, Flickr
  6. 6. 2005-2014 San Francisco Flickr, Flickr Commons, Internet Archive, Stamen Design
  7. 7. 2014 — London All of that experience has culminated in a new design firm I’ve set up this year in London. You’re only young once, and I’m not young anymore, so I decided to get my act together.
  8. 8. gfns.uk It’s called Good, Form & Spectacle. That URL there will direct you to all the projects I’ll talk about in a bit, so make a note of it, then sit back, and relax. But not too much.
  9. 9. My current business plan is a bit Robin Hood-y. I specialise in making exploratory interfaces to large content collections, so I’m working with clients doing that, but…
  10. 10. R&D Tools, Products Clients I’m working hard to construct the company along three lines: R&D, Tools and Products, and Client projects. So far, the balance between R&D is about 60/40, and I’d love to try to keep it that way. I have a deep love of noodling about on projects, and it’s so important to have time to think and make things that have no commercial imperative. It’s ideal if one can lead to the other and back again. Melissa told us yesterday about the Innovation Lab here at Te Papa, and Paula too, about DX at the State Library of NSW… it’s a great trend, to give your people space and time to experiment and research ideas. I’ll show you a bit of the work we’re doing later on.
  11. 11. What is museum practice? Today, I’d like to talk to you about assumptions we make, attention we give, and how thinking through articulation of our collections can prove useful. I’m mostly working on interaction design projects for big content systems, and it’s my contention that we’re still echoing the origins of kunstkammern that emerged in the 16th Century in online experiences. Everything you’ve collected is displayed, and how much people can see online is proportional to your institutional status. And that’s even after about 50 years of computing in the sector. The good thing is, displaying everything is fertile ground for a designer like me, and you’ll see that in a couple of our projects in a bit.
  12. 12. In a digital context, we’re still looking for great ways to show curatorial, or even editorial depth at scale. Many interfaces to cultural collections today either force you to search, or overwhelm you with explanation, instead of Showing The Things, and letting you explore. I liked what Claire told us this morning about Free Range Learning. While museums in particular are very good at facilitating this in the physical realm, I think we’re still searching for it online.
  13. 13. I’d like you to carry with you a concept called The Speed Burden, developed by landscape designer and urbanist, Steve Mouzon. http://www.originalgreen.org/blog/costs-of-sprawl---the-speed.html
  14. 14. Florence vs Atlanta Florence Atlanta These are overhead shots of old Florence, and Atlanta today. People and horses move slowly, and Florence is designed for this. The streets are tight and cars must drive slowly there. But, as speed of vehicles increases, so does the need for space, basically to allow those vehicles to turn without an accident. The Duomo basically fits inside that spaghetti bit in Atlanta.
  15. 15. Florence vs Atlanta Wander Search This concept feels like a nice metaphor to how we operate online today, particularly in the case of current design thinking around cultural catalogues. Search is the dominant paradigm, but I don’t think that’s how humans operate in a cultural context as their default. I think it’s much more about wandering, and we’re still not doing that well. Museums are so good at helping people wander in physical spaces, but we’re just not there yet online.
  16. 16. “It’s terribly important to get as much stuff out as possible.” –Roy Strong, 1972 The other introductory idea is that openness and sharing and all that is not a new idea. That’s what it’s been about since the great kunstkammern days in the 1500s. Perhaps now though, expectations have changed about what should be available to who, and when and how. As we heard from Ben yesterday, the very nature of access is changing, so much that that word is losing its usefulness, because there are so many new possibilities. This is Roy Strong, who was a very young director of the National Portrait Gallery, and then the V&A in London. He’s an interesting character who things well about what museum means, and even 40 years ago, was advocating openness.
  17. 17. Assumption I was happy to take the chance to reflect a bit on what I’ve seen as change since my early work in the cultural sector. I started this work in 2008 in developing The Commons on Flickr, and was lucky to come to NDF that year to speak about it. That year was fascinating, because I spoke to people working in museums, libraries and archives all over the world, who were all taking tentative steps into the public web. I very much enjoy a peripheral perspective on those very different types of organisations.
  18. 18. 2008 1. We can’t share that. 2. We can make money! 3. If we put this on the internet, we have to control what people say about it. Talk about each one. I’m not sure if these have gone away just yet, but they’ve certainly transformed.
  19. 19. 2015 1. Screen = Touch screen 2. I can get anything on the internet. 3. People know what they’re looking for. 4. This is only for researchers. 5. Make sure they steal our version. 6. We should outsource our authority. It’s hard to write a list of present assumptions… I’m sure if I asked each of you what you assume about working with the web, I’d get 200 different answers. These are just a short list of assumptions I’m poking at. They’re the ones I find a bit contradictory, and interesting. 1, 2 - public expectations around interaction and availability 3, 4 - “from a user point of view” 5, 6 - angst
  20. 20. 4. This is only for researchers. I’m lucky that I get to work across lots of different institutions, and it’s surprising how often you hear a defence of a shit interface described as “it’s for researchers”. When my godson turned 5, I gave him a present. It looked a bit like this ruby, and it was so big it hardly fitted in his hand. I got it at the V&A shop. Today, some seven years later, he has a huge rock collection, and is really interested in geology. I just got him the ruby because his name is Ruben, but it blossomed into a research interest for him. Stop saying ‘this is just for researchers’. Even researchers appreciate good design, but apart from that, surely you want to encourage exploration by audiences who could become interested in further research? To encourage porto-researchers? (That’s a bigger audience, isn’t it?)
  21. 21. We should outsource our authority. I wanted to pull this one out singly too, because it’s surprised me. It’s prevalent in library land, to pay sometimes quite exorbitant fees to external parties to purchase metadata records, and even to improve metadata using external authorities. We’re seeing increasing use of normal humans to perform metadata creation and clean-up tasks, which is good and should keep going. There’s just a little niggle in my mind about using these big metadata clearinghouses all the time, because, in addition to propagating errors like a virus, it also gives away control. I asked to the lead cataloguer at a big library in London when was the last time she’d written an original catalogue record, and she couldn’t remember.
  22. 22. Make sure they steal our version. This is a really interesting change, to me. It’s an acknowledgement of the nature of the web, and that people reuse, remix and steal stuff all the time. Taco Dibbits, Rijksmuseum “With the internet, it’s so difficult to control your copyright or use of images that we decided we’d rather people use a very good high-resolution image of the ‘Milkmaid’ from the Rijksmuseum rather than using a very bad reproduction.”
  23. 23. The Princess from the Land of Porcelain, James McNeill Whistler, 1863-1865.  Sara Stierch has started a Tumblr that collects crappy reproductions, “art with an identity problem”. http://yellowmilkmaidsyndrome.tumblr.com The original is held at the Freer-Sackler in DC.
  24. 24. Unprecedented Access But! Wow. Look how much more we can all see online now. I’ve officially lost count of the photos in the Commons on Flickr, or the number of institutions who’ve now put their metadata online or are now sharing images… all the numbers of things are in the millions and billions and that’s fantastic. Precedents are getting old now, and it’s becoming normal.
  25. 25. Just magic.
  26. 26. I mean, look at the wonderful botanical detail. Just wow. Nice to see they mowed the lawn in 1592.
  27. 27. Attention I’ve also been wondering about how human attention has changed in the last 8 years, and I think it has, a lot. You might be familiar with Linda Stone’s theory of Continuous Partial Attention. She’s a writer and researcher who worked at Apple for ages, then Microsoft Research, and coined the phrase as early as 1998. It’s the idea that we all work on a variety of little things at once. Deep dives are difficult. I know I struggle to read long things on the web, and even on paper these days, to my detriment I’m sure.
  28. 28. But, we give our attention to lots of things, even if it’s in little bits. And lots of us do. Facebook reported a billion users in a single day in August.
  29. 29. That’s about 1 in 7 of us.
  30. 30. 30 But here’s the crazy part. As this article from February this year stated, loads of people who use Facebook don’t even realise they’re on the internet (or that there’s more to see than Facebook). (Have you got your Facebook page up yet?) :) http://qz.com/333313/milliions-of-facebook-users-have-no-idea-theyre-using-the-internet/
  31. 31. PewDiePie We’re also giving our attention to people like this. He’s a cute Swedish guy that goes by the moniker, PewDiePie.
  32. 32. 32 PewDiePie He makes rude, inane, funny videos on the web, often about narrating game play, and making the players do stupid, weird stuff like bashing each other with shopping trolleys.
  33. 33. I thought about playing you a video, but there’s more inanity and swearing that even I’m comfortable to promote.
  34. 34. 34 But, he’s funny and cute, so there’s that.
  35. 35. He has 40 million followers.
  36. 36. I’ve been following Kim Kardashian on Instagram with about 46 million of my fellow humans for the past month or so, and I think it’s making me dumber. I’ll be stopping this basic research after the conference. 46 million humans tune into her photostream for a moment here, a moment there, and she’s carved a brand and manipulated the intimate medium of instagram to make her watchers feel like they’re her friend.
  37. 37. The irony. Someone has chosen to highlight the only viewer actually paying attention, so we can spot her quickly. https://twitter.com/waynedahlberg/status/647631533046562816
  38. 38. This is a photo taken just before the new iphone came out last month. It’s lots of mostly men queuing in line to buy as many phones as they can afford. It’s really weird how Apple has entirely captured our attention. When I lived in San Francisco, just about everyone I know would drop everything to watch whatever Keynote was happening. Mac lovers have all been trained — me included — to buy their expensive shit, and make Apple one of the most valuable companies on the planet.
  39. 39. Timo Arnall And yet, our attention often looks like this. This is a photograph by my friend, Timo Arnall. He’s been documenting and studying “People Looking At Their Phones” for about 10 years… It’s well worth a look. And they’re great subjects, because they don’t know you’re looking at you. Their attention is fixed, even though it may be continuously distributed across a whole bunch of services and tasks. Even though there are a bunch of us tethered to our devices these days, there are also incredible, human things happening en masse.
  40. 40. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 UN Women On the 14th of April last year, 276 schoolgirls were kidnapped from Government Secondary School, Chibok by Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria. 57 escaped, and 219 are still missing. Girls at the Federal Government Girls College (FGGC) in the town of Abaji, Nigeria, flash the hashtag that has gone viral around the world, urging the return of the girls abducted last month from another Federal Government Girls College in Chibok. Photo: UN Women/Mariam Kamara - See more at: http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2014/5/ed-visits- school-in-nigeria#sthash.YHwlF87L.dpuf http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2014/5/ed-visits-school-in-nigeria https://www.flickr.com/photos/unwomen/14199849046/
  41. 41. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chibok_schoolgirls_kidnapping#/media/File:Michelle-obama-bringbackourgirls.jpg This feels to me like some kind of renewed humanism. I’m certainly not a Renaissance scholar, but new reflection and study of humanism was central to the first Renaissance. Back then, people were reading the Classical texts, but now, we’re seeing each other instead. Just like Tim told us yesterday, “I just saw a person, and there’s power in that.”
  42. 42. Sky Ladder, Cai Guo-Qiang “In June, Cai ignited Sky Ladder in his home town of Quanzhou in Fujian. In addition to looking lovely as it rose over Huiyu Islet—a traditional fishing village far from the kinds of structures rising so high elsewhere in China—Sky Ladder also served as a birthday present for Cai’s 100-year-old grandmother.” Attention today feels like this a bit. http://www.citylab.com/design/2015/08/this-ladder-of-fireworks-is-taller-than-any-building-in-america/401069/
  43. 43. Cai Guo-Qiang - Drawing with Gunpowder - The Artist's Studio - MOCAtv Cai Guo-Qiang is a favourite artist of mine. When I saw his ladder, I poked deeper to see what other stuff I could find, and saw that he’d done some kind of residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA.
  44. 44. © Yayoi Kusama I only realised last night that I’ve incorporated a bunch of art as conceptual hooks for this talk, and I’ve enjoyed that. There’s a huge swathe of artists who’ve responded to what I think is the collision of humans and computing — or at least I think so — and I’ve referenced some of them in this talk today. This is a work by Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama. It was first installed at the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art in 2002. The work begins as a completely white living room, and is gradually covered in brightly coloured dots by visitors. Feels like crowdsourcing. I liked Ben’s point yesterday about casual effort and expert input. Even though Clay Shirky says we should be making systems where anyone can contribute any amount, I’m still curious to hear much more about the results of public participation, particularly in terms of metadata enhancement finding its way into official catalogues, or actual intellectual depth or advancement.
  45. 45. 46 This article came out a few days ago about MoMA beginning to host monthly Wikipedia edit-a-thons. It’s a great endorsement of the platform, and also a clever, gentle shepherding by the museum towards better articles about things they know about. This is good! An interesting comment on the article by a Wade Harshman said, “I'm glad to see MoMA is also maintaining possession of its own web page and information authority.  This is, after all, what the Wikipedia pages will rely on.  Far too many organizations are surrendering their proprietary footprints on the web.”
  46. 46. I like watching how people move in museums. It’s ponderous. But it can also be super fast, but it’s not like search. I sat in the same spot, a small room in a big museum in London, and I witnessed two young women stride into the space — completely miss the HOLY THORN RELIQUARY CONTAINING A THORN THAT MAY HAVE PIERCED JESUS’S BROW — whip out their phones in tandem, and take simultaneous photos of the first big shiny thing in the space. Their eyes had moved on to the next possible shot before they’d even taken the first shot. It was a weird and funny.
  47. 47. This is Barbara Hepworth, a famous British sculptor. Apart from her work being lovely, and often designed to be outside in a particular place, I like the way she thinks about interaction with it. “Sculpture communicates an immediate sense of life - you can feel the pulse of it. It is perceived, above all, by the sense of touch, which is our earliest sensation” http://barbarahepworth.org.uk/texts/ Image: http://thatsnotmyage.com/style-inspiration/barbara-hepworth-at-the-tate/
  48. 48. “At its best, Hepworth’s work is like an invigorating walk by the sea. What a shame, then, that Tate has trapped her sculptures in airless vitrines” http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/jun/22/barbara-hepworth-tate-britain-review-sculptors-open-air-spirit-gets- locked-away
  49. 49. It’s that idea fo search vs wonder, for me. These were a couple of drawings I made as I prepared the talk. The top left is the pervasive paradigm for using cultural stuff online. It’s a search, retrieve, go back, try again type of thing. The recognition of, and design for, things that are part of a network, is much more native to the web, and a method that humans handle well, I think.
  50. 50. Florence vs Atlanta It’s instinct versus speed, or something.
  51. 51. Kevin Brown, Mr. Penicillin Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum in London
  52. 52. Wait. Are we still broadcasting? Web 2.0 data is alive Recognition, literacy, comprehension, manipulation, creativity We’re still searching for the transformations from information to experience, knowing to feeling, things to stories.
  53. 53. Articulation Now I’d like to share with you the work that my firm has been making this year. Broadly speaking, I’ve been exploring the idea of articulation. TIME CHECK - 30 mins to go?
  54. 54. 55 One kind of articulation is about good pronounciation, how well you can say the sounds that make words. http://www.mimicmethod.com/place-of-articulation.html
  55. 55. Isolation Syllables Words Phrases Sentences Reading Conversation Articulation and speech therapists work along a spectrum from competence to mastery. I wonder where we are in this idea in terms of digital collections and their articulation. Not much further than syllables or words, I think. This predominant search mechanism feels very similar to being able to isolate a phoneme, like ‘puh’ or ‘buh’.
  56. 56. 57 There’s another kind of articulation which relates to adding features or joints to a body so it can move in more directions… I like this too, as a device to think with in terms of moving through a cultural collection. How many pivots can we give an object to interconnect it? How can you articulate your collections?
  57. 57. Sawada Laboratory As I was researching this idea, I came across this weird-ass speech robot that was too weird not to share. Oddly, it also represents where we are - basic, obvious, and how far we can move forward in this space, I think. http://www.eng.kagawa-u.ac.jp/%7Esawada/index_e.html
  58. 58. In a digital space, I think the experience of exploring a catalogue is still adhering to this display cabinet mentality. Still feels like loads of things in boxes or shelves; like stuff in isolation. What a great opportunity! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabinet_of_curiosities
  59. 59. So it’s a return to this challenge of Kunstkammer vs Curatorial depth…
  60. 60. Victoria & Albert Museum “V&A Spelunker” This is a project we made using the British Museum catalogue (sadly after Mr Perry made his exhibition - it might have been useful).
  61. 61. Show Everything
  62. 62. Fairly blunt tool for exploration.
  63. 63. 64 Don’t underestimate the usefulness of a good old ranked list. They can give you quick answers and a good sense of the structure of the collection.
  64. 64. 65
  65. 65. 66
  66. 66. Catalogue as Landscape
  67. 67. Date Created Date Acquired Along the lines of Show Everything, I wanted to see if we could draw everything… We’re looking 1700-1800 Object per row, interactive 3 date inputs “completeness”
  68. 68. Date Created Date Acquired
  69. 69. Date Created Date Acquired Null / Not Known No acquisition date. Interesting how visuals like this are potentially very useful to staff inside the museum.
  70. 70. This is Grayson Perry, a British Turner Prize-winning artist. He made a brilliant exhibition at the British Museum called The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman. As well as showing objects from the BM collection, he made several pieces himself, including this tapestry you see behind him. His work is irreverant, beautiful, and slowly made. He thinks interestingly about the art world, and is well worth a look. But, in the catalogue, he said his:
  71. 71. “The relationship between my personal themes and obsessions and the vastness of world culture as represented by the British Museum is like a narrow pilgrimage trail across an infinite plane.” Grayson Perry “The relationship between my personal themes and obsessions and the vastness of world culture as represented by the British Museum is like a narrow pilgrimage trail across an infinite plane.” Grayson Perry Search vs Wayfinding Image of the City Paths, Nodes, Landmarks How do we create an Image of a Catalogue?
  72. 72. Two Way Street twoway.st This is a project we made using the British Museum catalogue (sadly after Mr Perry made his exhibition - it might have been useful).
  73. 73. twoway.st Guerilla “generous interface” And it’s attempting a scalable, editorial point of view about the acquisition history of the collection.
  74. 74. All decades since it opened in 1751
  75. 75. 1980s The BM acquired the most things in the 1980s… namely an enormous currency collection from a UK government department.
  76. 76. The second chart is filtered to only show us the acquisition pattern for 988 things from the Venetian School the BM has.
  77. 77. And this is 85,485 things about ‘classical deity’. Seems a consistently popular subject.
  78. 78. We can also filter each chart to show WHO the things were acquired FROM. Loads of stories in here. LOADS.
  79. 79. It’s a *very* simple data structure, and has short tidy URLs for everything.
  80. 80. Found In My favourite facet
  81. 81. Including Found In “?” Curious how much these sorts of visual interfaces can show data owners about their own catalogue. That’s an emerging theme in this work.
  82. 82. http://twoway.st/facets/found_in/Iraq,%20South Iraq, South
  83. 83. http://twoway.st/facets/found_in/Iraq,%20South A second visualisation, which also reacts to the list of stuff it’s displaying. The spots tell you proportions of types of things that make up this group of objects. So in this case, you can tell at a glance that most of the things from South Iraq in the collection is clay tablets, and about a quarter of it was collected in 1883.
  84. 84. That visualisation also gets scoped to what you’re looking at. Here’s that list of Iraq objects alongside “seals”. As in, not the animal, but the thing you seal things with.
  85. 85. Mostly carved, or paper; some badges, and things about body ornamentation.
  86. 86. Before I know it, I’ve travelled from Iraq to New Zealand, and it’s great.
  87. 87. Isabel is a Curator in the Prints & Drawings department @BritishMuseum, who I’ve now met through twoway.st. Useful to staff who operate with the collections every day. Externally produced digital reflection.
  88. 88. Wellcome Library whatsinthelibrary.com
  89. 89. Sir Henry Wellcome (1853 – 1936) was an American-British pharmaceutical entrepreneur. He patented medicine in tablet form, called a tabloid, and left a large amount of capital for charitable work in his will, which was used to form the Wellcome Trust. He was a keen collector of medical artifacts, and that’s led to one of the world’s best collections about medicine.
  90. 90. Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Scope of the Catalogue Show the THING (and not its record) Context, Context, Context Scaling Up
  91. 91. whatsinthelibrary.com
  92. 92. whatsinthelibrary.com We explicitly set up the project as a series of loose sketches. It was exciting that Jenn and her team at the Wellcome was open to, and excited about, working in public too. We just all sort of looked at each other early on and agreed it was a great thing to try. So, you can have a poke around all of this at your leisure, including the 60 or so blog posts we wrote on the project blog as we worked.
  93. 93. week 1 In the first week, it was our job to show the scope of the catalogue. We got a dump of MARC XML and tried to figure out its size and shape, somewhat naively. It was apparent that the Wellcome folk weren’t really sure of these sorts of totals for things, or at least, they were figures that aren’t normally reported on. We were the first to report on how many actually digitised things existed.
  94. 94. week 1 This was one of the first visualisations we drew. It’s a map of all the MARC fields we found in the data – 184 of them. We’ve shaded them based on how many records have a value in each field, where black is most used. It was a very quick indication for us of “data coverage” – we were looking for some kind of blunt measure of data quality, thinking that “presence of data” is a good one.
  95. 95. week 1 Here’s the second visualisation, which shows in more detail which MARC fields are populated.
  96. 96. week 1 The bottom one there, “The Long Tail”, is Organization and Arrangement of Materials, field 351.
  97. 97. week 1 For each of the subjects, we showed an individual row for each MaRC record, and highlighted different record types - library, archive, art. I was looking for insights into “completeness” or quality of records, or patterns that could indicate different human cataloguers.
  98. 98. week 1 For each of the subjects, we showed an individual row for each MaRC record, and highlighted different record types - library, archive, art. I was looking for insights into “completeness” or quality of records, or patterns that could indicate different human cataloguers.
  99. 99. week 1 This is an individual record. You can use every field to look for other stuff. Linking, linking, linking… Week 1 was about us Showing Everything. That’s a technique we’ve used in every project so far. Just draw everything you can, and interconnect it all. Then we moved on to Week 2: Show the Thing (and not just its record).
  100. 100. week 2 Tree graph of their iconographic (or art) collection - based on number of records in a type of thing.
  101. 101. Same list of things sorted by amount of digitised things. Wellcome has a collection of AIDS posters, which you can see dominating the display here.
  102. 102. week 2 Just draw it all, and add counts for things when you know them. We also added a small visual to show the percentage of digitised things.
  103. 103. week 2 Just draw it all, and add counts for things when you know them. We also added a small visual to show the percentage of digitised things.
  104. 104. whatsinthelibrary.comwellcomelibrary.orgweek 2 This is a comparison of two different designs of the same metadata record.
  105. 105. week 2 Just make everything bigger, oK?
  106. 106. week 2 Just make everything bigger, oK? Week 3…
  107. 107. week 3 Week 3: Content, Context James Gillray, satirical caricaturist and printmaker born in 1756. Lived through the birth of medicine in London, and was particularly scathing of quackery and politics of the period.
  108. 108. week 3 We ended up collaborating with the Wellcome team to make a giant webpage that showed all sorts of stuff we could find about James Gillray.
  109. 109. Content Scaffolding 1. About the thing 2. Themes around the thing 3. Connect to the rest of the collection 4. Connect to the rest of the web week 3 Here’s how we structured our work…
  110. 110. week 3 Lalita, the web editor at the library, selected some themes that worked for Gillray, like Vaccination and Quackery.
  111. 111. 112 week 3 Frankie and I also wrote all the copy that wasn’t from the catalogue… like, “Around 1798, Edward Jenner made the discovery that taking pus from a cow with cow pox (yes, a cow), and injecting that pus into a human, actually vaccinated the human against smallpox. Well, no wonder everyone thought he as a lunatic. Look, you can see Jenner in the print below, injecting pus into a skeptical woman surrounded by cow-humans.”
  112. 112. 113 week 3 We used the Google n-gram viewer to compare mentions of smallpox and vaccination in their text corpus. Though not Wellcome-specific, it was still interesting to note what happened around 1800.
  113. 113. 114 week 3 Vaccination comes into being, smallpox drops.
  114. 114. week 3 Manually created list of external systems that know about Gillray, connecting to about 50 different sources.
  115. 115. What does the web know about James Gillray? Can objects be internetually curious? That cracked open another research question for Good, Form & Spectacle which we’re starting to examine in another project about Curious Objects. What if objects look for representations or reflections of themselves online? More on that in a bit. Time check!!
  116. 116. “Scalability” N.B. In this box, folders numbered with a number beginning with 7 are numbered with videodisc frame numbers. To find the catalogue number, look up the 7… number in the catalogue (don’t enter the final i) then look there for the catalogue number (probably beginning with the numeral 2) !
  117. 117. week 4
  118. 118. week 4 Week 4: Try to scale the idea of context across the catalogue of about a million records.
  119. 119. week 4 http://scale.whatsinthelibrary.com/people Turn the people into characters… It’s nice how using these portraits from Wikipedia give you a sense for when these people were alive. We also grabbed birth/ death dates from the library catalogue where we could too. It was a surgical integration with a single other external source.
  120. 120. week 4
  121. 121. week 4 The Wellcome has a ton of weird stuff. http://scale.whatsinthelibrary.com/subjects/S46428
  122. 122. week 4
  123. 123. week 4
  124. 124. API as by-product http://scale.whatsinthelibrary.com/subjects/S46428.json All of our spelunker projects have spawned restful APIs.
  125. 125. British Museum (coming soon)
  126. 126. We’re in the middle of a project to make a mobile site for a specific collection held at the British Museum. It’s called the Waddesdon Bequest.
  127. 127. It’s a collection of about 280 things — interestingly, that number changes based on how you count things. They’re all beautifully crafted things, collected by the Rothschild family in the 1800s, and shown in Mr Rothschild’s Smoking Room.
  128. 128. The museum has fantastic photos of everything too, which we’re excited to show in full colour.
  129. 129. We’re taking the Show Everything and Spelunking approach with this smaller collection, and thinking about this idea of articulation too.
  130. 130. We’re also showing basic articulation elements too, like, how big things are, and which case they’re in. That’s a nice way to browse things too, because it gives you a sense of how things are arranged.
  131. 131. This shows you a selection of the objects with a tennis ball for scale. It’s still fairly simple articulation, but I think it’s fun and useful for people who can’t get to London.
  132. 132. github.com/goodformandspectacle We’re planning to release this code, to draw these shapes from dimension data, so you can use it too. You can find Good, Form & Spectacle on Github.
  133. 133. The Small Museum thesmallmuseum.org @thesmallmuseum Major R&D project for the company. Looking for a premises in London now. TIME CHECK
  134. 134. ~80% of institutions have less than 10 staff. I know this is a rubbery figure, but I’d guess it’s not far off. This is my new local library in London. What you don’t see in this photo is the two giant Bibliotecha machines that the librarian made me use to process what I wanted to borrow. Membership was handled on his terminal, but the catalog and borrowing wasn’t. He did admit that I could just come to the counter if I had to, or felt like a chat. (Photo taken by me)
  135. 135. International Council of Museums, UNESCO 2004 “The preparation of this book, Running a Museum: A Practical Handbook, came about at the request of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Cultural Heritage of Iraq.”
  136. 136. Studying the museum as subject, museum as medium, museum as technology (skills, methods, techniques)
  137. 137. First instantiation was in March this year, at big, fancy, Somerset House in London.
  138. 138. Tom Flynn Harriet Maxwell
  139. 139. The Collection 3D models from the British Museum. Selected because they were available, and come from all over the world.
  140. 140. Table is museum. Derived from its space, literally.
  141. 141. We had the space for 10 days. And there were ten objects in the collection.
  142. 142. Day 1 was about getting to know our new collection. We worked out where they were all from, when they were made, and when they were acquired by the museum.
  143. 143. Visualisation of geographical distribution
  144. 144. Each day we picked an object of focus. This is Hoa Hakanan’aia. We mapped his journey from Easter Island to the British Museum. Interesting side fact - he was acquired by the museum on the same day as the Rosetta Stone.
  145. 145. Day 4: Nandi Steed of Shiva. Nandi sits outside temples to Shiva. In real life, he’s surrounded by energy, people, flame, prayers and food. In the museum, he’s in a cold blue corridor, solitary and completely out of context.
  146. 146. I think it was the story behind our Rameses II that cemented my interest in revealing the acquisition history at the BM - and led to that editorial stance I too on Two Way Street, about acquisition. This guy, Henry Salt, was the British Consul General to Egypt for a short while, and in that time he sold over a thousand objects at auction to the British Museum, and profited personally. For this display, we printed out about 100 of the things he brought to England.
  147. 147. It was interesting to witness how, as we called ourselves “museum” people calmed as they entered, as if primed for something in particular. They also got to see us working in public, and witness a few more experiments we made. I’ll show you a couple more.
  148. 148. I knew I wanted to do a day’s work on Internet of Things ideas, where you connect things to the internet to see what new things can happen. The English gent voiceover was made in the museum, and the voice belongs to Geoff Browell, who popped in, and volunteered.
  149. 149. Curious about how the object itself could stimulate specific interfaces, in this case, using the Rosetta Stone replica as a trigger to translate things.
  150. 150. On our last day we did a quick augmented reality experiment with The Colossal Foot. This was a crowd favourite!
  151. 151. This is when we first got it running…
  152. 152. 159 We had some kiddie visitors too…
  153. 153. 160 And the next day, Harriet (their mum) brought in a museum in a box they’d made overnight. It is The Arthur and Henry Maxwell Bequest. Oh, shit. We’re going to be a museum of museums in boxes.
  154. 154. Somerset house visitors gave attention freely. Small museums are special because of the personal contact
  155. 155. “How does the museum, despite its best efforts to create certainty, produce unpredictability? Through fragmentation, aggregration, selection, juxtaposition, connection, contrast, excess, and confusion.” Barbara Kirshenblatt Gimblet
  156. 156. Lucas Blalock Good, Form & Spectacle is still in the Deconstruction phase and maybe for some time. Hell, maybe I'll be there forever “Use the dumbest tools bluntly” As somebody in the army once said, "If you hit something call it the target"
  157. 157. Thank You. gfns.uk glo@gfns.uk @goodformand Grayson Perry Thanks!

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