Peter Samis Associate Curator  Interpretation Who has the responsibility for saying what we see? Museums & the Web 2008 • ...
Olafur Eliasson:  An art of perception …  and participation .
Work as phenomenon-maker: perceptual stimulator & change agent
A Radical Stance:
“ Objecthood  doesn’t have a place in the world if there’s not  an individual person  making use of that object.”  A Radic...
“ I of course don’t think my work is about my work. I think my work is about  you .”
Enter…
The Challenge:   to encourage visitors in their own critical process of self-observation
Inviting visitor voices —& experiences— to  complement  our own :
The   Good News <ul><li>They came  </li></ul><ul><li>They reacted </li></ul><ul><li>They wrote </li></ul><ul><li>> 400 com...
The   Not-so-good  News <ul><li>Comments represented only 2% of total blog visitors  </li></ul><ul><li>Greater interest in...
A sampling:
Visitor data sample: Grist for the Mill. <ul><li>understanding visitor motivations  (entrance narratives) </li></ul><ul><l...
Your mobile expectations  got people going…
 
Sometimes the discussion got hot & heavy:  (of course interspersed with other random comments in true blog style!)
What is the value of comments such as these?  <ul><li>What do  YOU  think? </li></ul>
What are the  criteria  of value for the comments?  <ul><li>…  and by whose standard? </li></ul><ul><li>The Artist’s? </li...
If the goal was to get people to write and reflect on their art experience, we may have succeeded.  <ul><li>(Getting them ...
But if the goal is to initiate a meaningful dialogue between visitors and the Museum, then we failed.  <ul><li>We said our...
They were the only ones in the room.
First generation art museum blog sites in the US were dominated by museum voices.
Next came art exhibition blog sites that started with authority voices and then opened the door to visitor comments.
What will be next?   <ul><li>Will we actually get in the room with our visitors and dialogue? </li></ul>
In fact, part of what we’re trying to do is bridge a cultural chasm. Where experts & novices have meaningful things to say...
Look at this perfect storm of pent-up comments:
294 comments within a day. Articulate, considered, impassioned.
And two weeks later:
On the other hand, is it enough to host a compilation of  Me stories  or does something else have to be at stake? Some gre...
The Eliasson project got us part way. Nina Simon’s Hierarchy of Social Participation
But maybe it’s not just a blog that gets us there. (cf.SFMOMA’s new Community Producer) Nina Simon’s “Web 2.0 for Museum P...
A social interaction that feels  meaningful, rich and compelling  to people inside and outside the museum. Structured so t...
Ideas?
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Samis-SayingWhatWeSee_MW2008

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Presentation given at Museums & the Web 2008 in Montreal, April 10, 2008.

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Samis-SayingWhatWeSee_MW2008

  1. 1. Peter Samis Associate Curator Interpretation Who has the responsibility for saying what we see? Museums & the Web 2008 • 10 April 2008 Mashing up Museum, Artist, and Visitor Voices on-site and online for the exhibition Take your time: Olafur Eliasson Olafur Eliasson, One-way colour tunnel , 2007
  2. 2. Olafur Eliasson: An art of perception … and participation .
  3. 3. Work as phenomenon-maker: perceptual stimulator & change agent
  4. 4. A Radical Stance:
  5. 5. “ Objecthood doesn’t have a place in the world if there’s not an individual person making use of that object.”  A Radical Stance: i.e., The Museum’s reality does not trump the visitor’s perspective.
  6. 6. “ I of course don’t think my work is about my work. I think my work is about you .”
  7. 7. Enter…
  8. 8. The Challenge: to encourage visitors in their own critical process of self-observation
  9. 9. Inviting visitor voices —& experiences— to complement our own :
  10. 10. The Good News <ul><li>They came </li></ul><ul><li>They reacted </li></ul><ul><li>They wrote </li></ul><ul><li>> 400 comments </li></ul><ul><li>> 200,000 page views </li></ul><ul><li>average visitors viewed 75% of pages </li></ul>
  11. 11. The Not-so-good News <ul><li>Comments represented only 2% of total blog visitors </li></ul><ul><li>Greater interest in seeing how others responded than in contributing to the conversation </li></ul><ul><li>All told, comments a bit of a muddle ( à boire et à manger ) </li></ul>
  12. 12. A sampling:
  13. 13. Visitor data sample: Grist for the Mill. <ul><li>understanding visitor motivations (entrance narratives) </li></ul><ul><li>evaluating “Velcro effect” of various artworks </li></ul>
  14. 14. Your mobile expectations got people going…
  15. 16. Sometimes the discussion got hot & heavy: (of course interspersed with other random comments in true blog style!)
  16. 17. What is the value of comments such as these? <ul><li>What do YOU think? </li></ul>
  17. 18. What are the criteria of value for the comments? <ul><li>…  and by whose standard? </li></ul><ul><li>The Artist’s? </li></ul><ul><li>The Curator’s? </li></ul><ul><li>The Director’s? </li></ul><ul><li>The Marketing Department’s? </li></ul><ul><li>Few of these actually read the blog. </li></ul>
  18. 19. If the goal was to get people to write and reflect on their art experience, we may have succeeded. <ul><li>(Getting them to think critically about their life is a taller order!) </li></ul>
  19. 20. But if the goal is to initiate a meaningful dialogue between visitors and the Museum, then we failed. <ul><li>We said our piece in our multimedia voice(s). </li></ul><ul><li>We opened the blog door to invite visitor voices in. </li></ul><ul><li>… And we left. </li></ul>
  20. 21. They were the only ones in the room.
  21. 22. First generation art museum blog sites in the US were dominated by museum voices.
  22. 23. Next came art exhibition blog sites that started with authority voices and then opened the door to visitor comments.
  23. 24. What will be next? <ul><li>Will we actually get in the room with our visitors and dialogue? </li></ul>
  24. 25. In fact, part of what we’re trying to do is bridge a cultural chasm. Where experts & novices have meaningful things to say to each other. And the lion lies down with the lamb? ;-)
  25. 26. Look at this perfect storm of pent-up comments:
  26. 27. 294 comments within a day. Articulate, considered, impassioned.
  27. 28. And two weeks later:
  28. 29. On the other hand, is it enough to host a compilation of Me stories or does something else have to be at stake? Some greater collective endeavor , some greater win?
  29. 30. The Eliasson project got us part way. Nina Simon’s Hierarchy of Social Participation
  30. 31. But maybe it’s not just a blog that gets us there. (cf.SFMOMA’s new Community Producer) Nina Simon’s “Web 2.0 for Museum Professionals”
  31. 32. A social interaction that feels meaningful, rich and compelling to people inside and outside the museum. Structured so that even staff want to return to it, learn from it. And just where is “there,” anyway ?
  32. 33. Ideas?

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