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Connecting the Dots: How Digital Methods Become the Glue that Binds Cultural Heritage to Contemporary Society

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The growth and scale of the world’s cities is exploding at an amazing rate. By some counts, the population of cities is growing at nearly 1 million people every week and will top seven billion by the middle of the century. At the same time, popular culture’s fascination with technology, mobile devices, digital media, and social networking seems to pose a significant threat to the appreciation and relevance of cultural heritage in our contemporary society.

Considering these two factors together forces us to ask some concerning questions about what place culture will have in tomorrow’s cities. Are mobile devices killing museum experiences as some have asserted? Does the cultural heritage field’s current fascination with participation and engagement actually endanger cultural appreciation and learning? The answers to these questions have become polarizing in the press and among professionals in museums, but the answer does not need to be either one or the other.

This presentation will suggest a practical and balanced approach to adopting digital platforms and practices in museums that focus the experience on a personal and aesthetic appreciation of cultural heritage. Furthermore, the talk will examine the potential role cultural heritage organizations can play within a city to engage a local audience in common experiences in a manner that can begin to address the social frictions and disparities that exist among the world’s major cities.

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Connecting the Dots: How Digital Methods Become the Glue that Binds Cultural Heritage to Contemporary Society

  1. 1. CONNECTING THE DOTS How Digital Methods Become the Glue that Binds Cultural Heritage to Contemporary Society Robert Stein Deputy Director Dallas Museum of Art
  2. 2. Flickr Credit ~fab05 70% OF THE GLOBAL POPULATION WILL LIVE IN ONE BY 2050 CITIES Source: Guardian Cities, Jan 2014 http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/jan/27/guardian-cities-site-urban-future- dwell-human-history-welcome
  3. 3. Photo by Jason Hawkes
  4. 4. Flickr Credit ~Artisticbokeh
  5. 5. Flickr Credit ~X_ray_delta_one
  6. 6. Flickr Credit ~indiamos
  7. 7. Photo by Jason Hawkes SMART CITIES HAVE A PROBLEM
  8. 8. INFORMATION IS PROLIFERATING, BUT HUMANS ARE POORLY EQUIPPED TO DEAL WITH IT
  9. 9. Flickr Credit ~X_ray_delta_one Source: Has the Ideas Machine Broken Down, The Economist. Jan, 2013.
  10. 10. Image Credit ~Scobleizer TECHNOLOGY IS ACCELERATING THE PACE OF LIVING.
  11. 11. Negotiating the circumstances of everyday life in any true city tends over time to create a broad-minded, feisty, opinionated personality type we'd have no problem recognizing, wherever and whenever it appears in human history. City people may well be tolerant of diversity not out of any personal commitment to a utopian politics, but because that's just what the daily necessity of living cheek-by-jowl with people who are different imposes upon you. And yet it's just this set of characteristics that so many smart-city provisions seem hell-bent on undermining, or even eradicating. The ability to search the space of the city for the perfectly congenial set of circumstances, to tune the environment until we never have to leave the contours of our own comfort: where the making of city-dwellers and citizens is concerned, that's a bug, not a feature. It erodes the development of savoir faire; it eliminates the risk, but also everything wonderful, that arises in the confrontation with difference. Adam Greenfield, The Dark Side of the “Smart City” Interview by Annalee Newitz on IO9. January 30, 2014 http://io9.com/the-dark-side-of-the-smart-city-1512608758 THE DARK SIDE OF SMART CITIES
  12. 12. Why is this a place I want to live?
  13. 13. Flickr Credit ~choimakko SO, WHAT MAKES A CITY SMART?
  14. 14. CITIES NEED SMART PEOPLE
  15. 15. CITIES NEED CREATIVE PEOPLE cited by 1500 CEO’s as the single most crucial factor for future success IBM, 2010 http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/31670.wss)
  16. 16. Flickr Credit ~choimakko THE FUTURE OF KNOWLEDGE The future [of knowledge] is to let ‘the machines’ do the heavy lifting and for us humans to focus on connecting the dots, discovering context, meaning and relevance, and to make human sense of it all. Gerd Leonhard. The Future of Knowledge. Jan 7, 2014 https://connect.innovateuk.org/web/creativektn/article-view/-/blogs/the-future-of-knowledge
  17. 17. Flickr Credit ~choimakko THE FUTURE OF KNOWLEDGE … right-brain thinking becomes extremely valuable, once again, as empathy, improvisation and interdependent thinking become the new standard. Knowledge, becomes not an asset used for control or dominance, but for contribution and co-creation. Gerd Leonhard. The Future of Knowledge. Jan 7, 2014 https://connect.innovateuk.org/web/creativektn/article-view/-/blogs/the-future-of-knowledge
  18. 18. Almost all Nobel laureates in the sciences actively engage in arts as adults. They are twenty-five times as likely as the average scientist to sing, dance, or act; seventeen times as likely to be a visual artist; twelve times more likely to write poetry and literature; eight times more likely to do woodworking or some other craft; four times as likely to be a musician; and twice as likely to be a photographer. Michele and Robert Root-Bernstein Psychology Today February, 2009 http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/imagine/200902/missing-piece-in-the- economic-stimulus-hobbling-arts-hobbles-innovation
  19. 19. Flickr Credit ~candylei
  20. 20. Georges Seurat A Sunday on La Grande Jatte – 1884 Art Institute of Chicago James Clerk Maxwell (physicist), Ogden Rood (physicist), and Michele Chevreul (chemist) significantly influenced Seurat and the Neo- Impressionsts
  21. 21. ARTISTS ARE ADAPTING
  22. 22. Armory Show – Chicago, 1913 ARE MUSEUMS ADAPTING?
  23. 23. The work of organizing museums has not kept pace with the times. The United States is far behind the spirit of its own people… This can not long continue. The museum of the past must be set aside, reconstructed, transformed from a cemetery of bric-a-brac into a nursery of living thoughts. A NURSERY OF LIVING THOUGHTS Goode, G. Brown. 1891. The Museums of the Future. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.
  24. 24. Flickr Credit ~5tons
  25. 25. The Largest Art Museum in the Region 110 Years Old Supported by the City of Dallas NOT a Tourist Destination
  26. 26. The 2010 U.S. census reports that only 14.5% of US Adults visited museums in the prior 12 months (Census, 2012). Dallas = 6.5M People - 500k Annual Attendance
  27. 27. ENGAGEMENT?
  28. 28. ENGAGEMENT?
  29. 29. ENGAGEMENT?
  30. 30. GETTING BEYOND ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE
  31. 31. HOW DO YOU MEASURE WHAT YOU CAN’T SEE? Flickr Credit ~liquoredonlife
  32. 32. CAN DATA HELP CREATE A MUSEUM THAT IS AGILE AND RESPONSIVE?
  33. 33. FREE ADMISSION
  34. 34. FREE MEMBERSHIP
  35. 35. INTRODUCING DMAfriends
  36. 36. METRICS WE CARE ABOUT 1. Repeat visits 2. Diverse participation 3. Increased affinity 4. Ability to motivate action
  37. 37. LAUNCH DAY - 1/21/2013
  38. 38. DOES IT WORK?
  39. 39. http://dma.org/friends/by-the-numbers
  40. 40. http://dma.org/friends/by-the-numbers
  41. 41. http://dma.org/friends/by-the-numbers
  42. 42. http://dma.org/friends/by-the-numbers
  43. 43. http://dma.org/friends/by-the-numbers
  44. 44. http://dma.org/friends/by-the-numbers
  45. 45. http://dma.org/friends/by-the-numbers
  46. 46. Bobby
  47. 47. What Might a National Engagement Network Look Like?
  48. 48. What Might a National Engagement Network Look Like? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
  49. 49. GET THE CODE http://badgeos.org http://github.com/DallasMuseumArt/DMA-Friends
  50. 50. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE PHONE IS A CLOUD IN YOUR POCKET
  51. 51. WE’VE BEEN FOCUSED ON STORYTELLING… HOW ABOUT MOBILE FOR MEASUREMENT?
  52. 52. PRESENCE LOCATION IDENTITY DURATION
  53. 53. MOBILE DATA FUSION WITH EXISTING SENSORS
  54. 54. LOOKING AND SEEING Flickr Credit ~rocketjim54
  55. 55. EXPERIMENTS IN TRACKING GAZE
  56. 56. Utagawa Hirōshige (Japanese, 1797-1858) - Nihonbashi in the Snow
  57. 57. Utagawa Hirōshige (Japanese, 1797-1858) - Nihonbashi in the Snow
  58. 58. Not everything that matters can be counted and not everything that can be counted matters Albert Einstein
  59. 59. THANK YOU!

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