Centre for Cultural Reseach, Univ. of Western Sydney, Australia
Object Orientated Democracies: Contradictions, challenges, and opportunities
Fiona starts by defining “Networked Objects” – collections now operate in a global flow of greater resources online. Collections information is becoming fluid. The meaning is created and re-created in various ways, especially due to influences in popular culture.
Here, controversy is seen as a positive element: objects take on a new role as mediator, rather than simply cultural symbols.
Example of interpretting a Palestinian dress – different readings of the same object depending on reader’s perspective. Placing these objects in an open wiki was seen as highly problematic as “public” meets “museum culture”.
She shows an incredible map: “complexifying collections interfaces” showing an overview of the various spheres of influence on collections and objects. I love this: translation of the object is ongoing, not fixed.
These maps are blowing my mind! I need to find this paper online and pour over it more to really grasp what she’s saying here: “the meaning and significance of objects can take many forms.” She describes four influences: local knowledge, expert communities, experiental, and the museum voice. All combine to create jointly-generated knowledge of an object.
Emphasizing the legitimacy of other types of knowledge, and embracing complexity in collections.
Associate Curator, Interpretation, SFMOMA
Who’s responsible for Saying what we See?
Exhibition of the work of Olafur Eliasson, and online component. Peter starts by talking about the idea of a “phenomenon maker” – doesn’t exist without people experiencing it, participating. Objects don’t have a meaning that the museum could convey, it required people to describe how they were experiencing it. Allowed visitors to describe the work on a new blog: they came, they reacted, they wrote. However, as we’ve seen in similar projects, most people were lurking, wanting to read others’ comments but not add their own.
Who knew Peter spoke French? 🙂
Their online component allowed them to guage interest in objects: those that seemed to “require” a comment. People needed to talk about them – positive AND negative.
What’s the value of comments such as these? He asks this tantalizing question, and leaves it for the Q&A at the end.
Traces the evolution of museum blogs: from institutional to more public participation, and theorizes on the final step of merging this interaction. References Nina Simon’s museum social interaction hierarchy.
Aaron Cope, flickr.com
The API as Curator
About artists and institutions “opening up” – not giving everything away, but allowing sharing and seeing what people build. It’s really about “plumbing, and making plumbing not scary.” If you’re talking about the web, eventually you’re going to have to talk about computer programming.
EXCELLENT pitch for bringing the programming in-house for museums! Not everyone needs to be a programmer, but we need it: for the “plumbing”.
Threadless: t-shirt company online where users generate and vote on designs to be made into shirts. It’s essentially printmaking, in a new form.
Now into APIs and the importance of exposing the data. (Flickr commons) Story of Dan Catt creating GeoCommons using flickr APIs to get geocoding data into flickr tags (basically a hack) and mash it into a google map (using THEIR API). Flickr hired him and made it real, but he was able to built it in the first place because the “parts” were exposed. (That sounds dirty. But it’s important.)
Museums need FAST release cycles to keep up with this stuff. Small steps towards awesome: this required having programmers ON STAFF to build APIs and build off of other APIs.
Aaron: great slides!
how to attract in-house staff? Teach programming at more levels.