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[Xmca-l] Re: discussing "Posing the question"

Hello All,
Thank you to Jen for inviting me to this discussion and to everyone who
wishes to participate! I'll look forward to some interesting thoughts and

Maybe I can start by providing a little context for the research project
that wasn't necessarily the focus of the article. As a whole, this "design
experiment" involved a partnership with the National Museum to introduce
digital technology and interactive activities in order to engage young
people. Working with the museum, we found that teenagers' experiences with
the museum were almost exclusively limited to school field trips. So first
of all, the museum was interested in engaging this underrepresented
demographic in non-school contexts. Second, the museum's use of interactive
media (and really, interpretive resources in general) had been limited to
audio guides as well as some simple wall texts through out the museum. The
museum then was also interested in experimenting with news ways of
communicating with the public and engaging them with these artworks.

In designing this project room (which included 4 interactive stations, of
which this posing activity was one) - the broader goals including looking
at how the introduction of such interactive activities might influence the
practices of the visiting public, but also of the museum as an institution.
One small example that I found really interesting involved the role of the
guards, which seemed to shift from protecting the art to also facilitating
some of the interactive activities in this project room.

In any case, the phenomenon of posing was not necessarily intended to be a
focal point. The activity was designed based on the pedagogical goal of the
curator of exploring Munch's use of self-portraits. This one activity
became really popular, and it was only after starting to look more closely
at these prompted acts of posing did I return to looking at the visitors in
the rest of the gallery. These posing practices then became visible as part
of visitors normal interpretive practices. I should also note, that since
the exhibit closed, curators at the museum decided to adapt the posing
activity to a classroom setting using photographs that students could pose
for and then paint over with an iPad. (This can be read about in a
conference paper here -
Another outcome of the project room will be in the design of a new
national museum that will incorporate spaces for such interactive
activities. In regards to the iterative nature of design experiments, I
think this aspect is very much present in the work.

So for me, it was this broader design experiment that allowed the
phenomenon of posing to emerge as a visible and relevant practice. The
specific method of analysis in the article might be better described as
interaction analysis then. But maybe this is a question that people have
thoughts on? The relationships between design experiments and more
micro-analytic methods?

Looking forward to some thoughts or other directions for discussion,

On Thu, May 22, 2014 at 6:09 PM, Vadeboncoeur, Jennifer <
j.vadeboncoeur@ubc.ca> wrote:

> Dear XMCA,
> Rolf Steier is now on XMCA, and his article "Posing the question" is open
> on the T and F website:
> http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/hmca20/.U3zs4Sjsq24
> Just click on the green button to the right side of the article.
> There is loads to talk about, and one question that comes to mind is in
> relation to the museum installation as a design experiment. In what sense
> is it a design experiment? What does it make visible? How is learning
> shaped by access to this experience in a museum?
> More questions?
> Best - jen