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

Hi Rolf,

Thanks for sharing your paper.  I am offering two related "problematic"
thoughts that I considered whilst reading your paper.

One thought I kept returning to in reading the paper was whether the phrase
"making meaning" was an accurate depiction and on what basis it is both a
meaning and something that is made.

By way of elaboration, we can contrast the "making" with discovering.
 Discovering seems to be what you're referring to when you mention testing.
 The dialogue and sharing of impressions between visitors might be
construed as contributing towards this process, i.e. that there may be
other things to consider which may inform the "discovery" (if that is what
it is interpreted as being).

With respect to the labelling of phenomena as meaning, I attribute the term
to the understood consequences (aesthetic feeling impressions in relation
to the art in this case).  If this is so, then it seems to follow that
gestures are either used in an (internally) congruent manner to test and
explore the meaning or, alternatively, the gestures may take on an
exaggerated or stereotyped pose designed to have some form of understood
consequence, e.g. a pantomime of what one "should feel".  It seems to me
that such a difference would implicate two rather different orientations to
the artefacts (perhaps akin to a pre-conceputal and post-conceptual
appreciation of the art as art).

A second thought I had was the relations between your references to the
internal and the external.  Do you perceive this to be a genetic relation?
 For example, in considering a need for a space to explore an artefact are
you considering the experiences that a participant brings to the scene and
their ability to relate their experiences to the artefacts in a silent mode
(i.e. analogous to inner speech)?  The implication is that there is a
necessarily  "noisy" prerequisite activity prior to the silent
appreciation, but is this actually engaging with the art, i.e. discovering
the meaning, or is it a process of imposing a meaning ("what one should
feel"), i.e a made up meaning, to the situation?

An alternative account to the "noisy" mode, is that the "noisiness" is the
business of life experience to which the artist is relating.  According to
this line of thinking, one cannot be taught what to feel in response to
art, rather the feeling is a consequence of engaging with the art which may
assist in the process of reflection, i.e. of orienting to images conveyed
by the artist on the basis of one's experiences.

Presumably, these concerns are predicated on the purposes of the museum
organisers.  Are they hoping that young people engage with the art in
particular ways?  Do they believe that there are significant things to
discover, or is it all simply "what you make of it"?

I hope this helps!


On 23 May 2014 11:47, Rolf Steier <rolf.steier@intermedia.uio.no> wrote:

> 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
> questions.
> 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 -
> http://mw2014.museumsandtheweb.com/paper/posing-with-art-researching-and-designing-for-performative-acts-of-interpretation-2/
> ).
> 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,
> Rolf
> 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
> >