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

Hi Huw,

You raise some really interesting questions that I hope others can comment
on as well. I would say that “making” and “discovering” as you put it are
very much related as processes. It might be that features of the artifact
are discovered and then in combination contribute to an interpretation
(making) of meaning of the artifact. We could argue that a feature of the
artifact (the pose of a figure in a painting) is discovered as being
relevant and implying some intended meaning - but that the realization of
this meaning is made by the participants. The notion of “testing” is also
worth exploring more I think. For me, “testing” is related to Schön’s
notion of “reflection in action.” The testing of a pose isn’t necessarily
discovering a fixed meaning, but exploring the implications of taking that

Here I have pasted the section that mentions testing on p 161 in case
others have thoughts on this:

As the interaction unfolds, we see Sara mimic the gesture of Mari in Panel
> 3, seemingly in an attempt to join Mari’s interpretive process. Sara
> doesn’t simply accept Mari’s suggestion; she performs the gesture seemingly
> to test the gesture as a representation of “speech.” This testing may serve
> as another conceptual gesture (Streeck, 2009b) to internalize this
> particular expla- nation. In this instance, Sara’s gesture is functioning
> simultaneously as a part of her cognitive process but also as a
> demonstration to Mari that she acknowledges Mari’s suggestion.

I’m also glad that you asked about this relationship between internal and
external, because this is a theme I would love to explore further. I agree
that participants are absolutely bringing experiences to the scene- though
the roles of these types of experiences are more difficult to interpret
with this kind of analysis. For me, this internal/external relationship is
more about how one “discovered” interpretation becomes both publicly shared
and individually evaluated through bodily action. This is definitely a
topic I would like to explore more so I hope others can chime in.


On Tue, May 27, 2014 at 12:55 AM, Huw Lloyd <huw.softdesigns@gmail.com>wrote:

> 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!
> Best,
> Huw
> 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
>> >