Transforming visitors’ contemporary art experience

Graduate Investigation
Interaction Design, Design Research
North Carolina State University
2014


This investigation elaborates on critical viewing and meaning-making at the art museum by transforming the visitor role from viewer to contributor.

The scenario in this investigation was a contemporary art museum. Through sketching and concept mapping I explored artist-visitor-artwork-gallery relationships and what it means to have "an experience."  I concluded that as a viewer moves through an exhibition, his/her appreciation and understanding changes: a context exchange occurs at each of these touch points. I felt there was a missed opportunity here, which prompted my question: how can museums exploit this context exchange?

I developed a proof-of-concept for a system that prompts a visitor to reflect on his/her present experience with the artwork. Reflections are integrated into a real-time, digital visualization that is installed on the side of an adjacent building: visitors see their contribution as they exit the gallery. This causes the visitor's role to transform from viewer to contributor.

Research methods:
Concept mapping
User experience mapping
Sketching

Instructor: Meredith Davis

For the purpose of this investigation, CAM Raleigh was used for reference only. This investigation is not affiliated with CAM Raleigh.

Early sketches explored the concept of a "context exchange" between artist, artwork and visitor, and what a viewer may be looking for when they visit an art museum. From these early sketches I realized I was missing an important player in the exchange: the institution, or museum itself.

Early sketches explored the concept of a "context exchange" between artist, artwork and visitor, and what a viewer may be looking for when they visit an art museum. From these early sketches I realized I was missing an important player in the exchange: the institution, or museum itself.

Final iteration of the artist-institution-visitor context exchange.


"The action and its consequence must be joined in perception. This relationship is what gives meaning; to grasp it is the objective of all intelligence. The scope and content of the relations measure the significant content of an experience."

John Dewey,  Art as Experience