Concept work for the Art and Exhibition Hall of Germany, a master teamwork, strategic design study, 2021
problem and goals
„Museums need to be primarily about people and their stories and less about objects“
– Cooper Hewitt Interaction Lab, „Tools and Approaches for Transforming Museum Experience“
Through intensive research and expert interviews, we were able to establish that museums need to transform themselves in order to continue or regain relevance for society. Through a focus group, we found that users want active participation, creative involvement and that on relevant contemporary issues.
Based on user interviews and workshops, we developed the concept of a hybrid map on which users can contribute their own creations on topics they choose, or just explore it digitally or locally. Further museum exhibitions could be arranged based on the same topics, so that not artists or techniques, but the messages would be relevant. To keep the effort for the museum as low as possible, we used existing services such as WhatsApp and Miro as a solution. If the project gets established over time, it would be possible to develop a custom online map instead of Miro in order to add more features.
On a miroboard on the museum website, visitors can view others' contributions digitally. There can be different topic cards depending on which are currently relevant or have been requested by people via comments in Miro. For example, our focus group named topics like climate crisis and local humour. For our project partner, the Bundeskunsthalle Bonn, we worked with a map of Germany. Other countries, continents or even fictional worlds would also be possible.
in the museum
In the museum, the same map is projected onto the floor, except that the contributions do not appear on the map itself. When people enter it, an infrared camera records their position. Beamers project posts from this part of the country onto the nearest wall according to this location.
We wanted to make participation as easy as possible for users and museum staff. That's why we decided to use a WhatsApp bot. Most people are familiar with it and it avoids an additional app. Based on the information given, a programme can automatically add the pictures, memes or gifs. A filter blocks inappropriate posts.
what users think about the concept
team and responsibility
I worked on this project with my fellow students at the time, Fabienne Cezanne and Luis van den Berg (see first two people from the left). Fabienne mainly developed the business case for the museum based on our concept, while Luis and I focused on the concept and design.
We have documented our findings and concepts for the semester project BUNDES-KUNSTHALLE BONN@HOME in a paper that has been published. Our fellow students also present their concepts there: To Go or not to Go? A Participatory Approach to Digitally Augmenting Museum Experiences; Mensch und Computer; September 15, 2022