This session explored haptic, gestural, emotional and embodied ways of engaging with new media content. This is where materiality meets virtuality, where anthropology and material culture studies meet technology and development. How do we, and how could we, experience museum content through new media?
Joe Cutting - Telling Stories with Games.
There's a lot of uncertainty about how museums might use games to tell their stories. People see them as unreal somehow. But games tell us a lot - and they can be very locally based and cheap. The Company of Merchant Adventurers of York commissioned a game, which Loic played as an example for us, providing a very entertaining interlude! (By the way, he made a profit.) It gives you an idea of what Merchant Adventurers did, where they sailed and what they sold. The storytelling potential is enormous. The crucial element, really, is learning through feedback, which is what you do with a story and what museums need to apply with their games. You need to carefully consider what you need to make a good game. You need to have a learning purpose, a choice, and gradual progression from failure to success. The purpose of a museum, I suggest.
By the way, you might want to check out Lego Star Wars...
Anne Kahr-Hojland from DREAM - Ego Trap
Ego Trap was developed as a PhD Project at the Experimentarium. It is a digital reality or narrative built with secondary schools as the primary target, but is open to all. With the aim of stimulating interest in science and improving the learning within the museum, this narrative structure added to the existing exhibition at the Experimentarium. It is accessed through your mobile (which is free within the museum). This project is an example of real life application of the multiple levels of narrative and information which were discussed in a previous post, but there is also a social element, whereby people come to learn about themselves and others, and how they relate to the real world. Works such as this promote the questioning of the didactic nature of some museum displays by questioning the nature of the interpretive agents. This isn't to say that there aren't problems - presenting multiple narratives risks the primacy of one over another. Nonetheless, I think it can be used. Different participants benefit from it in different ways. New technology is, in my opinion, an opportunity for museums to add to what they were originally set up to do - to explore the world. For one thing, the museum is itself a technology, and in some places, it is still a new one.
Victoria Tillotson - i-Shed and the Pervasive Media Studio
The studio is a research facility in the heart of the city of Bristol, which provides access to community groups, artists, education and IT companies. It aims to produce immersive environments in which people can work, through installations in public spaces and buildings. The kernal of the project was Mobile Bristol, which launched mscape, a website in which people can create information which is linked to the geographic environment. Though it is currently limited in the hardware upon which it runs (HP iPAQs), funding is coming in to develop in this area. Using such technologies, fictions, and present and former realities can be played out in the here and now, revealing hidden histories and current political issues (the Soho Theatre's Drom project engaged with Romany history and culture and the problems that they face, for example, through online involvement and physical presence). The use of 'pervasive games' has the potential to be very widespread and diverse - long or short lasting, socially and geographically extensive or locally and individually based. I wonder, how would you yourselves choose to use such a technology in the heritage sector?
Here's an interesting example: As If It Were The Last Time
Ah, the possibilities - tell me your thoughts, please.
The Attic (a name which commemorates our first physical location) is, first and foremost, a site for the research students of the School of Museum Studies at the University of Leicester: a virtual community which aims to include all students, be they campus-based and full-time, or distance-learning and overseas. But we welcome contributions from students of museum studies - and allied subject areas - from outside the School and from around the world. Here you will find a lot of serious stuff, like exhibition and research seminar reviews, conference alerts and calls for papers, but there's also some 'fluff'; the things that inspire, distract and keep us going. After all, while we may be dead serious academic types, we're human too.