At 12:42 10/05/01 +0100, Sarah Cook wrote:
> without wanting it to be
>too obvious a question, perhaps we need, in our naming of parts, to
>identify the strengths of the museum - highlight its parts - and move
One part of this is to examine the ergonomics of the museum space, and
understand how this affects users before they even get in front of a piece
of work, new media or otherwise... Bill Hillier's work on Space Syntax is
really relevant here. His book 'The Space is the Machine' uses the term
'space syntax' to describe the visual grammar of built environments, and
how this affects users' interpretation of the space and its contents.
On his website there's a really interesting analysis of the Tate Millbank,
and how users navigated the space. In their analysis, the layout of the
architecture had a much greater affect on what visitors saw, and in what
order, than any curatorial decision or signage.
To relate this to new media, we have to realise that the whole architecture
of the building is relevant to how users encounter the work, not simply the
product design of the desk or kiosk the technology is housed in. Maybe some
media lounges are unsuccessful because they are trying to work against the
architecture of an entire building, which makes local product design
decisions (comfy chairs, funky desks, low lighting, etc) pretty irrelevant.
Museums strengths are the powerful effect of the 'space syntax' of the
whole building. To take the Tate as an example, I'm always in awe of the
place from the moment i walk up those huge steps. This is enhanced by the
grand porticos around the entrance, so that by the time you actually get to
any work, you're in a suitably reverent state of mind. Trying to make
worksations look friendly and appealing in this type of space is as
effective as throwing a few beanbags around a cathedral...
The Media Centre, Huddersfield