Archive for September, 2008

Converting user-generated content into cultural interactive physical experiences

I didn’t think it was going to be possible for a museumophile like me to be completely enthralled in an exhibition again. That was until I went to TePapa in Wellington, New Zealand last week!! 

Not only is TePapa an incredibly rich, complex and beautiful museum, it continues to be the single most popular tourist attraction in New Zealand – not a mean feat in a country well known for it’s extreme adventure possibilities!

Late last week TePapa launched the NZMuseums which showcases the museums and collections of New Zealand. This site aims to become a directory of New Zealand museums, and an online collection management system for museums.This initative will grow over time as more collection information and additional functions are added. Congratulations to the team!

While at TePapa, Wallis Barnicoat, Manager Museum Development arranged for a sneak preview of the soon to be launched ‘Our Space’ exhibition. And what an exhibition it is!! The space itself includes an 18metre projection wall where audiences can load user generated content and create their own creative works. Here’s how it works. You can visit the website, sign up and start loading your images online. The images are then transferred to kiosks within the physical space and are made available for audiences to remix as they desire. You can then buy your final artwork at the helpdesk or find your contribution online.

This exhibition brings the best of co-created experiences together in an impressive museum exhibition. It is a significant example of the conversion from virtual user-generated content to physical cultural interactive experience and we look forward to watching how it progresses once launched later this week.

Our Space also includes two other fascinating exhibits:
The Map – Images from all around New Zealand  and The Rides:

The Map includes a large floor map of New Zealand. As you walk across the map, images appear on the mirrored media walls around the Map, triggered as you move across the glass floor. Each time you step on a trigger, a new image of that region appears.

The Rides bring together the best of thrilling physical encounters with glorious images of life in New Zealand. Based on roller-coaster type technologies, the interactive rides situate you in front of a large screen which projects images of New Zealand as you fly, free fall, swim and skate across the space (while strapped into a seat!) Part theme park ride, part natural science documentary, the two rides are some of the most entertaining physical experiences I’ve had in a museum for some time. If you only go to New Zealand once, go and see these exhibitions – and make sure you go on an empty stomach!!

Thanks to Wallis Barnicoat for organising this special viewing. I look forward to watching the ‘Our Space’ exhibition evolve as audiences connect both physically and virtually with cultural content!

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This blog examines social media, cultural institutions and digital participation. It's based on the research projects Engaging with Social Media in Museums and New Literacy, New Audiences. Regular contributors are Angelina Russo, Lynda Kelly and Seb Chan

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