2: Why Art Museum?

  Mona Lisa at Musée du Louvre, Source:   https://pixabay.com/p-863125/?no_redirect

Mona Lisa at Musée du Louvre, Source: https://pixabay.com/p-863125/?no_redirect


As a person who has wanted to be an artist for more than a decade, I've visited many art museums. Though, I wouldn't say I visited a lot compare to all the art enthusiasts because I didn't enjoy going to art museums until couple years ago when I interned at an art museum in Seoul where they tried to be different from the traditional form of art museum and knew about all the little details of how to enjoy exhibitions—and finally I grew up and stopped being a spoiled child who doesn't know of all the privileges I had.

From the intern experience, what I realized most is that the most efficient way to catch the people's attention and interest is how much they know about the artwork that is presented—in other words, how famous it is. For example, I once had a great opportunity to enter the Louvre (Musée du Louvre) at its opening hour and I was all by myself at some of the gallery spaces as if I rented it to all by myself to enjoy its serenity to digest all the great arts. It was such an amazing and unimaginable experience that I can't even describe in such words. But the sad thing is that at the same time, 90% of the visitors who entered with me just ran to where the Mona Lisa is and miss all that great experience they could enjoy otherwise. Then I wonder what is the motivation that lead to that behavior. If the visitors knew more about the behind stories of The Coronation of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David would they have run to that instead of Mona Lisa? Or if they were returning visitors who’ve already enjoyed and have taken many selfies in front of it, would they have stepped into some empty galleries? Maybe. I don’t know.

Last year, I visited Chichu Art Museum (地中美術館), the one I can whole-heartedly say I loved the every step of the experience I had. Soon after it, I started SVA IXD and began thinking about how this similar experience can be brought or mimicked in other museums such as Prado Museum (Museo Nacional Del Prado) or Museum of Modern Art in NYC—art museums that are large in their space and famous for their collections. From my own observations and thinking, I came to a conclusion that the main difference Chichu has that it was built for a collection of specific permanent artworks so that each room and settings can be so perfectly carved out to serve each artwork that the visitors can fully observe and engage with it. Also talking to my husband, I’ve realized that whenever I felt like I had great experience in museums, the place was not crowded and spacious. 

So, how can I as an interaction designer make the museum experience better for the museums in a traditional setting where it is in such a beginning stage of adopting and embedding new technology to help educate and support the understanding of the arts? When I had a chance to talk to an interaction designer who has a good number of projects done for museum spaces, I asked for the biggest challenge she faces. She answered that how the new technology cannot be the main thing of the museum. The artifacts that are displayed at the museum has to not fight with the embedded technology as well as seamlessly tell the visitors about the exhibition. 

As I begin to think and explore more in depth about this topic, I realize if introducing new technology is the best solution for what I am going for. Is it just a simple budget and time issue if the museums had more time to consider all the great opportunities to work with the architectures and interior designers to figure out how each room should be modeled after specific artworks. 

Even though my end of thought has ended in a dark abyss for now, I do have next couple months to explore and research to make how the immersive experience I had from Chichu or Musée de l'Orangerie's Oval room can be brought to the museums all around world not just the art museums to inspire the visitors and leave with the full experience than just remembering with selfies they take in front of a famous paintings that they don’t really know of but to use to only show off to the friends and family—I’m not saying this is bad. I do this all the time, but I would want my experience worth how much time I spent and what I paid for.

  Water Lilies at Musée de l’Orangerie’s, Source:   https://keithparry.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/monet-lorangerie-paris.jpg

Water Lilies at Musée de l’Orangerie’s, Source: https://keithparry.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/monet-lorangerie-paris.jpg