For my museum exhibit I chose an engraving called “No Man’s Land” by James Siena. I found it on a wall of the museum and chose it because it is a piece that could easily go unnoticed. I was drawn by the abstract projections in the piece and loved the idea of the negative white space which is the “No Man’s Land”. I wanted to created an interactive exhibit which played on the qualities of the negative white space.
I decided to map the actual piece because I was interested in all of the layers and components that made of the etching.
For this project I was interested in the violent relationships that people have with machines. I researched a bit about how people react to machines when they are frustrated. I thought it was interesting how people act violently towards machines even though machines of course do not feel and will not respond to violence. People are nice to machines that are “nice” to them, and mean to machines that are “mean” to them or do not work. People also sympathize with machines that have human traits. In my research, I came across a woman that lit a vending machine on fire because it ate her money and countless videos of people destroying their furbies. I wanted to highlight this weird interaction that people have with machines by making a machine that actually did react with human-like traits when hit. This vending machine visibly crumples, bruises and bleeds when you interact with it.
After crit, I edited the images a bit to make the reaction to the machine more visible. I made the dents in the machine more dramatic, i made the bruises more realistic by using photographs, and I added blood.
I noticed that the different floors of the design center had different color schemes. I concluded that this was designed to serve as a wayfinding system within the building. Most people I talked to either hadn’t noticed this before or did not think it was an effective wayfinding system. Personally I had never noticed it before and I wanted to design something that would draw attention to this detail. I used the form and color of the checked floor as a jumping off point to design a color-coded number system that I applied to the elevator buttons and the door frames of the elevators. I also constructed a large number that played directly off of the floor’s form. I wanted to highlight the playful aspect of the color system that was already in place in the design center.
There were two pieces in the museum that interested me. One was the Rothko and the other was the Reinhardt. I felt like the two paintings were on the verge of conversing with each other, but weren’t doing so because of their placement in the space. What drew me to the two paintings was the way they transported me to another space and immersed me in the shapes and colors. My initial ideas involved a dialogue between the paintings, but I slowly started focusing on the experience of the paintings instead. I begun to look at the interaction of people with the paintings rather than the interaction between the paintings themselves. My final idea was a website that prompted users to create art using restrictions created from an analysis of the piece of art in question. Each month would focus on one work from the gallery and there would be weekly prompts. The submitted works would be displayed in the museum alongside the paintings.
This process involved 3 presentations:
I observed and mapped out the sound on the 8th floor studio of the Design Center. The mapping process involved a more human, subjective means of recording as I estimated where the sounds I heard came from in relation to where I was sitting in the room.
The map led me to notice the silence of the room. The silence, along with the dull colors of the room made it feel like a very dead space. In comparison, the 6th floor studio always seemed much livelier, due to its brighter colors and abundance of work put up on the walls. With my intervention, I attempted to add color to the space, but at the same time attempting to make it a collaborative effort with the other residents of the 8th floor. I initiated the colored tape compositions on the walls and pillars and left the colored tape hanging on the walls for anyone to contribute.
Here are the .pdfs to my presentations. I made three over the course of the project and each of them were fairly different.
I think the thing that was most important to me about this project was learning the importance of designing within the given context, and not working in a void. My second proposal basically involved letting the visitors handle the objects themselves. At the time it seemed like a logical solution, because why should an object that was designed for use be locked up in a glass box? But I realized afterwards that we were designing for specifically an art museum, whose core purpose is to maintain and preserve objects of cultural worth. In my second proposal I also said that these objects belonged in an everyday kitchen or living room, which may be true for some but definitely not so for others (i.e. Zaha Hadid probably isn’t meant to be sitting in your family dining room). I understand now that in order for the design to be successful and not just wild hypothesizing and ‘what-ifs’ that contexts and existing relationships need to be considered.
In retrospect I think that my final proposal did a good job of focusing down on a simple solution to gaining access to the objects, but it is a bit unfocused and doesn’t need the complicated addition of the iPad + iPhone arrangement. I think I was tempted to use the iPhone as an opportunity to introduce a new way of using the ubiquitous device within the museum, which wasn’t really relevant to the problem at hand. It’s a good case of trying to solve problems by throwing an app at it, which in the end complicates the situation even further.