Yesterday I paid a visit to the Science Museum to try and make sense of all the ideas, objects and themes that are pinging around my head in relation to the new exhibition I’m creating. I originally went to look at the narrative structures the Science Museum uses when talking about telecommunications and how they deal with a historical thread in different themes. But after looking at lots and lots of labels and text panels, my brain started to melt.
One of the aims of ‘my’ exhibition is to explore the difference between art and technology, and to ask questions about what is art and what is data. Can art be data and can data be art? With this in mind, I stumbled into the Listening Post installation by Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin.
It’s a mesmerising experience, classed as a ‘dynamic portrait’ of online communication. The installation displays uncensored fragments of text, sampled in real-time, from public internet chatrooms, which are accompanied by the rhythm of computer-synthesized voices reading – or as some put it “singing” – the words that flicker over the screens. It’s really quite beautiful and you do get lost listening to it. It really does challenge the visitor to think differently about data.
I’m really looking forward to delving deeper into this idea about the different between art and data, or lack thereof, using UCL Art Museum collections as a base for discussion. I’d be interested to know if anyone has any other beautiful examples of installations that blur the boundaries between art and data.
Octagon Gallery taken from ucl.ac.uk
Alternative Title: I first realised I hated Nick when… I became the Exhibition Curator!
Over the next 6 months, I have a new role! I am now the Exhibition Curator of an awesome new space part of UCL Museums and Collections, the Octagon Gallery. In my head, my new title is Grand high priestess of Curatorial Temporary Exhibition Land. I’m on a major power trip. I have access to all the curatorial knowledge and all of the collections available at UCL. That is a lot of objects!
The theme of the exhibition is the vague ‘Frontiers’. I’ve narrowed that down to the stuff I’m interested in, and so it doesn’t stray too far away from my PhD Research… It’s going to focus on Digital and the impact that is having/had/will have on culture and society. However if you think every museum exhibition is about dinosaurs. Yes that’s what it’s about dinosaurs (and perhaps even dinosaurs in space).
I’m really excited to get started, it’s going to be a steep learning curve and a challenge to juggle my PhD write up, exhibition and all the other projects I’m working on.
I’m going to blog the entire process, so will be regularly posting the exhibition’s progress, experiences, successes and, critically, failures in trying to create an exhibition, which not only uses all digital interpretation,but focuses on digital content, and includes digital immersive visitor experiences. The challenge is on! On here, I’ll be talking about the personal experiences, the nitty gritty stuff, what i love, what I find impossible, what random object I want to steal…, on the UCLDH blog I’ll be talking in a bit more of a academic professional tone about the exhibition process and visitor experiences, and on the UCL Museums blog, I’ll probably be having arguments with curators. There have already been insults thrown and its only day 1… it’s all Nick Booth’s fault. You will also get to hear from other people involved in on the exhibition, from the collection specific curators, to the exhibition officer, to the conservators. So we’ve got every perspective covered!
First up on the to-do list is to create a massive list of objects! better get cracking.