Friday, September 21, 2007

M3 - Friday Keynote: Jon Hindmarsh

Interaction in the Museum and the Museum in Interaction. Museums as experience engineers rather than guardians of collections. They adopt new technologies for interpretation and engagement. Headphones, touch screens, pda... technologies focused on the individual. Visitor studies through video-based field studies informed by ethnomethodology and conversation analysis (Charles Goodwin, Christian Heath, Lucy Suchman, Jack Whalen etc). Sequence (context, evidence, transcription). Audio-visual recordings of everyday practice, advantages: density and permanence (Grimshaw). From affordances to socio-interactional contexts (Norman, Gibson). Two settings: Horniman Aquarium (tank of Anableps Anableps) and the Museum of Childhood (interactive technologies), both in London.

The moral and interactional aspect, and the power, of questions. Parents are supposed to provide answers quickly. (Aside: Interactional vandalism, as exemplified by Mitchell Duneier's Sidewalk). This becomes a problem when the parents are unable to find information provided by the museum, or when the information doesn't provide the information that is needed.

Adults take on but are also put (by the child) in the position of the explainer (division of labour), and are as a result focused on teaching.

Towards design: The Label. Designing labels to be read out, help the parent to move out of the dead ends and into 'avenues of inquiry'. Not to assume that they are read prior to seeing the exhibit. Attentive to the dynamic properties.

Conclusions: Broaden the idea of interactivity. Taking complicated forms of participations into account (vom Lehn et al 2001; Hindmarsh et al 2005). A challenge for social scence research and technology design.

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