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61 speculative scenarios

While not completely effortless (relationship-building remains, both in terms of people and information), museums now place a greater emphasis on open exchanges of and contributions to information and ideas. JS The Guggenheim’s global expansion has reminded us that artworks gain experiential resonance from their context. A particular artwork on display in Bilbao may travel to Venice and end up conveying a completely different story. The dotcom bubble in 2000 allowed us to reflect on business models in the technology sector that were solid and those that were not. When the Web was first introduced we thought it would democratise knowledge and that great hope remains elusive today. News organisations around the world have had to revisit their operations to constantly rebalance the relationship between sustainability and content. For some, the global expansion of museums was seen as a creative and efficient business model, especially for a collection as great as the Guggenheim’s; a collection that could and should be shared widely. We might wonder if the global expansions that have taken place in museums and in universities are ultimately sustainable. If resources are parlayed into satellite structures, does that come at the expense of investments in other valued areas requiring our resources: resources for enrichment, research or possibilities for personal discovery? For me, there’s no judgment in asking these questions. In fact, I find the experimental and progressive impulse exhilarating. Critical and constant review, however, seems in order. Right now, the great global is encouraging us all to look for and revere the local. John Falk (Oregon State University) has done some very interesting research that helps us see our museum visitors in a new light. He reminds us of the ‘I’ and the ‘i’ identity. While the demographic coordinates that define our capital ‘I’ identities remain a fundamental part of who each of us is, we also carry a series of lower-case identities – e.g., mother, sister, expert, explorer – with us at any given time. Our lower-case identities shift and morph depending on our context and our company.

Speculative Scenarios — Edited by Annet Dekker  

There is a growing understanding of the use of technological tools for dissemination or mediation in the museum, but artistic experiences th...

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