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Rethinking religion representation in Museums: the “listen- interpret-contribute-explore-perform-share� paradigm A critical experimental research action by Politecnico di Milano, Dept. Design, CNR- ITIA Institute With the collaboration of Museo Diocesano Milano within the Mela-Museum in the edge of Migration Project Eleonora Lupo, Politecnico Milano


The context: Mela project

MeLa - European Museums in an age of migration www.mela-project.eu Mela is an European FP7 project (Socio-Economic Sciences and Humanities) about museums and their representation of histories, memories and identities. The main objective of the MeLa research is to define innovative museum practices that reflect the challenges of the contemporary processes of globalization, mobility and migration. As people, objects, knowledge and information move at increasingly high rates, a greater awareness of an inclusive approach is needed to facilitate mutual understanding and social cohesion.


The ambit: Religious asset as potential intercultural heritage the mise en scene by museums of the religious questions is not a neutral topic but affected by their cultural setting and context •  discussing on religion when discussing or contesting, undermining religious identities; •  discussing among religion when confronting, dialoguing about or questioning on religious diversities and frictions •  discussing through religion when dialoguing among diversities using the religion to open the discussion on a wider cultural sphere Juxtaposing religions Simonian and Evers


The place: Museo Diocesano di Milano The mission: “The Diocesan Museum is a place dedicated to the hopes and needs of our society, a place where art meets Christian wisdom. Open to everybody, it invites visitors in search of the meaning of life to take an active part in its initiatives. With its cloister, an area increasingly available for public use, its library and bookshop, it is not only an historical site but one which is both lively and liveable. Closely linked to the museum's underlying mission is its aim to be seen as a space which is accessible, dynamic and enjoyable�. Besides: By virtue of its institutional status of museum it is committed to improving society, pursuing strategies to facilitate dialogue between different cultures and resolving issues arising from cultural diversity. This makes the Museo Diocesano an appropriate place for religious narratives to portray religion as a controversial part of culture, stimulating debate and fostering equality and dialogue among diverse communities.


The objective: letting people deal with diversity in museums We propose three possible attitudes according to which museums and cultural institutions can invite people to deal with diversity: •  Multicultural storytelling: it conceives and represents different cultures alongside but in a separate way. •  Intercultural dialogue: it identifies interconnections among cultures and represents dialogue and contaminations. •  Transcultural practice: it’s characterized by the practice of passing through cultures; the audience is called to a displacement towards other cultures.


The objective: experiencing intercultural fruition models in museums by ICT AMPLIFIED HERITAGE ICT act amplifying and enriching the heritage: • In the relationship user-contents; • In the temporal and/or spatial dimension; • Showing off hidden links between the contents;

CONNECTIVE HERITAGE •  • 

ICT as a means to connect diverse people and culture around cultural heritage (community building); ICT as enabler of social connections in building and maintaining the relationship over time.

The connection between people can take place: •  through direct contact, facilitated by ICT •  through a indirect contact mediated by ICT

MULTIFACED HERITAGE ICT act as a filter that allows the visitor: • To choose a point of view; • To understand many points of view on the same cultural asset; • To add her/his individual point of view; • To question, renegotiate, change, transform the point of view fostering and stimulating contact points or cultural frictions.

PERFORMATIVE HERITAGE ICT act on the representation, understanding and experience of heritage, making visitors perform gestures and actions consistent with cultural practices avoiding standard interaction with the technological tool and stereotypes of interaction (touch, click, move, drag), rather than the cultural practice.


The process: phases Phase 1_ curation of contents#1: institutional narration (museum curators and design team) Phase 2_ testing#1 (experts/specialis): authoritative and multicultural contents gathering for multivocal interpretation Phase 3_ data critical evaluation: selecting consistent contents Phase 4_ curation of contents #2: designing a multivocal narration (museum, curators, design team and UGC from test#1 we are here Phase 5_ testing#2 (general intercultural public): designing a performance and social oriented intercultural experience Phase 6_ results critical evaluation on interreligious mutual understanding and possible implementation and prototyping


The format: contents developed (until now) Arciconfraternita Hall: 5 paintings narrations

San Bernardo libera un’ossessa con l’Eucarestia di Federico Ferrari

Santa Caterina da Siena vede uscire una fiamma dall’ostia consacrata di Battista Costa

San Pietro martire smaschera la falsa Madonna di Filippo Abbiati

Il miracolo del fanciullo restituito illeso dalla fornace per aver ricevuto la comunione di Carlo Preda

La comunione di San Stanislao Kostka di Gaetano Dardanone

1. Video

1. Video

1. Video

1. Video

1. Video

2. Questionnaire

2. Questionnaire

2. Questionnaire

2. Questionnaire

2. Questionnaire

3. UGC

3. UGC

3. UGC

3. UGC

3. UGC

4. evaluation

4. evaluation

4. evaluation

4. evaluation

4. evaluation


The paradigm of experience: LISTEN-INTERPRET-CONTRIBUTEEXPLORE-PERFORM- LINK-SHARE 1 | To listen: listen and view the explaination about the painting watching a short video on the tablet

2 | To interpret: interpret answering to the questions in the end of the video (by means of digital devices) main task is to discuss on religion (adhering or contesting a religious identity) and among religions (similarities and differences)

3 | To contribute: contribute suggesting some iconographic or literature references and links about the painting topics/objects, or writing a comment, from your own culture, religion, experience‌ main task is to discuss among religions (similarities and differences) or about cultures through religion


The paradigm of experience: LISTEN-INTERPRET-CONTRIBUTEEXPLORE-PERFORM-SHARE 4 | To explore: Look for and discover the intercultural paths and contents in the painting (by mean of digital personal or collective devices tablets, interactive table‌- or the help of a mediator) main task is to experience religion as multifaceted heritage among people (similarities and differences)

5 | To perform: Activate contents performing gestures and actions consistent with cultural practices, using 3D digital models main task is to deeply understand other religions rituals (similarities and differences)

6 | To share: Connect and share with other people main task is to discuss among religions (similarities and differences) or about cultures through religion


The objective: designing new formats of user experience and interaction 1st test- Oct 2013

User: Experts – Objective: authoritative& intercultural contents gathering Level 1: LISTEN

Cultural contents

Dynamics of interaction

Level 2: INTERPRET

Artistic and Contents on specific historical info on the critical topics/issues painting; “narration” related to the of the miracle painting

Passive: listen the text and view the video animation

Active: answer to a structured questionnaire on “friction issues”

Level 3: CONTRIBUTE

Level 4: LINK

New interpretative paths on specific proposed topics associated to the painting

Connections with other issues and works of art of the museum

Active UGC: serious interpretation, tags, references to other works of art or literature in the personal culture/ religion

Active AUGC: link with other cultures


The objective: designing new formats of user experience and interaction 2nd test- Jan 2014

User: Generic public – Objective: contents performing& intercultural sharing

Level 1: LISTEN&LEARN

Cultural contents

Dynamics of interaction

Level 2: EXPLORE & EXPERIENCE/ PERFORM

Artistic and Contents on specific historical info on the critical topics/issues painting; “narration” related to the of the miracle painting

Passive: listen the text and view the video animation

Active: “perform” specific contents

Level 3: CONTRIBUTE

Level 4: LINK&SHARE

New interpretative paths on specific proposed topics associated to the painting

Connections with other issues and works of art of the museum

Active: Add you comments on similar experiences, your like, your tags and refereces in your culture/ religion…

Active: share and links with other people for confrontation


The 1st test: expert users (Oct. 2013)


The 1st test: expert users (Oct. 2013)


The 1st test: general evaluation (Oct. 2013) Positive elements: -  fashinating video narration, effective in capturing and focusing the attention of audience; -  Gathering of consistent UG cultural contents, associated to specific elements of the painting Criticalities: - missing the possibility to add arguments about the expressed opinion in the structured questionaire - Difficulty of engaging a real discussion among the frictionary topics by the use of the tablet


The 1st test: examples of curatorial contents/links and multicultural UGC Curatorial contents Trans-religions topic: pilgrimage Specific objects in the paintings: Gesuti symbols, pilgrimage symbols Links to other works of art of the museums: the pastoral of S. Ambrogio

Painting: La comunione di San Stanislao Kostka

Consistent UGC Friction issues: The topic in other cultures/religions: Kumbh Mela References to Objects: References to other works of art: -

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0


The 1st test: examples of curatorial contents/links and multicultural UGC Curatorial contents Trans-religions topic: faith and communitarian rituals Specific objects in the paintings: liturgy objects Links to other works of art of the museums: liturgy objects

Painting: Santa Caterina da Siena vede uscire una fiamma dall’ostia consacrata fuoriesce una fiamma

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0

Consistent UGC Friction issues: liturgy, extasy The topic in other cultures/religions: References to Objects: the bell in tibetan culture, ritual apparatus (dresses, objects) References to other works of art: -


The 2nd test: general public (Jan. 2014) Envisioning different hypotheses (analogical and digital based): - “Explore & Experience”: by tablets or interactive table and cultural mediators; - “Perform”: by tablet or kinect and projections - “Contribute” : by tablets, interactive table or portable devices (smart phones) - “share”: by tablets, interactive table or portable devices (smart phones) and cultural mediators


The 2nd test: general public (Jan. 2014) Hypothesis 1: Explore, discover and share


The 2nd test: general public (Jan. 2014) Hypothesis 2: Explore, discover, contribute and share


The 2nd test: general public (Jan. 2014) Hypothesis 3: perform, experience and share


Preliminary conclusion The project is undergoing and the 2° test will provide feedbacks especially on the effectiveness of ICT in mediating: - The multivocal and multifaced contents understandability (UGC level); -  the “perform” and “share” experiences engagement and cultural acceptability All these experiences have not enaugh and properly explored as possible means of succesful intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding (also among religions)


Acknowledgements This work is a result of the Research Project MeLa - European Museums in an Age of Migration a four year programme funded by the the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n째 266757. Research team Dip. Design, Politecnico di Milano Rita Capurro rita.capurro@polimi.it Sara Chiesa sara.chiesa@polimi.it Eleonora Lupo eleonora.lupo@polimi.it Davide Spallazzo davide.spallazzo@polimi.it Raffaella Trocchianesi raffaella.trocchianesi@polimi.it ITIA-CNR Institute of Industrial Technology and Automation Marco Sacco marco.sacco@itia.cnr.it Claudia Redaelli claudia.redaelli@itia.cnr.it Luca Greci luca.greci@itia.cnr.it

Mela diocesano nodem ppt  

presentation of the paper "Technologies for supporting the intercultural dialogue at religious museum" diven at the Nodem 2013 Conference in...

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