TRANSMEDIA ART EXHIBITIONS FROM BAUHAUS TO YOUR HOUSE
Transmedia Art Exhibitions, From Bauhaus To Your House
By Julia Fryett
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.
To view a copy of this license, click here.
Copyright 2012 Julia Fryett
Special thanks to:
London Consortium London Film School TransformatLab University of London Alan Bernstein Andrew Brighton Patrick Geary Teresa Gleadowe Francis Gooding Stephanie Hodor Rainer Judd David Little Adam Martin Corrado Morgana Agoston Nagy Hannah Raybould Nick Roddick Maurice Tuchman
And, most of all, my parents.
Table of Contents!
Table of Contents User Guide! ! Prologue! !
Chapter 1: Transmedia! ! ! ! ! 1.1 Introduction! ! ! ! ! ! 1.2 Convergence Culture! ! ! ! 1.3 Transmedia! ! ! ! ! ! 1.4 Exhibition Narrative! ! ! Chapter 2: Excavate! ! ! ! ! ! 2.1 The Language of Transmedia! ! 2.2 Media Archeology! ! ! ! Chapter 3: Platform! ! ! ! ! ! 3.1 Exhibition as Media! ! ! ! 3.2 Multiplatform! ! ! ! ! ! 3.3 Database Taxonomy! ! ! ! 3.4 The Transmedial Museum! ! ! 3.5 Why Transmedia? ! ! ! ! 3.6 Economies of Experience! !
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8 10 11 12 14 17 19! 20 21 23 24 25 27 29 30
Chapter 4: Immerse! ! ! ! ! ! ! 4.1 Experiential Interfaces! ! ! ! ! 4.2 Immersion as Virtuality!! ! ! ! 4.3 Immersion in Daily Life!! ! ! Chapter 5: Interact! ! ! ! ! ! ! 5.1 The Four Levels of Interaction! ! ! 5.2 Psychological: Duchamp to VUP! ! 5.3 From Psychological to Physical! ! ! 5.4 Room of Our Time!! ! ! ! ! 5.5 Art of This Century!! ! ! ! ! 5.4 Social and User-Generated!! ! Chapter 6: Ecosystems! ! ! ! ! ! 6.1 How to Build a Universe! ! ! ! 6.2 Context! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! 6.3 The Content/Platform Interface! ! ! 6.4 Continuous Experience! ! ! ! 6.5 Conclusion! ! ! ! ! !
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33 35 36 38 41 43 44! 45 46 47 48 49! 51 51 53 54 56
USER GUIDE The following symbols appear throughout this eBook to illustrate hyperlinks to related online content and exhibition examples:
USER GUIDE Welcome. XHIBITOR is a multiplatform research project investigating transmedia and art exhibitions. It is comprised of four sections: eBook, online database, toolkit and visual maps. Classified according to a transmedia taxonomy, the database presents an archive of transmedia exhibition histories. This eBook serves to establish a theoretical and historical framework for the database, positioned from the perspective of Bauhaus ideology. An experiment in open access academic publishing, XHIBITOR is my masterâ€™s degree dissertation. This research originates from the timeless Bauhaus quest to activate the static space between art and spectator. By looking simultaneously toward the past and the present, my intention is to inspire and provoke artists, filmmakers, curators, producers, designers, architects and storytellers across disciplines to push the boundaries of what we consider to be an exhibition.
DATABASE Searchable online archive of exhibition histories, classified according to a taxonomy based in the language of transmedia.
TOOLKIT Resources blog updated with relevant articles, studies, presentations, academic texts and multi-media educational content.
VISUAL MAPS Data mapping charts and visualizations representing exhibitions, database taxonomies and related histories.
Julia Fryett September 2012, Seattle 6
Prologue Modern exhibiting likewise becomes an integrating activity. Methods of exhibition are designed to express a mobile, energetic way of uniting life. They press more and more toward a kind of display which conveys to the visitor the world as a self-changing process. This means two things. First, the displayed object loses the character of being the material container of a timeless spiritual core. The displayed work of art is no longer a holy relic, containing the invisible charm of eternal truth or beauty in a visible changing form. It becomes a document of an historical process. Even the â€œdeepestâ€? experience speaking through a work of art is only an act of transformation of inherited ideas. Not the idea of a picture, but its power to change inherited ideas its new essence. This power interacts with our energy and transforms the relation between the work of art and us. It does not confirm any immutable value. What is true of the displayed work of art is also true of other symbols and images. The new conception of the displayed object leads to the second change in the character of the exhibition. The exhibition itself ceases to be basically a self-contained, static condition and becomes more and more an aggressive energy seeking to transform the visitor. The visit is another energy, a different process of life. Both energies interact. The exhibition and the visitor no longer co-operate in erecting and confirming an immutable essence of life, but both are wholly historical processes. The exhibition is a temporary means for achieving a temporary result: the improvement and correction of traditional reality. The modern visitor does not want to be confirmed in one revealed immutable truth, or in the chaotic absolutism of ever-new and yet still eternal truths which are all equally true and necessarily result in mutual paralysis. He wants a suggestion for the improvement of the present ways of feeling and thinking. He wants to see the wrestling between obsolete and new forces, their wholly relative penetration. He wants to experience a process of transformation, not simply a new surface variation on a static ground.
What practical consequences has all this for the designing of exhibitions? The exhibitor will devise novel means of presenting his exhibits. He will introduce into exhibitions the same dynamism that is at work in the abstract composition and even more so in the modern realistic painting. The rigid distance will be pierced, together with the static relation between visitor and exhibition. The ubiquity and the immaterial interpenetration of images which characterize supraspatial composition will act here, too, and involve the visitor in an ubiquitous process of transformation. The exhibited object will be freed from the fetters of three-dimensionality; it will recover its suggestive character known to the magical world in a more primitive, purely sensual form. It will develop into a mental energy. A visit to such an exhibition should shake our last belief in notions of eternal changelessness.
Alexander Dorner (1947: 198)
The Broadcasted Decoration It sounds fantastic and impractical, but so did the flying machine two decades ago. Radio music is phonetic decoration. Your relation to it is just the same as it is to the other objects that contribute to the atmosphere and environment in your home. Television will bring motion pictures and talkies, current events and scenes on other continents, right into your home, and turn it at will into a theater, a stadium; in Paris or Peking. In 1926 I was asked by the “Societé Anonyme” to conceive a model apartment of the future for an exposition of modern paintings to be held at the Brooklyn Museum. The purpose was to show the relationship between painting, sculpture and interior architecture. My sketch showed the two ways in which painting and sculpture will contribute to the decoration of the future interior: 1. With sensitised panels which will act as receiving-surfaces for broadcasted pictures 2. With built-in 'shrines' for original masterpieces that will be concealed behind walls and revealed only occasionally.The use of pictures as permanent wall decoration will be a discarded practice. The Telemuseum Just as operas are now transmitted over the air, so picture galleries will be. From the Louvre to you, from the Prado to you, from everywhere to you. You will enjoy the prerogative of selecting pictures that are compatible with your mood or that meet the demands of any special occasion. Through the dials of your Teleset you will share in the ownership of the world’s greatest art treasures. Frederick Kiesler (1930: 121)
1. Introduction 2. Convergence Culture 3. Transmedia 4. Exhibition Narrative Narrative
Introduction In September of 2012, the Museum of Modern Art launched a website-based program called The Digital Lounge. Ann Tempkin, Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture, introduced the lounge as “the beginning of a new way of experiencing the Museum of Modern Art.” For the price of an individual membership, visitors from around the world can attend exhibitions, weaving their way through the virtual galleries with guided tours and special access to educational materials. Analogous in many ways to the Google Art Project, MoMA’s Digital Lounge is a materialization of Frederick Kiesler’s 1930 conceptual proclamation about the Telemuseum. Though the technology did not yet exist to produce this distribution system, Kiesler understood how the capacities of wireless broadcast would forever change how we experience art. He envisioned a virtual world where global visitors become active participants, sharing ownership of great works of art as picture galleries entered the home - from MoMA to you, from everywhere to you. The cultural forces instigating recent radical shifts in museum exhibition practices are certainly not few. With the advent of digital technology and networked culture, museums are expanding visitor experience to include mobile tours, apps and extended website content. Institutions are no longer confined to physical space and are seeking to unite exhibition installations with digital platforms. Moreover, visitors are no longer limited by geographical location. They are nomadic viewers, users and participants. 10
Media theorist Henry Jenkins investigates how media flow and audience behavior impacts the film, technology and gaming industries. He refers to the emerging terrain as cultural convergence and identifies the resulting patterns in production and distribution as the logic of transmedia. Frank Rose, author and contributing Wired Magazine editor, describes this cultural progression toward transmedia: A new type of narrative is emerging - one that’s told through many media at once in a way that’s nonlinear, that’s participatory and often gamelike, and that’s designed above all to be immersive. This is ‘deep media’: stories that are not just entertaining, but immersive, taking you deeper than an hour-long TV drama or a two-hour movie or a 30-second spot will permit. This new mode of storytelling is transforming not just entertainment (the stories that are offered to use for enjoyment), but also advertising (the stories marketers tell us about their products) and autobiography (the stories we tell ourselves).
Though the term transmedia was popularized in 2003, it echoes avant-garde exhibition installation strategies theorized by Herbert Bayer and Frederick Kiesler in the early 1900s. This book places transmedia within a broader trajectory of art history, positioning it as a curatorial methodology aligning with Bauhaus and De Stijl notions of immersion and interactivity. We will be investigating narrative, multiplatform delivery, immersion and interactivity as the key elements of transmediality.
Adapting Jenkins definition of transmedia, following is a working description of the transmedia art exhibition: Transmedia art exhibitions represent a medium where integral elements of a narrative are dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated experience. Each platform makes its own unique contribution to the unfolding of the narrative.
Convergence Culture Because transmedia is a recently articulated theory, a relevant language continues to form and evolve. Disparate academic fields, industries and think tank conferences apply varying terminology such as immersive media, interactive experience, deep media, multiplatform, and crossmedia, to name but a few. The underlying conceptual basis, however, remains consistent and is rooted in Jenkins theories about convergence and transmedia storytelling (2001: 17): Convergence doesn't just involve commercially produced materials and services traveling along well-regulated and predictable circuits. It doesn't just involve mobile companies getting together with the film companies to decide when and where we watch a newly released film. It also occurs when people take media in their own hands. Entertainment content isn't the only thing that flows across multiple media platforms. Our lives, relationships, memories, fantasies, desires also flow across media channels. Being a lover or a mommy or a teacher occurs on 11
multiple platforms. Sometimes we tuck our kids into bed at night and other times we Instant Message them from the other side of the globe.
In Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide, Jenkins paints a vivid portrait of a rising cultural landscape where “the power of the media producer and the power of the consumer interact in unpredictable ways.” He refers to this environment as convergence, signifying a moment of media change “defined through the layering, diversification, and interconnectivity of media.” Convergence is the cultural logic of the Information Age, facilitated by the invention of the Internet and the personal computer. It manifests as “the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migratory behavior of media audiences who would go almost anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they wanted” (2001: 17-18). Convergence occurs on several planes (2001: 3-4): • Cultural Convergence: Psychological and social associations that occur when consumers transform fragments of data and visual images into resources applicable to their everyday lives. They are learning how to use technology to control access to media flow and to share the information they collect through social media platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest. • Corporate and Institutional Convergence: Media companies distributing content as franchises across platforms - Star Wars,
Wizard of Oz, A.I., The Dark Knight, Doctor Who. Corporations are exploring content distribution across multiple platforms in order to reach new audiences, build communities and increase sales. • Technological Convergence: Functions converging within electronic devices. The mobile phone is a perfect example - used for calls, emails, chatting, watching video, playing games, taking photos, and micro-blogging.
Transmedia Jenkins contends that transmedia is a result of cultural convergence. The term transmedia was first used by Marsha Kinder in her 1991 book Playing with Power in Movies, Television, and Video Games: From Muppet Babies to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. She described the ways in which cartoon and gaming characters moved across media platforms as “transmedia intertextuality” (1991: 3). Jenkins further developed this initial concept with his definition of transmedia storytelling as “a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience. Ideally, each medium makes it own unique contribution to the unfolding of the story” (2011). This narrative mode moves beyond traditional storytelling by necessitating the distribution of content across multiple platforms. For example, a program that unfolds across a television series, mobile phone application and live event. Or, an exhibition that unfolds across 12
gallery installation, live performance and online broadcast. Transmediality today is generally understood in relation to transmedia storytelling and represents convergence of the film, gaming, and technology industries. Jenkins encourages the application of the logic of transmedia to other fields and disciplines, citing examples from Hollywood media companies to grassroots political campaigns. Transmedia is an evolution of multimedia, which refers to various content formats such as video, audio, still images, animation, text and interactivity. Multimedia consists of media rich content on a single platform rather than an overarching structure connecting media across platforms. Interactive iPad e-Books are a prime example of multimedia through use of multiple formats to tell a story on one display device. An interactive e-Book in and of itself is not considered to be transmedia. However, it would be if the story was also spread onto an additional extension such as a theatrical film or webisode. Crossmedia, multiplatform, deep media and transmedia each refer to the flow of multimedia content across multiple platforms. Aside from a few subtle nuances, Jenkins and other theorists agree that these terms are mutually interchangeable (2011). There are seven core concepts of transmedia storytelling (Jenkins 2001).
SPREADABILITY vs DRILLABILITY: The ability and degree to which content is shareable and actively circulated through social networks, versus the ability to explore in-depth narrative complexities and extensions. CONTINUITY vs MULTIPLICITY: Canons, authorized information accepted as part of the definitive version of a story, versus multiple version and alternatives to canons. IMMERSION vs EXTRACTABILITY: Entering the world of a story, versus taking parts of this world as resources to to deploy in the space of everyday life. WORLDBUILDING: Extensions, often not central to core narrative, that give a richer depiction of the world in which the narrative plays out through real-world and digital experiences. SERIALITY: Breaking up the narrative arc into multiple sections or installments, unique to each platform and spread across various media systems. SUBJECTIVITY: Exploring the story through multiple points of view and characters. PERFORMANCE: The ability of extensions to lead to fan produced performances that can become part of the transmedia narrative itself. Some performances are invited by the creator, while others are not. 13
same way that games do. This is "deep media": stories that are not just entertaining but immersive, that take you deeper than an hour-long TV drama or a two-hour movie or a 30-second spot will permit.
This Exquisite Forest
Rose goes on to describe how this new form of narrative is increasingly blurring familiar distinctions in film, television, video games and marketing:
• The blurring of author and audience: Whose story is it? • The blurring of story and game: How do you engage with it? • The blurring of entertainment and marketing: What function does it serve? • The blurring of fiction and reality: Where does one end and the other begin?
Exhibition Narrative In 2001, Frank Rose wrote The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation Is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories. While transmedia focuses on the process of media flow, Rose writes about the goal of transmedia (2011: 3): What we're witnessing is the emergence of a new form of narrative that’s native to the Internet. Told through many media at once in a nonlinear fashion, these new narratives encourage us not merely to watch but to participate, often engaging us in the
When we read a story, we inhabit it. The covers of the book are like a roof and four walls. What is to happen next will take place within the four walls of the story. And this is possible because the story's voice makes everything its own. -John Berger
Whether emphasizing the process of media flow or the goal of immersion, transmediality is an open concept. The significance of storytelling may initially appear problematic for application to art exhibitions, which is why I altered the term fiction in Jenkins definition of transmedia to narrative. This allows for extensive application to experimental dialogue, non-fiction and educational projects. Narrative is the glue that connects content across platforms. Jenkins and Rose characterize transmedia narratives as nonlinear, participatory, subjective and immersive - categories which also signify the nature of art and curatorial conceptual strategies. Art is narrative. It is a social form of communication whereby the artist is building a narrative for an audience. The aims of this communication are indeed endless and fluctuate through each epoch of cultural, social and political history. Contemporary artists typically construct narratives that question and subvert dominant ideologies or technological apparatus, leaving the spectator with a set of questions rather than a set of answers. This language is, nonetheless, a form of narrative. Jesper Just, the Danish video artist, presciently explains how his art differs from Hollywood entertainment (Michals 2012): Most films made here have to be tested and checked and put before groups—[so] that you’re sure that everyone understands everything that is going on … and if someone doesn’t get it, or understand it, the film changes. The way someone like David Lynch works, and how I work, it’s the opposite; it’s like a question
as opposed to an answer—you don’t tell people; you are asking them … and hopefully they are more confused after. It’s easy to make something strange and weird, but what Lynch is so good at is, even though you have no clue what’s going on onscreen, he makes you feel you understand this micro-narrative he is telling— because it’s recognizable.... Hopefully, it will make the viewer ask him/herself, ‘What is it I’m actually watching?’
Transmedia narratives are native to the history of art. Movements such as Dada, Gutai, Bauhaus and Pop Art dispersed political, social and aesthetic narratives across media platforms through performance, immersion, subjectivity and worldbuilding. Fluxus artists coined the term intermedia in the 1960s to describe artworks that fell between traditional boundaries of sculpture, painting and drawing. Dada and Gutai members employed multiple platforms such as books, installation, graphic design and theatrical performance. Bauhaus and Pop Art emphasized the integration of art with industrial and popular culture through design and commercial projects. Indeed, the history of installation and land art are also dramatic predecessors to transmedia. An entire volume of the history of art as transmedia could surely be written, but here we will be concentrating on art movements and individual artistic practices in order to better understand how transmedia applies to exhibitions. Narrative infiltrates exhibitions, just as it does art and art movements. The curatorial concept of the exhibition is the story and it is this narrative arc that connects the visitor with the content. 15
Linear and non-linear narratives, hyper realities and virtual worlds are designed to create educational and emotional experiences for the visitor. When considering museum exhibitions, two common narrative strands emerge - the biographical single artist retrospective and the group show contextualizing work in a broader cultural movement. A retrospective exhibition identifies an underlying biographical or chronological narrative to establish a context for the works presented, such as the Gerhard Richter or Damien Hirst mid-career retrospectives at Tate Modern. The other frequent narrative is that of an overarching art movement, exemplified by AbEx New York at the Museum of Modern Art in the winter of 2011-2012. Curator Ann Tempkin organized focal galleries throughout the museum to â€œreveal distinct facets of the movement as it developed in diverse mediums, adding to a historical overview of the era and giving a sense of its great depth and complexity.â€? Retrospectives are also situated within cultural, economic and socio-political environments, expanding narratives from biography to establish contemporary relevancy. The 2011 Tate Britain exhibition John Martin: Apocalypse accomplished precisely this - paintings were displayed chronologically, but the overarching context was not that of a biography. Rather, the curators placed Martin and his large-scale apocalyptic paintings as a predecessor to the immersive technologies of Hollywood cinema and virtual reality.
These examples reveal how artists, individual artworks and exhibitions establish narrative. Qualitative questions dealing with how to shape exhibition narrative is beyond the scope of this research, however the XHIBITOR database and toolkit provides a starting point for studying how curatorial decisions contextualize content. In the following chapters, we will situate transmedia within a historical trajectory of the Bauhaus school and focus on methodologies for designing interactive and immersive exhibitions ecosystems across multiple media platforms.
Art Stories Bauhaus 1919-1928
I can't imagine that students today would learn only to read and write using the twenty-six letters of the alphabet. They should at least know some arithmetic, the integral function, the sine function - everything about signs and functions. They should also know at least two software languages. Then they'll be able to say something about what 'culture' is at the moment. Friedrich Kittler (1995)
1. The Language of Transmedia 2. Media Archeology
The Language of Transmedia As most transmedia evangelists will tell you, this is nothing new. They will point to Greek mythology and the Bible to illustrate how the conceptual basis for transmedia existed in a world beyond media (Bordwell 2009). What is new, however, is the Internet and digital technology. The tools might have changed, but the rules of transmedia remain the same. Even so, we cannot deny that the tools have changed how we view the rules. In John Bergerâ€™s classic 1972 BBC television series, Ways of Seeing, he illuminates how culture and technology filter how we see art. Drawing on Walter Benjaminâ€™s The Work of Art in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Berger explains a fundamental shift in how art became viewed through a mechanized gaze of the printer and how this process detached the artwork from its original context. It is through these very reproductions that he compares advertising and old master paintings, addressing the underlying ideologies and cultural assumptions that shape how we look. Berger finds a contemporary counterpart in Frederick Kittler, Lev Manovich and James Bridle. While Berger was investigating the visual impact of the Industrial Age, the introductory quote by Kittler adapts this logic to the computerized culture of the Information Age. Each of these theorists examine the ways in which present technology changes how we view art and understand the past. They shed light on how theories of human-computer interaction have shaped the core 19
qualities of transmedia. This mode of looking precisely shapes the capacity to read exhibition histories as a pre-history of transmedia. In Lev Manovich’s seminal text, The Language of New Media, he deconstructs myths of old and new media. He studies the interfaces of new media objects through three cultural traditions: print, cinema and the human-computer interface (2001: 8-10). The tradition of human computer interaction (HCI)) relates directly to transmedia theory in that it emphasizes the role of the spectator in producing and consuming media through the computer interface. Manovich points out how computer science has shaped the history of so-called new media (2001: 48): To understand the logic of new media, we need to turn to computer science. It is there that we may expect to find the new terms, categories, and operations that characterize media that became programmable. From media studies, we move to something that can be called ‘software studies’ - from media theory to software theory. The principle of transcoding is one way to start thinking about software theory. Another way, which this book experiments with, is to use concepts from computer science as categories of new media theory. Examples here are ‘interface’ and ‘database’. And last but not least, along with analyzing ‘material’ and logical principles of computer hardware and software, we can also look at the human-computer interface and the interfaces of software applications used to author and access new media objects.
He goes on (2001: 9): The computerization of culture not only leads to the emergence of new cultural forms such as computer games and virtual worlds; it redefines existing ones such as photography and cinema. I therefore also investigate the effects of the computer revolution on visual culture at large. How does the shift to computer-based media redefine the nature of static and moving images? What is the effect of computerization on the visual languages used by our culture? What are the new aesthetic possibilities which become available to us?
As Manovich suggests, the computerization of culture is certainly redefining existing cultural forms such as film and photography. This is particularly explicit in transmedia theory, which redefines traditional film distribution models through use of diverse platforms such as mobile devices and social media. Computer culture is also breeding an aesthetic unique to digital technology. James Bridle, a British designer and author, started an explosive blog coining the term New Aesthetic. He is putting Manovich’s writings into practice by tracing the influence of computerization on our everyday lives. Bridle argues that the way we see the world has fundamentally changed through “an eruption of the digital into the physical” (Sterling 2012). He records real world examples of this blending between the virtual and the physical on his blog. 20
In a similar vein, the exhibition histories presented in the XHIBITOR database are excavated through the development of a classification system based in the language of computer technology and digital culture.
Media Archeology Another manifestation of technical re-readings of history is the burgeoning field of media archeology, which stems from the thinking of Michel Foucault, Walter Benjamin, Frederick Kittler and Siegfried Zielinski. In What is Media Archeology?, Jussi Parikka presents an approach to media studies that seeks to excavate the past in order to understand the present and the future (2012: 2-3): Media archeology is introduced as a way to investigate the new media cultures through insights from past new media, often with an emphasis on the forgotten, the quirky, the non-obvious apparatuses, practices and inventions. ...It is also a way to analyse the regimes of memory and creative practices in media culture - both theoretical and artistic. Media archeology sees media cultures as sedimented and layered, a fold of time and materiality where the past might be suddenly discovered anew, and the new technologies grow obsolete increasingly fast.
Parikka questions the notion that new media has replaced old media by instead arguing that new media remediates old media. In this environment, notions of old and new become indistinct (2012: 3):
That new media remediates olds media seems an intuitive way to understand this cultural distuation in which notions of old and new at times become indistinct. New media might be here and slowly changing our user habits, but old media never left us.
Archeologists study human activity and behavior through a recovery and analysis of material culture. In a similar manner, media archeologists study the dissemination of media through a recovery and analysis of material culture in order to establish a history of the present through re-reading the past. Intrinsic to this field is questioning the nature of the new and, in particular, the newness of digital technology. All media and technologies were, at one point, new. Carolyn Marvin (1988) studied turn of the century technology and discovered that the telephone, electricity and light were also one considered new media. â€œNewness is always a very relative concept, and a focus on technical qualities such as 'speed, capacity, and performance' is secondary to the social issues... One is, indeed, allowed to conceive of new media and new technologies already in the nineteenth century, or even earlier, as a more recent title suggests New Media 1740 -1915â€? (Parikka 2012: 11). Building on these concepts, XHIBTOR is a form of exhibition archeology studying how transmedia remediates exhibition histories. It questions if and how Bauhaus designers were using transmedia methodologies before the advent of digital technology. 21
So long as the museum remains content to preserve old truths and to collect relics that house the timeless spirit of QUALITY it acts as an escape from life… it is like a dead hand reaching forward into our lives and stopping them. Because of its idealistic basis the art museum not only stands outside the materialistic-practical life of the day it is also has none of the energy displayed by the modern movements. The new type of museum would begin to partake of that energy. The new type would be a kind of powerhouse, a producer of new energies.
Alexander Dorner (1947: 147)
Exhibition as Media Theoretically, an exhibition is the organized presentation of a single work or selection of works. The etymological root of exhibition is the Latin mid-15th century verb exhibeo from ex, “out”, and habeo, “to hold”. Combined, exhibeo translates “to hold out, display, show, present, deliver.” Exhibition was first used as a noun in the 1620s as a legal term referring to the display of evidence in a court, later evolving into the courtroom phrase, “Exhibit A.” An exhibitor is therefore someone who displays and delivers something - an object or concept.
1. Exhibition as Media 2. Multiplatform 3. Database Taxonomy 4. The Transmedial Museum 5. Why Transmedia? 6. Economies of Experience
Mousse Magazine devoted an entire issue to the question “What is an exhibition?” with a succinct summary of the potential of what can be displayed: “Presuming that the 'presentation' can be physical or virtual, real or projected; that the 'items' either spectacular or discursive, material or immaterial: and the 'public' either known or unknown, composed of one or many” (Filipovic 2011: 167). Implied is an endless domain of content, context and display platforms. Beginning in the late 1990s, a series of academic texts were published highlighting the invisible social, cultural and institutional ideologies that mold art exhibitions and cultural reception. Thinking About Exhibitions frames exhibitions as “the medium through which most art becomes known... Exhibitions are the primary site of exchange in the political economy of art, where signification is constructed, maintained and occasionally deconstructed” (Ferguson, Greenberg & 24
Nairne 1996: 2). The authors suggest that museums determine the significance of works of art, and that exhibitions play a fundamental role in generating knowledge about their collections. In The Power of Display, Mary Ann Staniszewski examines the history of Museum of Modern Art exhibitions to illuminate how institutional frameworks shape the meaning of exhibitions. She suggests, “if this this institutional armature is not addressed or countered in some way within the installation design, the exhibit becomes merely an element within the constitution of its larger program” (1998: 38). Implied is the necessity of museums to address their own role in the designation of distinction and creation of meaning through the process of building exhibitions. Display is a contextual form of narrative, existing regardless of whether or not this power is acknowledged within exhibition design. Transmedia exhibitions offer an antidote to institutional blindness through employing a Bauhaus sensibility of interaction, subjectivity and multiplicity. Considering exhibitions as reflections of social, cultural and institutional ideologies thereby gives way to thinking about exhibitions not only as medium, but also as media. Lisa Gitelman defines media as, “socially realized structures of communication, where structures include both technological forms and their associated protocols, and where communication is a cultural practice, a ritualized collocation of different people on the same mental map, sharing or engaged with particular ontologies of representation” (2006: 7).
This is applicable to both the nature of individual artworks as well as their collective display. Reading exhibitions as media situates exhibition design as the narrative interface shaping communication between art and spectator. Such a framework likewise establishes transmedia exhibitions as a form of media, communicating a socially realized narrative across multiple platforms.
Multiplatform Traditional curatorial models employ the museum space as a singular exhibition platform for installation. Likewise, cinemas are the established singular exhibition platform in the film industry. The exhibition does not extend beyond artwork arranged on gallery walls or films are projected onto theater screens. Transmedia theory intrinsically requires exhibitions to employ a multiple set of platforms, thereby extending media reach beyond one delivery channel. This characterization of a platform is not confined by digital or physical spatial delineations and requires selection and coordination for sitespecific purposes early on the creative stages of exhibition design. A platform is a delivery channel - a communicative interface between content and consumer. The possibilities will frequently expand and evolve in tandem with technological development and shifting audience behaviors. For example, current multiplatform dialogues accentuates screens such as the television, mobile phone and tablet. Because transmedia necessitates the flow of content across platforms, the underlying model is distributive. From this perspective, 25
all exhibitions are inherently distributive in that they deliver artwork to a visitor, whether by way of a museum artist retrospective or a primary market show at a gallery. The very root of exhibition (exhibere, â€œto deliverâ€?) likewise implies this distributive quality. The question transmedia raises is how to distribute exhibitions beyond a singular physical installation.
Database Taxonomy The backbone of the XHIBITOR database is formulated on a multiplatform taxonomy applied to exhibition histories. Platforms consist of two components - display technology and delivery system. Transmedia language does not generally distinguish between hardware and software platforms, and the term is used interchangeably. However, a distinction here is categorically critical. XHIBITOR classifies exhibition platforms according to display and delivery. This is based on the fundamental realities defined by the Variable Media Network, an archival preservation strategy initiated by the Guggenheim Museum and Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science, and Technology:
Google Report (2012), The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior.
For creators working in ephemeral formats who want posterity to experience their work more directly than through second-hand documentation or anecdote, the variable media paradigm encourages creators to define their work independently from medium so that the work can be translated once its current medium is obsolete. 26
The variable media initiative implies that media is in a constant state of flux, equally mediated by display devices and delivery systems. As technologies evolve and eventually become obsolete, artists and filmmakers must consider how to migrate native content through a complex web of format, delivery and display. Understanding this crucial nature of media is essential to understanding transmedia exhibition design and the role that platforms play in mediating content through technological apparatus. Though XHIBITOR does not yet categorize media formats, the taxonomy stresses the transitory nature of media. The five display platforms are: computer, mobile, ephemera, television, and theater. Delivery includes categories such as: social media, direct download, free streaming platforms, single fee platforms, eBook, VOD, physical distribution. For a complete list, please refer to the Delivery Platform search tab on the database.
The Transmedial Museum Recent analyses examine arts organizations and multimedia exhibitions according to a platform-centric logic. On an institutional level, Nancy Proctor, Head of Mobile Strategy and Initiatives at Smithsonian, describes museums as a distributed network of platforms in her Mobile is Social presentation.
Database Taxonomies Visual Maps From Mobile is Social Media presentation by Nancy Proctor at â€œDesign for Mobileâ€? conference, 2012
This network disseminates knowledge and research through a series of platforms for producing and displaying content. The chart represents a networked approach of thinking about transmedia as flowing across platforms, seamlessly between the digital and the physical. Green represents the physical world of the on-site museum, red as third party publishers, yellow as digital platforms that the museum controls, and blue as the mobile platforms that crossover between digital and physical. In Virtuality and the Art of Exhibition, Vince Dziekan researches virtuality in relation to Â exhibition display and multimediality within the museum. He writes, "What the thesis of this book refers to as 'curatorial design' offers a programme for how art forms and aesthetic experience might operate across social, technological and physical architectures. Understanding the exhibition as the platform which brings this fluid and distributed set of relationships together enables it to be viewed as an articulation of the virtualâ€? (2012:12). Dzieken presents models of displaying multimedia content in single platform museum exhibitions. Transmedia theory certainly can be analyzed within multimedia installations. In this way, the history of installation art is a pre-history of transmedia. XHIBITOR, however, classifies installation itself as a single platform for the purpose of emphasizing transmediality - the distribution of content outside of the museum walls.
consider how the specific functionality of each platform fits into the exhibition ecosystem. A media platform is the framework for content delivery. Within an exhibition context, this framework consists of any virtual or physical space that acts as as interface between the artwork and viewer. With the quest to educate and engage audiences remaining at the forefront of mission statements, museums are harnessing digital technology to reach audiences beyond the geographical restrictions of physical location. In December of 2011, the Walker Art Centre launched a revamped website termed The Idea Hub. This program branded the Walker as an online media destination for a global audience. The Tate Modern recently launched an online exhibition, The Gallery of Lost Art, and also partnered with Google Chrome Experiments on an interactive website and gallery installation. These are just a few examples of how museums are thinking digitally to build international audiences and represent a shift toward transmedial concepts of content flow.
Chrome Web Lab Gallery of Lost Art
The shift from multimedia to transmedia initiates a focus on strategies for distributing media across multiple platforms, and to 28
Mobile is Social Distribution Options
Why Transmedia? Museums have long sought to “free” art from the dusty shackles of chronological hangs and avoid becoming what the British philosopher Alan Watts exasperated, “places where art goes to die.” This was the aspiration of Alexander Dorner, director of the Landesmuseum in Hannover, Germany and later at the Rhode Island School of Design Art Museum. He wrote an educational survey in 1947 addressing these very topics, entitled The Way Beyond Art: the Work of Herbert Bayer. Dorner was concerned with the static and stale nature of museums, blaming a cultural history of art emphasizing objectivity and immutable truths rather than visitor transformation through relative energies (1947: 197): The traditional type of exhibition has been the gallery exhibition, that product of the Renaissance and Baroque. There, we were still in the fetters of an absolute truth which governed all. The gallery shows works of art containing eternal ideas and forms in an equally immutable framework of space which itself has grown out of the absolutely immutability of the inner form. Every picture is
the perspective illusion of absolute space, and as such only a spiritual extension of the absolute space of the gallery. To serve the inner order of space means to observe balance and symmetry.
He goes on (Cauman 1958: 9): The function of an art museum or other focal institution of our time is, in pragmatist terms, to serve us here and now, to assist in the transformation of society by the creative energies of our moment in time. The living museum holds our past and present together, not by imposing the past upon the present, but by showing its relation to the present.
Dorner distinguishes between “art”, the static symbol of divinity, and art, a comprehensive life-improving force. He used quotation marks to denote absolutism or hypostasis (Cauman 1958: 18). The living museum resists “art” through breeding constant evolution and change. The living museum facilitates interaction with art, rather than confinement by the presentation of “art” as works consummated by “timeless value, fixed, unchanging, absolute, perfect objects, commanding our awe and veneration” (Cauman 1958: 4). Dorner’s quest for transformative experiences in the museum is consistent with the prevailing Germanic tradition of Bildung, a Hegelian philosophical quest for “total identity” through continual self-development of the individual and humanity. Bildung proves problematic for a literal translation, but generally references personal 29
formation and development through education. Significantly, it is not learned from a teacher but through self-directed individual experiences (Schneider 2012: 302-311).
as nonlinear, participatory, subjective and immersive. Through incorporating these concepts, museums become a “laboratory for looking” rather than a unilateral broadcast.
It could be argued that Dorner is expanding the notion of Bildung from an individual to institutional level, in that his purpose for the living museum was to aid this process of personal transformation through aesthetic experience. Diametrically opposed to the dictatorial ideology of the Third Reich, it is not surprising that Dorner and his stable of artists were prime targets of the Nazis. Dorner’s political and art policies were in clear resistance to Hitler and he resigned in 1937 when the government confiscated the Landesmuseum’s modern art collection and destroyed the installations Dorner had commissioned by El Lissitzky and László Moholy-Nagy. Dorner emigrated to the United States where he was appointed director of the Art Museum at the Rhode Island School of Design in 1938. It was in this same year that he published The Way Beyond Art. Just three years later, in 1941, Dorner was forced to resign due to false accusations by the FBI of Nazi sympathies (“Dorner Shown Anti-Nazi” 1941).
Transmedia is purely a tool, whether it be for conveying Dorner’s philosophies about the purpose of art or a Hollywood studio racking up a fan base before a premiere.
The Landesmuseum installations by Lissitzky and Moholy-Nagy are discussed further in Chapter 5, illustrating how exhibition design is a tool for transmitting a detailed set of ideologies. By emphasizing immersion and interactivity, Dorner’s commissions place the role of the spectator as central in producing meaning. This resonates with descriptions by Jenkins and Rose categorizing transmedia storytelling
Experience Economy XHIBITOR is positioned from a museum context, questioning how exhibitions serve to achieve mission statements, deploy ideology and facilitate audience engagement. This is not to imply that exhibitions, by definition, must be located in or organized by a museum. On the contrary, many of the theories and examples presented here weave seamlessly between commercial and educational contexts. Jenkins also stresses that transmedia is an open concept - it can be applied consistently across many different fields and disciplines, both commercial and educational. The MoMA Useful Objects and Organic Design series serves to illustrate this point in Chapter 6. The unifying theme is that of transmedia as experiential design. While the tools remain the same, regardless of context, the goals and messages of these experiences certainly change. Architect Anna Klingmann describes how contemporary culture is moving from a service economy to an experience economy, opening the notion of architecture “from the perfection of the object to the transformation of the subject.” She uses the example of the iPod to 30
explain how commodity value is no longer evaluated by exchange or representational value, but “by its ability to transform the sensation of the subject” (2007: 6). Similarly, contemporary architecture transforms subjects in space and locality (2007: 55). These transformations are also shaping the development of transmedia storytelling, which places the user as an active participant in a narrative. The story is a set of coordinated experiences. As media, exhibitions unfold across all parts of lives - from a performative dinner at the world’s highest ranked restaurant Noma in Copenhagen, a pop-up movie screenings in Brooklyn or the transmedia world of Avatar. Expanding the definition of exhibitions beyond the four white walls of a gallery allows us to learn about how transmedia exhibitions focus on the experience of content, as well as consider new structures of corporate sponsorship and industrial collaboration within museum funding practices. Transmedia is a methodology for designing experiences. The purpose of using multiple platforms is to engage audiences, build communities, extend reach, establish trust and experiential transformation. Through industrial platforms, museums partake of technological and social media energies to stand inside the “materialistic-practical life of the day” (Dorner 1947: 147). This echoes De Stijl and Bauhaus attitudes, which we will look at closer in the next chapter.
Interlude: Endless In 1922, Frederick Kiesler began articulating a theory and architectural scheme for a home that would never be built. He named it Endless House. A biomorphic structure, the house was a continuous living space that synthesized sculpture, painting, architecture and environment (Kiesler 1964: 566): “The ‘Endless House’ is called the ‘Endless’ because all ends meet, and meet continuously. It is endless like the human body there is no beginning and no end to it. All ends meet in the ‘Endless’ as they meet in life.”
Solely constructed as a concrete model for the Museum of Modern Art in 1958, the house was destined to exist as a utopian concept about space, serving as metaphor for Kiesler’s belief that all boundaries between art and life should be questioned and eliminated. By entering the Endless House, the visitor would step into an immersive and interactive environment where there were no such spatial hierarchies. The visitor was, essentially, inhabiting an artwork and all separated-ness dissolved. Rooted in De Stijl and Bauhaus ideology, the unification of art with life was Kiesler’s ultimate mission (1964: 259): Art as ritual cannot be an afterthought. It must again become the usual link between the known and the unknown.
As an exhibition, Endless House functions seamlessly. The form, content, theory and conceptual framework are wholly cohesive. Every curve, wall, table, and mechanical device exist for a specific purpose. Once the viewer walks into the house, they are immersed in a coordinated effort of art, design and architecture. Kiesler considered environments to be equally as important as any exhibited object. An artwork is extensively imbued with meaning from each precise environment in each precise space and time. In other words, the Mona Lisa painting hanging in Francesco del Giocondo’s parlor meant something different than the Mona Lisa hanging in the Louvre. What we consider to be “art”, as Dorner also suggested, is ultimately a matter of environment. The solution offered by Dorner and Kiesler to this challenge was to design exhibitions that focused on the transformative properties of the visitor’s experience of “art” through immersion and interactivity. Endless House is the physical representation of a complete universe, encompassing the entirety of reality and fiction in one singular space. Transmedia exhibitions likewise exist as worlds uniting narratives across platforms in digital and physical space. As such, the transmedia exhibition represents an extension of Andre Malraux’s musée imaginaire (“museum without walls”) and Erkki Huhtamo (2002) and Mary Anne Staniszewski (2000) studies of the virtual museum. Instead of focusing purely on virtuality, however, transmedia exhibitions unite the material with the virtual through immersive and interactive multiplatform ecosystems. 32
The traditional art object, be it a painting, a sculpture, a piece of architecture, is no longer seen as an isolated entity but must be considered within the context of this expanding environment. The environment becomes equally as important as the object, if not more so, because the object breathes into the surrounding and also inhales the realities of the environment no matter in what space, close or wide apart, open air and indoor. No object, of nature or of art, exists without environment. As a matter of fact, the object itself cannot expand to a degree where it becomes its own environment. Thus we have to shift our focus from the object to the environment and the only way we can bind them together is through an objective, a clarification of lifeâ€™s purpose - otherwise the whole composite picture in time and space will fall apart. Frederick Kiesler (1964: 573)
1. Experiential Interfaces 2. Immersion as Virtuality 3. Immersion in Daily Life
Experiential Interfaces Immersion signifies the aim of transmedia to engage audiences with content through experiential interfaces. The history of technology is rife with examples of products that invariably promise total and utter immersion, from the invention of the camera to 3D film and Google Glasses. With each new device, there lies fresh opportunities for that endless immersive promise of somehow allowing the user to inhabit an image. In The Art of Immersion, Frank Rose explains, “while stories are universal, the way that we tell them changes with the technology at hand. Every new medium has given rise to a new form of narrative.” He goes on to overview how it takes about twenty years for technology to impact narrative formats, from the invention of the printing press to the emergence of periodicals and novels, from the motion picture camera to the feature film, from television to the sitcom (2011:2). As each of these media achieved production and distribution on an industrial scale, we saw the emergence of twentieth-century mass media - newspapers, magazines, movies, music, TV. And with that, there was no role left for the consumer except to consume. Then, just as we’d gotten used to consuming sequential narratives in a carefully, point-by-point fashion, came the Internet... Under its influence, a new type of narrative is emerging - one that’s told through many media at once in a way that’s 35
nonlinear, that’s participatory and often gamelike, and that’s designed above all to be immersive.
As an interface, exhibitions immerse the viewer in content through innovative uses of display and delivery technologies. We will be looking at two types of immersion and their respective roles in transmedia exhibitions: 1. Immersion as Virtuality 2. Immersion in Daily Life
Immersion as Virtuality Transmedial references to immersion arise from a longstanding history of illusory images and virtual reality. In Virtual Art, Oliver Grau traces the evolution of media of illusion back to 20 b.c. garden frescoes in Pompeii. He explains how artists have long sought inventive methods and strategies for virtual reality - the quest to be immersed in an image through entering into it (2003: 4): With the advent of new techniques for generating, distributing, and presenting images, the computer has transformed the image and now suggest that it is possible to ‘enter’ it. Thus, it has laid the foundations for virtual reality as a core of the emerging ‘information society’... The suggestive impression is one of immersing oneself in the image space, moving and interacting there in ‘real time’, and intervening creatively.
Grau’s technical history of virtual media, analogous to Kittler’s history of optical media, establishes that technologies continuously offer the possibility to enter into the space of the image. Indeed, early cinema projectors such as the zoopraxiscope, magic lantern and stereoscope created immersive environments. At the first screening of the Lumiere Brother’s Train Leaving the Station, audience members jumped up in fear and ran out of the door because they thought a train was actually entering the theater space (Grau 2003: 151-2). The promise of cinema to immerse the viewer is astutely summed up by German media archeologist Siegfried Zielinski (1999: 92): A darkened room, where the spectators, like Plato's cave-dwellers, are virtually held captive between the screen and the projection room, chained to their cinema seats, positioned between the large-size rectangle on which the fleeting illusions of motion appear and the devices that produce the images of darkness and light. Cinema as an environment for the enjoyment of art, for immersion in traumatic experiences, for hallucination, for irritation of real experience; and, what is more, with films constructed in deliberate opposition to the experiences of those who pay to enter the dark womb and be at the mercy of the play of light and sounds.
Grau discusses virtual reality as a historical phenomenon in which the purpose of a medium is to disappear through an unmediated appearance. Accordingly, “in most cases, immersion is mentally absorbing and a process, a change, a passage from one mental state to another. It is characterized by diminishing critical distance to what is 36
shown and increasing emotional involvement in what is happening” (2003: 13). This alludes toward what Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin call the logic of transparent immediacy in Remediation: “Virtual reality is immersive, which means that it is a medium whose purpose is to disappear” (2000: 22). This history of immersive media is obliquely related to the pursuit of André Bazin’s myth of total cinema: “We are so obsessed by a resemblance complex that we live by the illusion that representation might coincide with reality... a total and complete representation of reality... the reconstruction of a perfect illusion of the outside world in sound, color, and relief” (1967: 17-22). For Bazin, this myth exists to satisfy our longing for a medium that coincides with our experience of reality. Transmedia springs from the aspiration of virtual art to improve or alter reality through audience engagement, in addition to reflecting it. The intention here is not to launch a philosophical debate about illusion and the nature of reality. While such a study is tempting, given the plethora of buzzy transmedia promises to deliver the viewer into rapturous immersion, the focus here is on how immersion can be employed in art exhibitions to activate the the viewer. The goal therefore becomes engaging the mind of the spectator through interaction rather than a quest to create an experience that mimics reality through illusion. As illustrated in Dorner’s writings, the purpose of art is not to represent reality but to transform the subject (1947: 198):
The exhibition is a temporary means for achieving a temporary result: the improvement and correction of traditional reality. The modern visitor does not want to be confirmed in one revealed immutable truth, or in the chaotic absolutism of ever-new and yet still eternal truths which are all equally true and necessarily result in mutual paralysis. He wants a suggestion for the improvement of the present ways of feeling and thinking. He wants to see the wrestling between obsolete and new forces, their wholly relative penetration. He wants to experience a process of transformation, not simply a new surface variation on a static ground.
Transmedia art exhibitions employ technology as a tool within exhibition design to facilitate immersion as virtuality. Grau emphasizes that virtuality is the foundation of immersion, though the uses completely vary depending on the aims of the artwork or exhibition (2003: 9): My contention is not that virtual art from the computer is always directed at maximizing illusion. However, it must be said that it does operate within the energy field of illusion and immersion - the paradigm of this medium. Whether the individual artists are critical of this aspect of implement it strategically, nevertheless, it remains the foundation on which this art operates.
Virtuality is also addressed by Gene Youngblood, who sought to extend the parameters for film exhibition beyond the cinema screen. His term expanded cinema is ultimately consistent with transmedia ideology (1971: 41): 37
When we say expanded cinema we actually mean expanded consciousness. Expanded cinema does not mean computer films, video phosphors, atomic light, or spherical projections. Expanded cinema isn't a movie at all: like life it's a process of becoming, man's ongoing historical drive to manifest his consciousness outside of his mind, in front of his eyes. One no longer can specialize in a single discipline and hope truthfully to express a clear picture of its relationships in the environment. This is especially true in the case of the intermedia network of cinema and television, which now functions as nothing less than the nervous system of mankind.
While Bazin, Dorner and Youngblood portray immersion as a psychological condition, Grau and Rose focus on the role of technology as mediating this state. Display devices are employed in exhibition design to alter the uptake of media and offer new opportunities for experiential virtuality. Technologies such as multiscreen installation, theatrical projection, AGR, and mobile applications all offer the viewer a form of virtual immersion.
Immersion as Virtuality Delivery Platforms
Immersion in Daily Life Transmedia is immersive not only as virtuality, but also through multiplatform structural design. Exhibitions become immersive through inhabiting technological devices that consumers use in their daily lives. This tradition stems from De Stijl and Bauhaus ideologies and the pursuit to unify art with industry. By employing multiple platforms, transmedia exhibitions becomes mobile and pervasive, moving seamlessly inside and outside of the museums four walls. De Stijl, Dutch for “the style”, was an artistic movement founded in Holland during World War I by Piet Mondrian, J. J. P. Oud, and Theo van Doesburg. In 1912, Mondrian visited Paris and was deeply influenced by the Cubism of Braque and Picasso. A 2007 exhibition at PaceWildenstein Gallery in New York, Picasso, Braque and Early Film in Cubism revealed, “early cinema, with its fractured surfaces and multiple perspectives, owed much more to the movies than anyone had noticed” (Kennedy, 2007). The invention of the camera brought about a style that emphasized subjectivity and a mechanical gaze. Mondrian began painting complete abstractions of reality in his signature minimalist strokes and palette of only primary colors. He returned to Holland from Paris and joined Theo van Doesburg in founding De Stijl. In the forward to the MoMA catalogue of the 1961 De Stijl retrospective, architect Philip Johnson describes the movement as having “transmogrified and codified the esthetic experimentations of cubism; and, what was important for architecture, they codified them 38
as a basis of all the arts, not only for painting” (5). While past styles of architecture were based on a classical symmetry, Stijl advocated occult asymmetrical balance, rectangular shapes and a functional separation of volume. De Stijl applied three fundamental elements of rectangular form, primary colors and asymmetrical composition to all discipline - painting, architecture, sculpture, furniture and typography. The result was a constant style that reached across disciplines and exhibition platforms. Frederick Kiesler was a young Austrian member of the group and applied De Stijl fundamentals to his theatrical stage and gallery exhibitions designs. At the Paris Exposition of Decorative Arts in 1925, Kiesler presented The City in Space - a “suspended framework constructed on a tension systems without walls and without a static axis” (Barr 1961: 11). Similar to Endless House, The City in Space was a complete, immersive environment. In 1919, Walter Gropius appointed De Stijl painter Lyonel Feininger as a faculty member at the Bauhaus school. It was at this moment that Bauhaus transitioned from an emphasis on “expressionist mysticism and transcendentalism to clarity, discipline and the desire for a uniform and consciously developed style in architecture and the allied arts” (Barr 1961: 12). As Bauhaus director, Gropius addressed “the problem of reconciling art and an industrialized society” (Barr 1961: 13). His desire to synthesize technology and art also remains the primary aim of the
transmedia art exhibition - to reconcile the display of art with an information society. Alfred Barr, the founding Director of MoMA, wrote in the De Stijl exhibition catalogue (1961: 12-13): Bauhaus under Gropius eventually went far beyond De Stijl by using a primarily functional, rather than an abstract 'geometrical' system of design, and by adapting design to industrial mass production. De Stijl in its use of materials was curiously limited and its insistence on flat, primary colors was thoroughly doctrinaire. Furthermore it was often too much dominated by abstract painting to permit a piece of furniture, or a building to take a natural form based upon function, or to be finished with emphasis upon natural surfaces or textures.
Mass production was employed to connect art with everyday life through design. In this way, immersion was achieved through environment. Exemplified in Kiesler’s Endless House, the immersive environment is boundless in its erasure of spatial boundaries. When this utopian ideal settles down to earth, however, the practical application is a bit more subtle and instead hinges on the marriage between art and technology. The archetypal manifestation is through the De Stijl and Bauhaus art movements at the dawn of the Industrial Age. Bauhaus designers built furniture that they sold in mail-order catalogues, bringing art from the studio into your house. Art became immersive through an infiltration of industrial frameworks and protocols. 39
Similarly, transmedia art exhibitions are immersive in the sense that content can be accessed outside of the exhibition anytime and anywhere, through digital networks and technology. Immersion is achieved through designing exhibitions that incorporate the hardware and software of everyday life.
YouTube PLAY Andy Warholâ€™s Fifteen Minutes
Immersion in Daily Life Transmedia Pre-History
The new behavior that the younger generation is acquiring by using the Web (learning online, doing their own programming, not simply being programmed, putting together music programs, editing films and putting them online, etc.) is also crucial for museums. If museums continue to act traditionally - curating like TV and radio program directors and programming like curators, showing the audience works in a certain sequence and at a certain time, that is, precluding the beholder's opportunity to put together his or her own program - then the museum will become obsolete. And if over the next decades we don't adapt to this newly acquired behavior that users/beholders have acquired by the Web, then at some point museums will have a relatively obsolete function, since beholders will say: I only go to the museum when I want to get a sense of what cultural behavior was like in the nineteenth and twentyfirst century. But when I want to experience contemporary cultural behavior, suitable for the twenty-first century, I canâ€™t go into the museum, because the museum makes me assume a behavior that is a throwback to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Thus, I believe that museums have no other choice but to embrace this new way of acting that beholders and users have acquired by the Web. Peter Weibel (2011: 239)
1. The Four Levels of Interaction 2. Psychological: Duchamp to VUP 3. From Psychological to Physical 4. Room of Our Time 5. Art of This Century
The Four Levels of Interaction Transmedia art exhibitions facilitate varying levels of interaction between spectator and content, from touchscreen technology to uploading a user-generated Warholian screen test to Flickr. A central element of Bauhaus avant-garde exhibition design was interactivity. Frederick Kiesler, El Lissitzky and L谩szl贸 Moholy-Nagy built exhibitions that required activation through physical touch. Marcel Duchamp, alternately, emphasized psychological interaction in his conceptual art practice. Flash forward to 2012, and interaction through social media reigns supreme. With the invention of the personal computer and desktop publishing revolution, user-generated content also facilitates interaction through production. Interactivity is a problematic expression. Manovich deconstructs the tension between passive representation and interactivity by suggesting that the practice of categorizing new media as interactive in order to distinguish it from old media is based on the following myth (2001: 55):
6. Social Media and User Production New media is interactive. In contrast to old media where the order of presentation is fixed, the user can now interact with a media object. In the process of interaction the user can choose which elements to display or which paths to follow, thus generating a unique work. In this way the user becomes the co-author of the work.
Manovich maintains that “once an object is represented in a computer, it automatically becomes interactive. Therefore, to call computer media ‘interactive’ is meaningless - it simply means stating the most basic fact about computers” (2001:55). In this way, any exhibition accessed through a computerized device is also innately interactive. Furthermore, all art is interactive. It is thus more productive to consider interactivity on a sliding scale, ranging from the psychological creation of meaning generated when looking at an artwork to the physicality of a touch screen or remote control. Rather than characterizing exhibitions as interactive or non-interactive, we will look at specific examples along this sliding scale in order to understand how exhibition design can expose interactivity. Interaction is essential to transmedia and we will study examples here on four levels: psychological, physical, social and user production.
Psychological Transmedia designer and author Stephen Dinehart coined the term “VUP”, viewer/user/player, (2008): In a transmedial work the viewer/user/player (VUP) transforms the story via his or her own natural cognitive psychological abilities, and enables the Artwork to surpass medium. It is in transmedial play that the ultimate story agency, and decentralized authorship can be realized. Thus the VUP becomes the true producer of the Artwork.
This theory is consistent with the founding principles of Surrealism, expressed by Marcel Duchamp fifty years earlier (1957: 138-140): The creative act takes another aspect when the spectator experiences the phenomenon of transmutation: through the change from inert matter into a work of art, an actual transubtantiation has taken place, and the role of the spectator is to determine the weight of the work on the esthetic scale.
All in all, the creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act. This becomes even more obvious when posterity gives a final verdict and sometimes rehabilitates forgotten artists.
You can listen to a recording of Duchamp reading The Creative Act on UbuWeb. Duchamp, who rented a room from Kielser throughout the 1920s, articulated a view that positioned the spectator as an integral component of the creative act. He investigated the relationship between artist and spectator, concluding that the creative act consists of the creation of a work, then the transmission of the art coefficient from the work to the spectator. It is this second part of the communication that Dinehart references in his definition of the VUP.
From Psychological to Physical The endless procession of these exhibitions displays an infinite series of different opinions about the same thing. -Alexander Dorner
Two of Jenkins’ core concepts of transmedia storytelling are multiplicity and subjectivity. Each refers to narratives that allow for non-linear and varying storylines in order to “celebrate the multiplicity which emerges from seeing the same characters and stories told in radically different ways” (Jenkins 2011). Subjectivity further adds layers of complexity by establishing additional narratives through the views of multiple characters. Dorner’s writings about museum exhibitions equally echo these ideas, resonating again with Bauhaus ideologies about interactivity and user participation. Bauhaus exhibition design underscored physical touch as the method by which to facilitate user participation. In The Way Beyond Art, Dorner presents the work of Herbert Bayer, a graphic designer, painter, photographer, sculptor, art director, designer and architect. Bayer taught graphic design at Bauhaus and was appointed by Walter Gropius as director of all print and advertising. He later designed exhibitions such as Deutscher Werkbund (1930)
and the first American Bauhaus retrospective at MoMA in 1938. Bayer made use of typography, innovative wall hangs, lighting, and interactivity through physical touch to disrupt the static relationship between viewer and work of art. Dorner wrote about Bayer (1947: 138): But if we want to integrate our paralyzed world, we must give up the belief that passive escape to dreams is identical with modern reality. To live in common signs and to transfer them into interaction is a new, if not THE truly modern way of conceiving images, because it is fundamentally an active process of transforming daily life. This new way of imagining is Herber Bayer's greatest asset.
Dorner also actively sought to incorporate multiplicity and subjectivity through incorporating physical interactivity into his exhibitions at the Landesmuseum Hannover. Visitors were encouraged to engage with artwork and establish their own unique perspectives. He commissioned Bauhaus designers Moholy-Nagy and Lissitzky to create site-specific installations that reflected these very ideas. Like many of the Bauhaus designers, and particularly Kiesler, MoholyNagy adapted industrial mass production to theater sets. Theatrical design was a required course at the Bauhaus school, and it is not surprising that he wrote about immersion in his chapter, Theater, Circus,Variety, in the 1961 textbook The Theater of the Bauhaus (54): 45
It is high time to develop activities which will not allow the masses to remain mere spectators, which will not only move them inwardly but seize them, make them participate, and in the highest transports of ecstasy, allow them to enter the action on the stage.
He called for a new type of expanded stage including multimedia and the introduction of a system of separate, moveable surfaces fasted to a wire frame. Incorporating the latest technologies was integral to this expansion, in order to achieve “enhanced control over all formative media, unified in a harmonious effect and built into an organism of perfect equilibrium” (Moholy-Nagy 1961: 70).
Room of Our Time In 1930, Dorner commissioned Moholy-Nagy to design the museum installation, Raum der Gegenwart (The Room of Our Time). It was situated next to Lissitzky's Abstract Cabinet (1927) and was the last gallery in a entire series of installations. Staniszewski succinctly describes the room in The Power of Display (1998:21): The Room of Our Time... presented the most recent developments in visual culture; it incorporated photography, film, and reproductions of architecture, theater technique, and design. In the center of the gallery was Moholy's Light Machine, which projected patterns of abstract light when a button was pressed. Photographs and texts documented the development of industrial design from the Werkbund to the Bauhaus and of modern architecture from Louis Sullivan to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. A
push button-operated projector was set up to show slides of the newest theater designs and techniques, such as Walter Gropius's design for Erwin Piscator's Total Theater and Oskar Schlemmer's Triadic Ballet. On one wall was a double glass screen on which two films were to have been shown, one of a documentary nature and the other abstract. The film and slide projection equipment and activating buttons did not function properly, so the room opened in an unfinished state. The Room of Our Time was distinguished by the complete absence, with the exception of Moholy's Light Machine, of any original works of art. Everything was a reproduction, a model, or documentation.
All of the contents in this room were mediated by technology, activated by pressing the button of the Light Machine. Art Historian Noam Elcott posits in Screen/Space that, “more than images, Room of our Time exhibited and deployed media spaces... Historical conceptions of space relayed through landmark paintings and modernist colour and form would have been superseded by technologically constructed spaces and interchangeable images that act on the body of the viewer” (2012: 44). Through the projection of reproduced art objects, this exhibition is quite similar Duchamp’s Boîte-en-Valise - a suitcase filled with reproductions of his artworks. The space of the museum was becoming portable, just as Kiesler suggested when he described the Telemuseum.
Art of This Century This sense of theatricality and “total theater” was deeply embedded in Bauhaus exhibition design. Gropius “envisioned cinema not as a surface projection, but as an illusionistic space ‘filled with film’, screens multiplied into oblivion, surpassed by an immersive cinematic space” (Elcott 2012: 34). Like Moholy-Nagy, Kiesler’s background in theatrical set design is explicit in his design for Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of this Century Gallery (AOTC). He designed physical interaction into the exhibition spaces, effectively treating the spectator as an actor in the “play of art” (Bogner 2004: 36): Two dominant conceptual approaches, which are closely linked, characterize Kiesler’s exhibition design. First: the will to organize art works within three-dimensional space as part of a total environment rather than simply to hang them along twodimensional walls; second: the desire to maximise the perception of art.
The AOTC gallery consisted of four rooms that functioned as four acts in a play, a vision undoubtedly shaped by Kiesler’s early career as a stage designer. The Kinetic Gallery required visitors to activate the artwork through powering automatic devices, such a viewing mechanism to flip through reproductions in Duchamp’s Boite-en-Valise or a shadow box to display Paul Klee’s Magic Garden. In the Abstract Gallery, paintings suspended by wires appeared to be floating in space. The Surrealist Gallery, rented for a variety of fashion photo shoots
throughout the duration of the exhibition, and the Daylight Gallery rounded out the exhibition. Kiesler’s will to design immersive, three-dimensional environments was implemented through innovative hangs and viewer activation (Bogner 2004: 39): Kiesler wanted to free the actors from appearing in a space strictly separated from the audience in the auditorium. His intention was to merge the public and actors within one common space, a situation comparable to that in his nearby theater exhibition installation where he established a close connection between the spectators and art works. This conflation was the central concern of the AOTC design.... A comparison with traditional museum presentations, where visitors stand in front of paintings that are married to the wall, demonstrates the revolutionary concept utilized in both the theater exhibitions and the AOTC.
Kiesler was perhaps most proud of a multimedia mechanism for viewing art that he called a Vision Machine (quoted in Bogner 2004: 47): The Vision Machine will enable us to classify the plastic creations of man. Since the Vision Machine tries to demonstrate the different constituents of seeing and of imagery, it should facilitate the analysis and understanding of the various physicalpsychological sources which are the origin of plastic arts.
Social Media and User Production Social interactivity and user production are two sides of the same coin. Social media sites such as Flickr, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo Tumblr and Wordpress are currently the primary outlet for distributing user-generated content (UGC). Straightforward actions of sharing, liking or retweeting inflate into user-generated video productions and live performances such as the AGR intervention at MoMA. Remarkably, Kiesler had UGC in mind when describing the Telemuseum (1930: 121): You will enjoy the prerogative of selecting pictures that are compatible with your mood or that meet the demands of any special occasion. Through the dials of your Teleset you will share in the ownership of the world’s greatest art treasures.
The user “shares in the ownership” of masterpieces, becoming his or her own curator through controlling access, just as Dinehart’s VUP becomes an author and “true producer” through “transmedial play.” This act of selection is primary to interactivity through social media and content generation. The recent propagation of the term curator within the digital realm suitably illustrates this point. Through digitizing archives, creating apps and encouraging visitors to produce content, museums are beginning to offer social and UGC methods of interaction.
Peter Weibel, Director of ZKM Center for Art and Media, delineates recipient cultural proclivities in his essay, Web 2.0 and the Museum (2011: 241): It is clear than the Internet has cultivated an ideology of participation, of so-called sharing. This culture of participation, where all beholders, all users, play their part, is the continuation of what I called participation. Recipient culture has risen to become a culture of participation, where fair exchange occurs not only symbolically, but in a material way.
Concerned about how museums will encourage participant culture, he iterates similar sentiments as Dorner when he concludes (241): Now the question at hand is whether museums will enter into this cultural revolution or if they will continue to stick to the Noah's Ark principle and say: We have the power of definition, we can judge what is art, we make the selection of what is art, and you, the beholder/visitor, are allowed to enter the museum and kneel before the artworks that we have selected.
The Artist Is Present Art Stories 24 h Museum
Museums should be invisible. I like art works and institutions that escape any physical presence. Things you can carry in your mind or in your pockets. It’s not a matter of laziness or frustration: maybe it’s a form of asceticism. With an imaginary museum you can do whatever you want, you can think about it before falling asleep, or you can go out in the morning and build it from scratch. And if that doesn’t work, there is nothing to be ashamed of. You can always say that it was simply an exercise in loss. In the end, I think there is a certain strength in being invisible. Maurizio Cattelan (2001: 51)
How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart Transmedia functions as a methodology for achieving immersive and interactive exhibitions through the flow of content across physical and virtual platforms. User experience is designed across a complex ecosystem of context, content and platform. In this section, we will look at these three intertwining elements and learn how transmedial strategies impact each phase of exhibition ecosystems.
1. How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart 2. Context 3. The Content/Platform Interface 4. Continuous Experience 5. Conclusion
Context, content and platform equally sculpt exhibition design, though prominence has historically varied. 17th century cabinets of curiosities emphasized experience through display of the novel and exotic, while early public art museums emphasized immutable historical hangs (Serota 1997). Then, in the 1970s, context reigned. Robert Smithson’s earthworks questioned the role of institutional armature and the Rhode Island School of Design Art Museum invited Andy Warhol to organize and install works from the basement storage in Raid the Icebox.
Context Warhol once observed, “When you think about it, department stores are kind of like museums” (1985: 22). The installation, lighting and framing of a painting at the Seoul National University Museum may be be akin to a pair of pumps at the Prada flagship store in Soho. Both buildings were designed by Rem Koolhaas. 51
Context is the ultimate starting point for all exhibition design strategies. This research is framed within the context of the public art museum, though the majority of transmedia projects currently exist in the commercial entertainment realm. Jenkins and Rose tend to use Hollywood examples of major corporate media franchises distributed serially across multiple platforms, such as the Wizard of Oz, Star Wars or Lost. Though the seven core concepts are interchangeable between commercial and educational environments, the context undoubtedly determines and mediates exhibition content. For an art museum, exhibition context begins with the mission statement. Implicit is the objective of providing public access to collections, audience education and cultural engagement. Museum websites and mobile applications characterize the majority of museum forays into the fringes of transmedia. Though establishing institutional aims for transmedia exhibitions is paramount, it then becomes necessary to embrace industrial platforms in order to build immersive exhibition ecosystems. The Internet and personal computer have brought about an epoch marked by an expanding hybridity between media corporations, cultural institutions and consumer. This convergence is marked in the use of display technologies such as the mobile phone and tablet to access content as well as social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook. These third-party content partners add yet another contextual layer to exhibition interfaces.
Cultural institutions are slowly evolving into media institutions, taking on many of the structural characteristics of the entertainment and media industries in the use of display hardware and software apparatus. Transmedia methodology offers a striking structure for approaching this terrain and uniting installation with virtual space. As previously noted, museum websites are also beginning to realize online exhibitions and projects. Mobile apps appear to be the gateway drug for museums to experiment with transmedia exhibition design. The 2012 Museums and Mobile Survey sheds some light on how and why institutions are developing applications. Following is a brief synopsis (Tallon 2012): Museums and Mobile Survey 34% did not have mobile and had no plans to 29% currently using mobile 60% of those using it was for an on-site or in-gallery enhancement 12% as an off-site standalone experience Objectives of those using mobile: 75% to provide additional interpretation to visitors 70% as part of institutionâ€™s experimentation in engaging visitors 62% to provide a more interactive experience 45% to keep up with current museum practices
For those museums that are using mobile, evident in this survey is the objective of museums using mobile to do so as an on-site interpretive enhancement. This is also evident in the placement of mobile strategy within the education department. The timely question that transmedia poses is how will museums integrate digital media strategy as an integral element of initial creative strategy, rather than as a potentially last-minute educational addendum?
This film reaches the spectator by passing through a conceptual narrative, invisible institutional ideology, delivery technology and display device. The original film format is also modified through digitization and compression before being mediated by a display platform. This complex process must be analyzed at each level for each work in an exhibition, with deliberate curatorial decisions clearly defined and communicated. The following image offers a basic overview of these stages of the content/platform interface.Â
2012 Museum and Mobile Survey Tate Online Strategy Museum Apps
The Content/Platform Interface Content includes everything that will be displayed. It is vital to map out content early on in the creative process in order to develop a compelling overarching narrative and determine what platforms suit the exhibition. Â In transmedia exhibitions, content is mediated by each platform. For example, visualize an exhibition that includes a 16mm short film that will be installed in a gallery and also have a portion distributed online.
An example of mediation through the stages of exhibition interface: format, delivery, display, audience (Hayes 2006). CC License 2.0
Manovich on display interfaces (2001: 64-65): In semiotic terms, the computer interface acts as a code that carries out cultural messages in a variety of media. When you use the Internet, everything you access - texts, music, video, navigable spaces - passes through the interface of the browser and then, in turn, the interface of the OS. In cultural communication, a code is rarely simply a neutral transport mechanism; usually it affects the messages transmitted with its help.... The interface shapes how the computer user conceives of the computer itself. It also determines how users think of any media object accessed via a computer. Stripping different media of their original distinctions, the interface imposes its own logic on them. Finally, by organizing computer data in particular ways, the interface provides distinct models of the world.
Selecting relevant and innovative platforms for content is the key to successful transmedia exhibitions. This was achieved with acumen for the MoMA Good Design series in the 1940-50s. The content of the exhibitions, inexpensive design, determined the use of multiple platforms in both commercial and educational spheres. Useful Household Objects under $5, the 1938 predecessor, was curated by Edgar J. Kaufmann, Jr. (Staniszewski 1998: 160): Low-priced, machine-made, mass-produced household articles were arranged in installations that evoked, in a simple and minimal style, both store and home. They were elements of
simulated domestic interiors, like a window with venetian blinds and a table arranged with 'objects under five dollars.'
Later, in 1939, was Useful Objects under $10 and then, in 1942, Useful Objects in Wartime. By 1940, MoMA more or less merged department store and museum with the Organic Design in Home Furnishings exhibition. The show set up for easy travel to colleges, department stores and specialty furniture stores, effortlessly crossing between art and commerce. Twelve department stores, including Bloomingdales, sponsored the production of prize-winning exhibition designs and received rights to sell the objects. The first prize went to Charles Eames for what would become a design legend - the molded plywood chair (Staniszewski 1998: 182): During these years of what could be called the Good Design movement, the museum and its counterpart, the commercial store, used virtually interchangeable languages of display. In the case of “progressive” showrooms like Herman Miller and Knoll Associations, the presentation was identical.
Continuous Experience Having discussed the individual elements of the transmedia exhibition, it is now necessary to examine how exhibitions integrate each platform into one cohesive unit. Kiesler referred to this as Correalism, a concept he applied equally to “the dynamics of continual interaction between man and his natural and technological environments” (1939: 54
61). A transmedia exhibition is more than an exhibition - it represents an orchestrated set of interactive experiences between physical and virtual worlds. Herbert Bayer reiterated these same sentiments in 1961 in his essay Aspects of Design of Exhibitions and Museums: Exhibition design has evolved as a new discipline, as an apex of all media and power of communication and of collective efforts and effects. The combined means of visual communication constitutes a remarkable complexity: language as visible printing or as sound, pictures as symbols, paintings, and photographs, sculptural media, materials and surfaces, color, light, movement (of the display as well as the visitor), films, diagrams, charts. The total application of all plastic and psychological means (more than anything else) makes exhibition design an intensified and new language.
Exhibits are not separate entities, but integral elements of a total environment that envelopes the visitors and facilitates dynamic relationships with multi-dimensional spaces. Kiesler and Bayerâ€™s descriptions also resound with recent architectural dialogues about crossmedia design. The authors of Pervasive Information Architecture describe how daily life activities are changing. Indeed, the rhythms of life are rapidly evolving with mobile technology (Resmini & Rosati 2011: 41)
Our day-to-day activities are changing. They are becoming crosschannel experiences that require us not only to move fro medium to medium, from devie to device, but across domains: something that starts digital, such as an email telling us that a product we were waiting for us now on sale, ends up being physical, with us picking it up at a retail store.Â
Or, in the words of Herbert Bayer (Dorner 1947: 201): Exhibition design should adapt itself to the present habits of man, to his inherited way of walking, reading, looking. It should make walking and observing as frictionless as possible in order to lead the visitor the more easily to new ways of seeing, thinking and acting.
Michal Levin, a user experience (UX) designer at Google, explains how multiscreen ecosystems address contemporary user behaviors. He divides ecosystems in terms of three main categories (Itzkovitch 2012): 1. Consistent experience - an application functions similarly across all screens. For example, the Google Search application provides the same search experience across all devices. 2. Complementary experience - devices work together and communicate with each other in order to create a unique experience. An example of this is Padracer, a racing game where
the user’s iPhone serves as the steering wheel and the iPad screen as the racetrack. 3. Continuous multiscreen experience - continuous experience across several devices. Designers must evaluate when and where a product will be used in order to assess the optimal experience for the user at the time of use.
These approaches to designing media flow across screens resonates strongly with the Bauahus exhibition design ethos. Whether consistent, complementary or continuous, the transmedia art exhibition is a living ecosystem designed to unify experience across platforms.
Multiscreen Context Bayer on Exhibition Design Apple, Ikea and Their Integrated Architecture
Conclusion When asked about his definition of design, Charles Eames replied, “A plan for arranging elements in such a way as to best accomplish a particular purpose” (Eames 1972). Transmedia is such a plan.
Visualization of multiscreen ecosystems (Stoll 2011).
For museums, the particular purpose is engaging audiences, marketing, building communities, extending reach, building trust, and experiential transformation. Transmedia art exhibitions communicate essential ideologies about the function of museums and the purpose of art as well as the relationship between institution and audience. Bauhaus and De Stijl designers offer a fresh perspective for contextualizing 56
transmediality in an effort to understand how this movement relates to a broader history of art, architecture and design. Confronting concerns of the potential redundancy and irrelevancy of museums posed by Weibel and Dorner, transmedia proposes a fresh perspective on immersion and interactivity by regarding the audience as a viewer, user and participant. Through orchestrating exhibitions across virtual and material spaces, museums will provide a valuable historical and educational context for visitors to consider the cultural logic of digital media - from Bauhaus to your house. Hans-Peter Schwarz (2003): A museum must always remain that impressive place where one can assure oneself of one's own reality and of the material reality of the historical and artistic evidence of history. It is perhaps the museum that can provide one of the last refuges for the sensual scrutiny of reality, particularly in this age of total simulations.
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