exhibition space

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What I would do differently

EXPLORE ON YOUR OWN
Since the exhibition is a lot about archeology there could be a section in which kids can search for objects in a pool filled with something less dirty then earth. If they find something (a bone, a shell, a stone in a certain shape) they put them on an interface (or scan) that tells them what it is and it’s function or how the animal, person or tool looked as a whole.

NO STATIC SHOWCASE: MANY SHOWCASE UNITS ON A BIG WHEEL
If there is a showcase of bones from different stages of developement (e.g. a scull of a neanderthaler, a scull of a homo erectus and one of a homo sapiens sapiens) there could be a wheel of small vitrines that you can turn in order to see them. On the side or in the middle of the wheel there could be a screen that shows you a little animation about the scull’s history, when it’s vitrine is at the same point of the wheel like the screen. That way people could compare stages of developement and had control over the display. It would also be possible to store more sculls or samples in the exhibition if the showcases had such a wheel form instead of being static and horizontal on the ground.

STONEAGE ART
The astonishing art excavations exhibited are boring without knowledge about the caves they were found in, the magical hunting rituals, the believes and values that were represented by these objects. The issues that come up by talking about the art’s background could help to understand these people’s lives and to better connect them to our own culture and lives.
There could be a small cave in the exhibition in which kids can crawl in and see the animals at the walls with light from behind, and a voice telling them about their history.

SWITCHES AND INTERFACES
To trigger the animations that are already in the exhibition we could develop switches that are fun to play with!
(not like the strange touch sensors there right now) For example:
there could be a stone you have to bang against another stone to see the film about how a knife was made out of a stone.

Or if you bang two plastic flints together long enough you see a fire on the screen, telling you that you just created a spark, giving power over fire, which changed peoples lives fundamentally in the stoneage.

Or you could use a shaft as a pointing tool, videotracked, that let’s you hunt for an animal on the screen.

MAP OF MIGRATION OVER CONTINENTS
I thought that the big map that showed different “tribes”, that are closest to the original population of a particular continent was ideologically strange. There should have been a focus on how much all these peoples traveled and mixed and that actually it’s impossible to say, who was originally where, because there was so much migration and nomadic movement going on. The ways of migration were almost invisible, but certain faces were shown brightly and strong as “typical” for a certain continent.

I think that’s a dangerous approach. There should rather be examples of things (language, products, stories) that give a hint on how which groups exchanged goods or cultural achievments and technical inventions. (e.g. Indo-European, silk, myths). You could perhaps play with big, wooden letters and try to guess the roots of the word and see in how many other languages parts of this word still exist. You move the letters around and get feedback of their meaning from a sound or light signal.

SPACE FOR DISCOVERIES
All in all I think the exhibiton should give more space for discoveries and interaction. The interfaces should work more intuitive and the written texts should be accompanied by other representations of the same content. But I enjoyed a lot being there and felt like being a kid again, so I had a great time.

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2 hours in the museum for american history

The permanent exhibition BIODIVERSITY is trying to create a narrative about evolution and the human species.
Unfortunatly the narrtive is told with hundrets of little descriptions (tiring to read) instead of using interactive objects, sound or game.
The samples at the exhibition are manly parts of bones, from human sceletons or their relative’s. To show scenes of everyday life as a stoneage man the curators used classical wax dolls in glass showcases. The exhibition design is interesting and nicly done, but doesn’t encourage engagement or experiments that would enhance curiosity. The view interactive screens are not designed for intuitive understanding, the navigation is confusing.
But the material is a challanging one to exhibit and the curators have done a great job compressing a lot of information to smaller and digestible units.

Our guide gave us the oportunity to walk through the workshops, in which the objects for all shows in the house are done. I loved not only the atmosphere and the enormous number of weird creatures and mock ups stored there, but enjoyed also to see the work in different stages of progress.
It had the smell of a studio and the same inspiring impact on me.

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draft

pillow.jpg

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visualization.

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circle changes position as my head changes position on the pillow + changes color with pressure (conductivity)

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potential code for three of them

import processing.serial.*;

color backgroundColor= color((int)random(255),(int)random(255),(int)random(255));

int fgcolor;

Serial port;
int [] serialInArray = new int [3];
int serialCount = 0;
int xPos, yPos;
boolean firstContact = false;

void setup() {

size(255, 255);
noStroke ();
yPos = width / 2;
xPos = height /2;
println(Serial.list());

port = new Serial(this, Serial.list()[0], 9600);
port.write (65);
// port = new Serial(this, Serial.list()[1], 9600);
// port.write (65);
//port = new Serial(this, Serial.list()[2], 9600);
//port.write (65);
}

void draw() {

//this colors the background using the backgroundColor from above
background(backgroundColor);
//this fills the object using the fillColor variable from above
fill(fgcolor,200,200);

ellipse(xPos, yPos, 100, 100);
noStroke();
smooth();
if (firstContact == false) {
delay (300);
port.write (65);
}
}
//bring the serial information into your application
void serialEvent(Serial port) {
if (firstContact == false) {
firstContact = true;
}

serialInArray[serialCount] = port.read ();
serialCount ++;

if (serialCount > 2) {
xPos = serialInArray[0];
yPos = serialInArray [1];
fgcolor =serialInArray [2];

println (xPos + “\t” + yPos + “\t” + fgcolor);
port.write(65);
serialCount = 0;

}

}

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touch pillow sensor. so you know where your head was while you were asleep

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