Kajsa Hartig

A blog about Cultural Heritage and Digital Communication

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Surprise me #Blogg100

Watching the Eurovision Song Contest is a tradition in many Swedish families. And of course, I’ve written about it before. Yesterday was the final contest in Sweden, the time to nominate the song that will be represent our country in the ESC in Austria in May .

The winner was Måns Zelmerlöw. Perhaps not the most amazing song in my opinion, but an excellent performance. The singer was interacting with an animated character. Also not the most innovative idea perhaps, but it was executed in a perfect way, that was totally different from every other competing song. A surprise, and an entertaining moment. Obviously he won.

Take away: Show something that the audience have never seen before, and do it with emotions, with humor and passion and do it in a flawless manner. There you go, the recipe for the successful museum.


Blog post 13/100 #Blogg100-challenge


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Immersive theatre, cinema dell’arte and museums #MW2013 #Blogg100

A short video of Punchdrunk Enrichment’s flagship Primary school project ‘Under The Eiderdown’.

The closing plenary that yesterday ended the Museums and the Web 2013 conference in Portland, Oregon, efficiently summed up the exciting future ahead for museums. A future that literally requires removing boundaries between not only digital and physical, but between museums and other cultural and non cultural sectors. Also most likely redefining what a museum is, or should be.

The title of the presentation was What can museums learn from immersive theatre? and adressed the need to rethink and renew the core of the museum experience, exhibitions, by looking at immersive theatre for new ideas. Participating online was Diane Borger. Diane Borger is the producer who brought the theatre company Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More to the US in 2009 (http://www.americanrepertorytheater.org/events/show/sleep-no-more). Sleep no more continues to play in New York today (http://sleepnomorenyc.com).

So what is Sleep no more all about?

Sleep No More is a theatrical experience (not a play, per se) that combines elements of Macbeth, film noir, and uses an abandoned hotel as the setting. The audience are all given white masks and instructed to remain completely silent throughotut the performance. Actors move about the hotel, up and down stairs, and scenes take place throughout the builidng over the course of a night. The performances build to a climax, but aside from that, you don’t really get any guidance on how to experience the night. Some people follow actors, some camp out in a space, all of which are extensively decorated and full of objects that reflect something about the plot. You can rummage around in desk drawers, open doors and wander as the events play out around you. Parties are encouraged to split up, and while I was there, I saw a couple actively separated by ushers and deposited on different floors as we rode the elevator up. Definitely not your typical night at the theatre.
Ed Rodley, Thinking about Museums

Sleep no more is an experience that puts the visitor out of his/her comfort zone, removes him/her of naturally safe surroundings such as other participants, includes more than two senses into the experience – the participants are encouraged to touch and interact with the settings. There are one on one encounters with the actors and there is a large portion of participation.

The idea of, by actually placing the participant in an environment that triggers emotions, fear, joy, surprise etc, is something that museums definitely should take a closer look at. To achieve this experience participation is central. For the visitor to be exposed and to loose control, but at the same time to be able to change the experience by reacting and in fact perhaps also acting.

Another very interesting project, similar in many ways to Sleep no more, is Cinema dell’arte in Denmark. It merges theatre with cinema and gaming! Take a look at this video and imagine the possibilities of merging digital with the physical experience and to put participation in focus: In museums.

Presentation video – Cinema dell’Arte from Cinema dell'Arte on Vimeo.

Cinema dell’Arte – Presentation for indiegogo from Cinema dell’Arte on Vimeo.

More reading on immersion and museums

Worlds within worlds: Immersion and museums, by Suse Cairns (2013-03-07)

On Sleep No More, magic and immersive storytelling,  by Seb Chan (2012-03-23)


Blog post 032/100 #Blogg100 challenge

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From Slideshare: How to create great presentations #Blogg100

Giving excellent presentations is a tricky thing, and requires (as everything else) time and care. Here are some tips from Slideshare:

Blog post 022/100 #Blogg100 challenge

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Book tip 3: Visual Storytelling: Inspiring a New Visual Language #Blogg100

Visual Storytelling: Inspiring a New Visual Language

Visual Storytelling: Inspiring a New Visual Language, 2011, Gestalten.

Visual Storytelling: Inspiring a New Visual Language is an illustrated book about how contextualization of information affects today’s design aesthetics. It is not a brand new book, it is from 2011. But still very important in 2013.

It is a very design oriented book richly  illustrated with infographics, data visualization, illustration, photography, and information architecture.

I am myself not extremely fond of complex data visualizations or infographics, but prefer simpler visual stories. However infographics can still be very efficient and is definitely something I would like to see more of in museums communication.

Other ways to use visual in storytelling is of course to use services like Pinterest or Instagram. But just as well why not use Facebook or even Twitter. This is further explored in the blog post Visual Storytelling: The Key Weapon to Content Marketing (Search Engine Watch).

Using visual storytelling in museum communication provides lots of opportunities, and I believe there are plenty of ways that haven’t been fully explored yet. This book can certainly be of great inspiration, not only to designers who create infographics but to anyone planning to communicate content with images and visualization.

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Reading: On getting lost #Blogg100

Blog post 015/100 #Blogg100 challenge

Today’s short blog post is a recommendation to read ”On getting lost” by Ed Rodley. It’s about constructing in gallery experiences so that they are easily and logically navigated by the audiences.

He also adresses, among other things, the interesting question: How might technology step in, when physical geography is still a barrier?

Take time also to read through his older blog posts. Great reading.