I would consider art as a creative form, and I am sure many others would agree with me. So how come this creative form often ends up in a space emptied from creativity. Several museums consist of large sterile rooms with two-dimensional, non-digital written descriptions on the walls. I understand the cautiousness in terms of not interfering with the artworks and letting them speak for themselves, but what if the audience no longer can hear what the art is saying within this format?
I have previously blogged about the concept of gamification in museums, and the valuable effects that implications of game elements in art spaces can have on learning and interest. But this is only one of many implications museums ought to consider when engaging contemporary audience. In this blog I am considering art museums in the discussion of engagement.
At ARoS Aarhus Art Museum in Denmark, the artwork ‘Your Rainbow Panorama‘ has been permanently integrated in the art museum and implants the audience in the artwork and engages the audience to explore the artwork. When creativity as the core element of art museums is being embedded in the exhibition’s communication, the engagement within the artwork becomes a part of the museum:
Embedded YouTube video by Anne Bro, 2017
The English professor of history Graham Black argues that museums are to transform with contemporary time if they want to survive:
There must be equally rapid changes in the definition and public practice of museums if they are to remain relevant to twenty-first century audiences and, therefore, to survive (Black 2012, p. 1).
The transformations that museums need to undergo are in terms of re-establishing a form of engagement for the museum’s audience. To interpret the different forms of cultural engagement, which Black consider, I have created a Prezi:
Screenshot of Prezi ‘Engagement in Museums’ by Anne Bro, 2017
By being in an enjoyful experience with the artwork, being in a dialogue about it or being an active part of it, Black suggests that the audience obtains a higher engagement with it (Black 2012, p. 6).
Black considers new media as one of the possible solutions for engagement in museums, as the rise of the Internet also partly is the reason for the audience’s lack of engagement in museums (Black 2012, p. 6-7):
The reality is that, to be successful, museums must now operate across three spheres – physical, internet, mobile – and these are increasingly coming together (Kelly 2011). Together, they provide us with opportunities undreamt of by our predecessors to share our collections, enthusiasms and expertise with the world, and to work with our publics for the benefit of all (Black 2012, p. 7).
Here, he suggests that the cross-disciplinary of the physical, the Internet and the mobile sphere is a way for contemporary audience to engage with the artworks in museums.
While digital media brings several opportunities for museums to engage the already digital connected audience, I would still emphasise the creative use of art within the museum’s communication of art as touched in my video. While digital technology easily can be the approach in this suggestion, the idea behind it should arise from the creative spirit that already exists within an art environment.
Black, G 2012, Transforming Museums in the Twenty-First Century, Milton Park, Abington and New York, pp. 1-12.