Connecting to Everyday Practices/Chapter 7

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Experiences from the Digital Natives exhibition[muokkaa]

Sejer Iversen and Rachel Charlotte Smith

The article “Connecting To Everyday Practices: Experiences from the Digital Natives exhibition” from Ole Sejer Iversen and Rachel Charlotte Smith deals with social media as a tool to (re)connect audiences in museum spaces. Based on the Digital Natives exhibition they explain and underline the “necessity” and possibilities of social media applications and tools within an exhibition.

Iversen and Smith say that social media has a profound impact in social practices and that these networked forms of communication are already part of people’s everyday lives and experiences. The focus of their project was to explore how the use of social media inside the museum space can create a renewed 'connectedness’ between audiences’ everyday practices and matters of heritage in the context of particular exhibitions. The goal was to make the exhibition a specific space for creating dialogical experiences and connections between matters of heritage and audience’s everyday lives.

The research and exhibition experiment exploring the intersections of cultural heritage, participatory design and new interactive technologies involved a group of young people, anthropologists, architects and interaction designers through a period of nine months. It was carried out by the Center for Digital Urban Living, Aarhus University, Denmark, in collaboration with a number of external partners. The aim of this project was to create an exhibition in collaboration with a group of digital natives to explore and express their lives and cultures in a local museum setting. The resulting exhibition explored these young people’s everyday cultures, identities and communication practices, and experimented with new ways of representing and interacting with them in the context of a concrete museum exhibition.

Link to the exhibition webpage.

For the exhibition, four interactive installations were created, which focused on the everyday lives and social practices of the seven young natives (aged 16-19) variously involved in the project – Google My Head, DJ Station, Portraits, Digital Sea. The four installations were developed on the premises that all of them should promote participation and forge co-experiences and co-creation within the physical space of the museum exhibition. Each installation demanded the involvement and reflections of the audience in order to create meaningful experiences. Some visitors experienced the technology as a barrier for getting inside, behind or beyond the surface of the installation, but framed within the language and experience of social media, each experience was created in unique moments of dialogue and interaction inside the actual exhibition space.

In this way, each installation represents a unique take on the interrelation and connectedness between the heritage subject, audiences’ involvement, and the exhibition space. Hence, social media can resourcefully support diverse individual and social experiences and it can forge dialogic participation and engagement in the museum space. It forges both individual and collective experiences in the ongoing construction, reproduction and distribution of cultural heritage meanings and creates environments that encourage audiences to participate, reflect, co-create and engage within the exhibition space.

The article was really interesting and helped me to get a new perspective of using social media in a cultural institution. Until I read this article I have seen social media as a marketing tool and to enlarge and get in contect with the people outside the institution represented. To use social media inside the institution, as part of the exhibition, is a quiet novel and exciting way to present the past, present or future, and gets the people back into the institution.