Skip to content

We’ve moved…

This blog has moved to my website jglarner.com – come and visit us there!

web JG

 

Advertisements

Towards a sustainable museum education

According to a recent study (in Spanish), one out of three university students in Spain have never visited a museum. It is a surprising data. We actually assume that students should have had more and easier access to museums than any other group of the same age. So what has been going wrong there? Who are the guilty ones – museums, parents, the university, society as a whole?

Assumption 1: Nowadays higher education is more accessible than ever, so people from weak social backgrounds where museum visits are not common are studying at university.

Assumption 2: When these students were small children, so about 15 years ago, many museums still did not have educational departments. Maybe within ten years, most of the students will be able to say that yes, they have visited a museum at least once in their life.

But again, should this satisfy us? I’d say no, because what matters is not visiting a museum, what matters is learning something there, is taking out something, a piece of information, a positive emotion, something that will stay with the person throughout his or her life. In the best case, this memory makes the person come back to this same or any other institution. In the very best case, the person will transmit his or her knowledge and lived experience to friends, parents, own children, etc.

Family visiting the Museu Frederic Marès, Barcelona

A large number of museums do offer educational activities for school children and many museums save visitor statistics thanks to these school activities. That’s all fine, but we should rethink museum education and creating very best cases: we should actively foster a sustainable museum education, one that will live on beyond the individual who receives it.

It’s a difficult task, that’s for sure, but maybe we can simply start by surveying the current museum education, especially the one addressed at schools.

Museums should try to create a culture of visiting museums, something that forms part of people’s life. Too ambitious? Maybe, but we might be able to avoid situations such as these: “Where have all the children gone, Britain’s galleries wonder” writes The Independent a couple of weeks ago.

And we might have stopped wondering by then.

TweetsReview – 3

In the first of this TweetsReview series I explained – in Catalan at that time – why I decided to start the series. The story goes back a couple of months ago when I was involved in some discussions on the social media mix, i.e. the proper balance of all the 2.0 tools within a communication strategy. Participants agreed that Facebook and Twitter were very powerful, but that information was lost in a few hours and that it was quite difficult to recover interesting information distributed through these channels. In a blog, however, the information is kept and remains accessible over time. That’s why I started the series “TweetsReview” as a selection of my most interesting tweets during a certain period of time.

4 Jul The virtual Museum of the City. Great participatory feature: create and present electronic exhibits about cities. http://t.co/806PAju
This 100% virtual museum is, in its own words, “the world’s only virtual museum of cities, showing the things that make a city great: its design, its history, its transportation, its cultural influence”. It is basically a 1.0 website, but what I found most interesting is the “Get involved” feature: everyone is invited to build and submit an exhibit. I am curious to see the first exhibitions there!

29 Jun BBC’s new web: Your paintings – Uncovering the nation’s art collection. Featuring great social tagging! http://t.co/ZKsGUOd
BBC has launched a new web which aims at putting 200’000 pieces of UK’s art collection online. Very user-friendly, with guided video tours by experts and a great social tagging feature “Help tag the nation’s oil paintings”, starting in summer 2011. Yes, I am a big fan of social tagging and I wish more museum websites would propose it. The Brooklyn Museum is, as for many other 2.0 features, a fantastic example of social tagging.

24 Jun Wow! RT @artinfodotcom: A Museum That Does Take-Out?: How the Leeds #Art Gallery’s Public Lending Plan Works: http://t.co/rbE7n8C
I first couldn’t believe it: just go to the museum and take your favored painting back home for a while (and little money). So innovative! But…what about conservation issues? I cannot think of many museums that could seriously envisage such a scheme.

3 Jun Thomas #Hirschhorn ‘s website for his work at Swiss Pavilion @la_Biennale “to propose an inside view” http://bit.ly/liTlpu
Thomas Hirschhorn launched this specific website to give more background information on his work “Crystal of Resistance” exposed at the Venice Biennale 2011, Swiss Pavilion. I think it interesting to get an insight view of an artist’s creative process, for instance through 79 sketches online, well worth a browse. There is much more material: videos, studio and set-up pictures, etc. It really helps to get familiar with the work, even without travelling to Venice.

Thomas Hirschhorn’s Chrystal of Resistance

And finally, a recommendation to visit an exhibition in Barcelona:
17 Jun
L’efecte del cine. Somni. @FundaciolaCaixa BCN. Vídeos, pel•lícules i instal•lacions d’alta qualitat. Molt recomanable! http://t.co/GQxzglw
This exhibition at the CaixaForum in Barcelona gathers some fantastic works: video art, film and installations, all of high quality. I especially liked and installation by Anthony McCall You and I Horizontal II, 2006.

Installation by Anthony McCall

How to involve the public at an early stage of exhibition making

An example from Barcelona

Participation, together with interaction, has been a trendy topic in the museum world over the past recent years. It seems difficult nowadays to conceive an exhibition without any participatory element, even though many exhibitions and also websites remain a one-way oriented, museum-public, affair.

This cannot be said of the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB), which is preparing Global Screen, an exhibition to explore the power of the screen in today’s society. As an interesting feature, CCCB has started to involve the public well before the exhibition opens (in January 2012). Last week it organized a workshop allowing the public to become familiar with the issue and the exhibition itself.

During the first session, members of Telenoika, an “audiovisual creative open community” as they describe themselves, introduced us to the world of Vjing, video attacks and Mapping. The latter consists of video screenings on historic buildings. Check out a few exciting examples of Mapping created by Telenoika. What I found interesting was the re-definition of the screen, mainly understood as forming part of a cinema, TV, computer, mobile, etc. Telenoika deliberately extends the boundaries of the concept projecting on any surface, which can receive videos.

Members of Telenoika between many different screensMembers of Telenoika between many different screens

In the evening, the two curators Gilles Lipovetsky and Jean Serroy, talked about the seven areas, around which the exhibition will be structured:

–          History screen

–          Politics screen

–          Sport screen

–          Advertisement screen

–          Excess screen

–          Game screen

–          Surveillance screen

CCCB not only allows us to get to know the exhibition areas through their curators, but also launches a main participatory feature: everyone will be invited to send in videos and images related to the seven screens through an online platform starting in October. The process will be managed by the CCCB’s own research and innovation department, CCCBLab, and should culminate in a parallel exhibition, which later will be incorporated in the main exhibition. Through this participation, the users become co-curators of the exhibition.

I find this process most interesting. CCCB has already set up projects where people could send in pictures through an online platform, which then became part of the exhibition, such as The City of Horrors and the current online project: Brangulí was here. What about you?

It might have been the good experiences with these projects that led CCCB to go one step further in the case of Global Screen, involve users at an earlier stage and give them even more weight within the exhibition.

I only hope that users do not get tired of so much participation. It would be interesting to know if many people repeat participation and to what extent a different project is capable of capturing new users, and new visitors. Statistics, if well run and cared of, will tell us.

In any case, I’ll get my camera out, ready for participation.

Catalan or English: that’s the unsolvable 2.0 dilemma

I have decided to change the language of this blog: I will stop writing in Catalan and switch to English instead. Many native English language speakers will have trouble understanding the difficulty we face in Europe (and other continents, of course) with respect to the language(s) we use in social media.

On one hand there is our local community we provide with information, our immediate environment we live and act in. Despite using a world wide web, interestingly enough we tend to interact mostly with people from our familiar cultural sphere, including its language.

Even though Catalan is not my mother tongue (it’s German, actually), living in Barcelona makes me use it as a main language at home, at work, with friends. It seemed natural, hence, to apply it for my blog. However, after some months of blogging, I found it a pity that I could not disseminate to a wider audience the contents I wanted to share.

In a recent discussion, a friend of mine @begonyacayuela finally gave me an argument I saw as a compromise, an in-between: We should write in English, she said, so that the ideas we create here (in Catalonia) can be exported.

Another avid blogger, @mariavid, recently decided to translate posts also into Spanish, so as to reach more readers. With Twitter, the problem is the same or even worse. How to satisfy the needs of your local and global Twitter community with one account?

What is a time consuming task for an individual is more accessible on an institutional level. The blog of the Museu Picasso Barcelona, for instance, has a very coherent publication policy in three languages (Catalan, Spanish and English). It seems the only way to go for a museum with a strong international outreach.

I find it a pity to switch language, but I shall compensate it with many ideas made in Catalonia!

Adéu català, welcome English!

Del català a l’anglès: el perquè de tot plegat…

He decidit de canviar l’idioma del meu blog: deixaré d’escriure en català i passaré a l’anglès. Sempre he tingut una certa enveja als anglòfons que poden escriure en el seu idioma matern que també és la lingua franca. La diversitat lingüística és una cosa fantàstica, però malauradament frena la difusió de continguts.

En una trobada dels #cafesdepatrimoni debatíem aquesta problemàtica i em quedo amb una reflexió de la @begonyacayuela: Hem d’escriure en anglès perquè les idees que generem aquí s’exportin. Un argument de pes.

Poc després trobo un article al blog de la @mariavid que ha decidit d’afegir el castellà al català per augmentar la difusió de les seves idees. La Maria també menciona el dilema dels idiomes a Twitter. El @JGlarner és una barreja d’unes quantes idiomes i de vegades penso que els meus seguidors que no entenen el català es deuen cansar i tots aquells que no poden fer res amb l’alemany o el francès igual. Ai, quin desastre!

El que és difícilment realitzable per un blocaire individual, ja és més accessible a nivell institucional. El blog del Museu Picasso Barcelona (com tot el seu web), per exemple, té una coherència impressionant pel que fa a l’emissió de continguts en tres idiomes. L’esforç és gran, però és imprescindible per un museu amb projecció internacional forta.

Em sap greu deixar el català, aquest idioma que per a mi és d’adopció, però tan present en el meu dia-a-dia. Espero, però, poder obrir el blog cap a nous horitzons.

Adéu català, welcome English!

TweetsReview – 2

Després del primer TweetsReview, aquí ve el segon d’aquesta sèrie que és una selecció dels meus tweets més interessants durant un cert període de temps.

20 Apr Recomano #exposició sobre l’escriptor hongarès Sándor Márai al Palau Robert. Un descobriment. http://bit.ly/efQi24
El Palau Robert és com un Popurri: hi trobem exposicions de tot tipus, temàtica, mida – un veritable tot-terreny, doncs. L’exposició sobre Márai és petita, però ben estructurada, atractiva i interessant. Si passeu davant, no us la perdeu.

A l'exposició Sándor Márai

28 Apr Descobrint les expos virtuals del Centre de Recerca i Difusió de la Imatge. La meva preferida: #Dali vist per N. Sans http://bit.ly/iNPmT1
Són aquestes joies amagades del patrimoni cultural. Una web poc coneguda que permet immergirse en un altre univers. Màgic.

14 May Totalment d’acord! @daniguties: el museu de Badalona te aspectes de la interpretació millorables, sobretot a partir de introducció de TIC…
En el marc dels #cafesdepatrimoni, un grup de frikis que es reuneix en un museu per parlar de patrimoni cultural, vam visitar el Museu de Badalona amb l’espai expositiu de les Termes i el Decumanus totalment reformat. Impressiona, però costa entendre com era Baetulo, com s’hi vivia. Ens va recordar, un cop més, fins a quin punt és difícil apropar l’arqueologia al visitant. La introducció de TIC podria ajudar amb la tasca. És vertiginós: un espai recentment inaugurat ja sembla una mica antiquat. De tota manera, val la pena visitar el museu. Per cert, va haver-hi l’exposició temporal Joan Ponç. Capses secretes 1975-1980 amb dibuixos molt macos.

"La Venus de Badalona"

18 May Gaudint del #IMD2011 al ara reformat Museu Frederic Marès. És com visitar 5 museus en 1. I no us perdeu l’expo temporal!
Serà veritat que tots els col·leccionistes compulsives tenen algun trastorn sexual-mental? No ho sé i no ho debatré aquí, però em fascina el Museu Frederic Marès amb el seu mar d’objectes. Voldria també fer un homenatge especial a les vitrines de fusta tan exquisides que constitueixen en si peces de museu. A l’exposició temporal , Trans·Formare, trobem obres d’art fetes a partir del museu en reformes.

Vitrines de fusta, de pes!

Una obra (de Ramón Casanova) a l'exposició Trans·Formare al Museu Frederic Marès

20 May Debate interesante sobre el primer catálogo digital del @museodelprado que además NO tiene versión impresa http://bit.ly/iyzyMw
Val realment la pena mirar el producte i intentar fer-se una opinió sobre els avantatges i inconvenients de publicar un catàleg només en versió digital. No sé, però trobo a faltar la olor que tenen els catàlegs recent impresos…Sigui com sigui, un gran bravo al Prado per haver innovat i arriscat.