Wednesday, March 7, 2007

The Museum of Yesterday: Point 9

Point 9: Discussion

Broader implications?

The museum as an intimate storyteller.
To “outsiders” as well as townies. If one wanted to “get the pulse” of the community a visit to the museum may give more intimate details than can be obtained through personal interactions.

The museum as communication post for the community.
People can leave messages for their friends and loved ones. Members of the community may find this to be of some use while outsiders may garner little from theses posts.

People will come to this space and take time to enjoy the memories of their community together. Friends may come as a group to enjoy a particular memory that they submitted the day before. Strangers may find themselves observing each other’s memories and being able to learn something about one another with the possibility of meeting that person in this physical space. Bickering lovers may be able to confide in the anonymity of the museum space’s submission process what they were not able to tell their partner directly. Townsfolk in general may make it a habit to pass through the museum on Monday nights when a certain theme of memories are displayed.

The museum as a memorial to the “felt” history of UIUC.
As opposed to a traditional history where dates, moments of fanfare or disaster articulate the history of a location, this museum would celebrate the reactions or the emotions of the location. This “felt” history is not something outsiders may necessarily be able to relate to. The reactions or emotions may also be in response to nothing traumatic at all, in fact, an idea we are trying to tap into is that everyday is a moment of fanfare or disaster. Everyday is a cause for celebration as people all over town are able to share the discovery of something beautiful they have come across or have created. Everyday we as a community face traumatic situations, random acts of kindness, long lasting love, anger, despair and hope.

The museum as a facilitator.

Going along with the idea that we, as a community, have all these inspirations, cries for help and comic situations; an avenue of expression empowers the basic desire to voice these ideas. This in effect draws attention to the person as one who interacts with the beauty in our social and even spiritual environment; encouraging more people to tap into what makes art so compelling.

How did specific choices lead to impact or tension?
We started off with the idea of having recording stations where members of the community would come and record moments either through video or by typing them out. The recordings would then be up for display at a certain public space somewhere like the Student Union. We liked the idea of having that shared space to share and talk about memories, but the station idea felt a bit stagnant and could not capture the ephemeral and intimate moments – important parts of our memories.
We wanted to retrieve these collected memories (video, audio, written, etc.) in a manner that would be efficient with our desires and so the idea of a “wiki” stayed with us. However, we decided to shed the search function for a more directed approach. The curator for the museum would choose certain themes that the uploaded memories would have to incorporate and in this way, over time, after diligent tagging of the memories by their authors the storage of various themes would allow a passer-by to choose which themes to observe.
The idea of forgetting was incomplete in our discussions. We wanted some sort of filter to keep out the lewd and inappropriate – some filtered by the curator and possibly more so by the community members visiting the museum.

Do you feel your approach is more like “grounded theory” or “hypothesis testing”?
I feel as if our approach is more like hypothesis testing only it is without a solid hypothesis. Through further experimentation completely unanticipated consequences may emerge with which we may have to alter certain facets of our museum. We are dedicating a physical space to the “memories” of a town in the hopes that people may come, learn, talk, cherish, empower, reflect and bond with one another. Whether making a space to daily display new video, audio, and other works submitted by the town will accomplish this may be the hypothesis. We are leaving much of the directing of this project in the hands of the censor (if we are to have one), the creativity of UIUC, and the current social dynamic of the campus. Whether this museum can be accurately described as a store house of the ephemeral memories or “felt” history of UIUC is also up for question.

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