The Aesthetic of Participative Design Pieces: Two Case Studies in Museums

By Mariana Salgado.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In the two cases discussed in this article, the participative pieces propose an exchange of comments between visitors (not necessarily at the exhibition space at the same time), artists, pieces exhibited, exhibition and museum. This exchange enriches the experience of the visit.
The two case studies are Keskustelukartta (Conversational Map), an installation in Taidehalli, Helsinki during an exhibition at the Young Art Biennale entitled Small Heaven, and Äänijälki (Sound Trace), a participatory audio guide at Ateneum Museum, Helsinki.
In this study, the concept of participative design pieces is a way to connect interactive pieces in a museum to the collaborative design process in which they were conceived. The term “participatory design” is used here to discuss on-line and on-site pieces that pool resources.
What makes these participative pieces aesthetically appealing? Participative pieces in this context are intended to be tools for accessibility as there is no aesthetic experience if the visitor cannot engage with the exhibited work. These participative design pieces are tools for inclusion that encourage visitors to actively generate content. To this end, these pieces should be understandable and accessible, coherent, multimodal and multilingual; they should draw on familiarity with something previously known, and be attractive, challenging and surprising. They should allow for improvisation and contemplate the social interactions that take place in the exhibition space.

Keywords: Aesthetics, Museums, Participative Design Pieces, Visitor-Generated Content, Participation, Accessibility

International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.105-110. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 656.838KB).

Dr. Mariana Salgado

Research Assistant/ Doctoral Student, Media Lab, University of Art and Design Helsinki, Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland

M.A. Mariana Salgado (Research Assistant). Mariana Salgado is a doctoral student at the Media Lab, University of Art and Design Helsinki. She has a Master Degree on Product and Strategic Design from the same university. Her bachelor degree as Industrial Designer is from University of Buenos Aires. She has been working in projects in museums where there is active participation of visitors. Her current interests are in user-centred methodologies and design for all solutions in the museum context. The working title of her doctoral research is “Interactive Platforms for Starting Dialogues in Exhibitions” She has been working in Media Lab for 4 years, collaborating in the following projects: 4G Design, Digital Facsimile of the Map of Mexico 1550, Äänijälki (Sound Traces), ImaNote and Keskustelukartta (Conversational Map).


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