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A museum pass to an immersive and customised experience
A museum visit is an amazing opportunity to immerse yourself in someone else’s mind, in someone else’s world. To be fully present means to be fully open to the experience. To fall into a flow of observing, questioning, understanding and reflecting on what we have seen, heard and felt. To deepen the visitor's time at the museum, we propose Eaves - a museum pass to an immersive experience accustomed to your presence.
What happens when we imagine a museum visit without phones, minimise the amount of reading of plaques and have the visitor use all of their visual energy on sensing their surroundings? By limiting the amount of visual queues for the visitor, enhancing the auditive context, we aim to bring the visitor closer to the exhibitions. At the same time we can bring a person closer to the art, the artist and the artist closer to the person observing their work. By exploring an element of auditive augmented reality, an opportunity to open up museum visits to people with a visual impairment or difficulties learning through text becomes a clear advantage as well. At the start of your visit you have the chance to set up Eaves based on your expectations and ambitions, so that you get the most out of your visit. During your visit, Eaves is your companion and museum pass, guiding you through the exhibitions and it architecture, while informing you on the pieces that intrigue you. When returning Eaves, you receive a summary and a condensed version of your visit so that you can re-visit it whenever you feel like, and share it with others. Like going to a museum with a knowledgable friend, or eaves-dropping into a guided tour, Eaves tailors your visit to your expectations, your behaviour and your past museum visits.
The museum experience with eaves
In an unfamiliar setting, it is easy to lose your way. When exhibitions are laid out, the story the artefacts tell follows this path. So as a visitor you gain a lot by knowing your way- that is why in this system will play in a panoramic stereo sound. Working with an intuitive use of sound, the exhibition’s ambient soundscape increases on your left, right, front or back to pull you towards that direction. Through tracking installations connected to Eaves, the museum knows where you are, and where you best head to next
When picking up Eaves, a set of possibilities is given to you. The museum could put together a itineraries where the visitor is guided through e.g. the must sees, or pinnacles of the style etc depending on the amount of time they have available. In this way, the museum can add layers of storytelling on their exhibitions; hidden narratives that are revealed when placing specific artefacts together. The visitor can also set the level of information about the artwork; whether they feel they are complete novices or experts in the subject.
At the end of the visit, Eaves is handed back for cleaning and charging, if needed. The visitor will get a prompt to synchronize their museum visit summary with a digital device or account. The summary brings together your visit, based on the data, such as location, narrations listened to, duration, etc. acquired during that time. Favourite artists or artefacts helping you to find new museums to discover in your city or anywhere in the world. Maybe something in the gift shop would be of interest? Bringing together the narrations you listened to so you can revisit them wherever you are or share with close ones. And if you missed a narration during your visit because you had to hurry, it will be there for you, too.
To improve our understanding of the scope of this context, we looked into the museum visit experience by mapping out general situations and needs that might arise. Through a visit at a local art museum, we identified several existing pain points that had a reoccurring effect into ther museums. These are known issues in museums and are the subject of active discussions among museum curators.
Some situations identified as interesting to look into further:
· An installation with accompanying sound is easily overheard in other rooms. A video with audio needs headphones that are usually occupied by another visitor, or deemed to unhygienic to use.
· An installation in the middle of the room has the information placed on a close-by wall, which requires the visitor to memorise either the text or the experience.
· Information on a plaque become impossible to read when other visitors obscure it.
· A sense of uncertainty is felt when the directions or layout are unclear.
· When visiting in a group, people have different speeds to tour a museum and might not synchronise well.