In a world where film archivists, historians, museums and information scientists research the practice of ARCHIVING, what can a media designer bring to the table?

M6 Thesis Committee Intro


It’s important that we get away from the SINGLE GLOWING SCREEN and towards use of multiple objects/surfaces/screens

23sec: “Multiple objects in one box somehow represents groupings/meanings in our head. Its important for us to be able to put things in physical space to organize/disorganize/disrupt your thinking.”-phil

2:25: expand my definition to Rapid Prototyping and Demo, I clearly enjoy crafting the demo and are good at it. Its the wizard of Oz and presentation part of it. The demo is a form of narrative pleasure.

3:00 Wonder, curiosity, wandering, looking.
Search Thoreau (Walking) and Muir (writings) for quotes on this.
People love getting lost

6:28 Essays: Devices of Wonder. Great contemporary language.

7:00 Woman curator at the Getty. I should see her and have her walk me through their collection of wunderkammers. She’s really accessible. Mark Meadows @ UCSB putting together an exhibition and has good writing on wunderkammers. He’s in charge of the collection at the UC…incredibly eclectic. He’s written about the host/curator.

10:00 One of my strengths is the focus on the physical affordances of the wunderkammer. I’m encouraged to continue playing with those things but drop the wunderkammer. It’s too literal of an appropriation, more contemporary.
I’m more interested in the juxtaposition and simultaneous display of disparate things. I’m interested in the under-structure of the relationships and not the wood. Don’t import the look and feel, but employ exploit the strategies of the wunderkammer and structural relationships of the parts. LIKEWISE don’t import the form of modern technology word for word. Don’t adopt whatever is around.

Post wunderkammer. No one put a gun to my head, I did this, I have to come up with a model of where we’re going next or should go.

Is this a meta-wunderkammer, post-wunderkammer, proto-wunderkammer, protocurioso, post-neo-wunderkammer?

13:00 Trays as displays. I should do a mixture of this month’s special curation of objects—tagged—and placed on trays brings up other.

How limited should the interface be. If I see something on the screen I should have the ability to zoom in or cross reference. BUT MAYBE I DISALLOW THIS, maybe I limit something, maybe I make them all 1:1 scale, which is something you don’t typically think of on screen (books, text, images etc, they usually appear scaled at first). I’m elevating the presence of the display of virtual things to the same kind of weight of physical objects.

14:44 Anne is interested by the material presence in wunderkammers and role of constraints of physical material. But by that same token the humongous alligator cant be taken off ceiling and onto a tray. They walk over to it and point.

I’m looking at a couple different strategies. 1)You travel through an environment that has physical attributes that you travel through the environment. 2) The tray and you place things in it.
17:30 Norman tells me to look at the John Soane museum. He was obsessed with wunderkammer enlightenment info (in london).

18:30 The character of the objects and how they affect the interface. Having an alligator from the ceiling works because its a threatening animal hanging but still threatening. But what are the objects, what are the archives I’m going to consider as part of my project, and will that influence my design “It should.”
I need to be careful in what I design in what I can demo. I might want to consider….If I had a video wall and be able to throw stuff up, this whole wall had those virtual images on it and point at. “What’s important about it is that ITS HERE.”

20:00 Phils pointing anecdote about erasing a whiteboard but still pointing to where it once was. (This would be a great point to talk about in my paper!!!!!!!!!!)
Things I need to consider: Do I do a whole wall, a table full of trays, combination of the two? Whats going to be interesting. What work is going to be done, and by who? How is it going to be used and to what end?

20:48 Table would suggest collaborative work too. Wall would suggest stand along with a group (2 or more). If you threw something up on a wall then it becomes a chart, map, diagram, timeline, etc……so many different ways to think about it. ( A CLASSROOM would be a great new context in which my system could work. As well as a boardroom in an office!!!!!!!!!)

21:20 I am creating a generic system to be used by all kinds of archives, of all archives. Anne mentions the Hammer exhibit=collection of collections—time durfee worked on it. All of the libraries in LA and all their collections. So if I’m pulling different sized, scaled and proportioned artifacts from all these various archives, what are the proportions or how are they presented.

22:40 Are there different affordances for different types of objects? Do you have special ways of looking at textual matter which is different from looking at a stuffed alligator per se? Ben thinks thats really broad, why would you allow to looks at such a variety of “things”? Ben says what’s amazing is the relationship to the human scale and you can see these things or objects in their entirety. It is about objects rather than PDF. (ANOTHER GOOD POINT TO TALK ABOUT IN PAPER——artifact vs rendition, digital object vs just a PDF)

23:15 A problem in moving libraries to the digital format is moving the body of a book to a set of pages. Completely different relationship to material body of text—more filtered, mediated experience. (ONE OF MY DESIGN INTERESTS IS THE TRANSLATION OF PHYSICAL TO DIGITAL) A physical object you can only only have 3 things: photo of it, 3D virtual replication or 3D physical copy/print. Text you can feed into a database, search through in different ways, reorder, scrape.

24:50 Brings up the issue of the object and the infosphere around it. Metadata, and how do you deal with that. Metadata is probably the overarching logic system currently, and especially because you don’t have access to the physical object then this system becomes—the emphasis shifts somewhat to the metadata. Meta is = to individual spaces in those physical spaces, something that goes in each colored area, thats what metadata does. But the beauty of metadata is that one object CAN exist in multiple places simultaneously, whether it be trays, tables, walls, rooms, buildings, cities, or countries. It cant do that in the physical world. Theres also the issue of mapping, imagine if you could stack 9 versions of one area, spin them around and compare.

26:30 Is this space I’m talking about does it have an exhibition cycle where it changes every week or month? Maybe if it did, the curator could in fact borrow a small sample of artifacts from contributing archives as a means of a starting point. THIS IS SOMETHING I PROPOSED ALREADY LAST TERM!!!!!!! So you have some interesting combination of iconic sample physical objects original actual archived objects from these archives brought together in a physical space with the digital affordance. The curator actually curates objects plus the digital additions. So you have an actual object which gives you tactility plus all of the entire archive in the digital form. Which have RFID tags on them to it can activate the interaction.

27:50 Ben thinks it could really usefully constrain the design space of it. This is such a big problem/area that I’m going to have to pick a few. Do you envision giving a sense of the space, do I wanna make one small interactive thing, what do I have in my mind ideally I’d like to make for/in/as my exhibition.

It would be great to make a poster for this wunderkammer thing as a show, there’s nothing really interactive about it apart from one small part of it or is it about working with one interface for one of these trays? How much of it is about this space that I want to recreate?

I think I need to have a couple elements to help describe the space I am proposing, building it all out would be too much. I could just do a 2D parts of it, and then build out the working parts, but what is the appropriate aesthetic for today’s archive wunderkammer or whatever I’m calling it?It would be great played out big. So building out the space but wizard-of-ozing most of it but having a few parts working.

29:45 Essentially what I have is the special, Imo fascinated by the special collection side of libraries—so much weird crap, whenever norman does research in SC where the hell anything is, what weird things they have in some box. Many many libraries have vast things they dont know what it is or from where or where to put them. BUT AGAIN WHAT PROBLEM AM I SOLVING OR TALKING ABOUT? LIBRARIES PROBLEM, OR RESEARCHERS PROBLEM, OR…..

31:00 WHO’S THE AUDIENCE FOR THIS, IF ITS ACCESS TO ALL ARCHIVES EVERYWHERE? Scholarly researchers are looking for very specific things. If I’m one type of scholar, I may only want to look at manuscripts, if I’m another, then this type of object. The more specialized you get the narrow you get, most of the time. WHO would want to take advantage of this?…..This is cross archives/cross sections. Beauty of wunderkammer is the disparate nature of objects. So its about juxtaposition—so when and why do people want this, my system of cross archives/cross sections?
Visual pleasure.

32:40 Sean: Relative to that question, it doesnt have to be, it could be an argument—the who and the when. Its not an archivist, but a conversation on contemporary perspectives on knowledge development. There could be an argument…the historical shakespearean scholar is reconsidering the relationship between shakespearean language and ____. Its not just about going deep within shakespeare to find different meanings which is an historical context, but its about using it as a tool to understand contemporary issues or relationships with other types of literature or whatever that is.

Well this is a tool for inspiration thinkgin diff, understaning a subject in a new way. Much more of an instigator for new thinking, than it is for a research tool for deep validation of deep knowledge or something like that. So then are there curated shows?

NO, the CURATION IS THE STARTING POINT!!!!!! And then what was just said above…… a tool for inspiration thinkgin diff, understaning a subject in a new way. Much more of an instigator for new thinking.

35:20 Modernism has never been done as a wunderkammer properly. Modernism is becoming a wunderkammer for us now as we put layers and layers on top of it. Wunderkammer in a shopping mall?

36:36 In addition to wonder and curiosity, their might be an addition/another metaphor that could be useful of wandering or meandering. Anne knows theres writing about wandering, wanderer, cognition of wandering (search thoreau and muir). Something about walking and looking. Thoreau’s walking. Where the emphasis is not on wonder or curiosity or the configuration but its on the ACTION and ACTIVITY that happens and what that enables.

37:50 Slowing down vision: can you take people through a place and slow their vision down and uncover or discover. Scholars now can spend a day or two looking at just one object and getting lost in it. How do I carry that over? They’ve slowed down to where they see a crack or opening.
Thoreau wrote a piece called Walking and its about how he used that as a tool to think differently about contemporary society. Benjamin is obsessed with schlepping. Wonderschlepping! Fetching and schlepping!!

39:15 So even just temporarily avoid the wonder and curiosity and look and feel and aesthetic—get it out of my head for a little while while I design something new. And extending that into the content. Theres the obvious wunderkammer content: hair, old obscure, ragged, a horn, etc…
But this idea of even looking at modernism through wunderkammer becomes a contemporary perspective on the Sensibility as opposed to the Pastiche. Think of some different archive content and it might change the way I look at the whole project. Instead of….thats what was interesting about KCRW project was that it wasnt a collection of old cameras, is there something more contemporary or not so OLD TIMEY like 100 yr. Old cameras that could be the objects I’m looking at? It could be aerospace?

40:48 Bricolage or Scholarly Bricolage!!!! Archival Bricolage. Interactive Scholarly Bricolage. Clash of wunderkammer and modernism: deviation from the ancient and classical manner.

Instilling modernity into archives!!!!!

If I go to somewhere that hasn’t been wunderkammered to death, I might have some freshness in which to work with/pull from/use in my design as content.

42:20 Going global with access to all archives, you get the added bonus of cultural influences that you would not get if you just stayed in the US or your home country. Then it becomes beyond just the american context and SAA and into the global.

A good thing to bump up against is this implies threes a digital database for every archive in the world. In this case there would be multiple interfaces to those archives. Ones that were for orderly scholarly research in addition to something that takes a display approach and would leverage what I’m proposing. The further implications of this are 1)global digital corolary to every physical object in every archive and 2) what are all the entry points to those archives. I dont need to solve all these problems but it implies that there would be or could be. These would be created because collection specific interface but you’d have a crossover interface.

Norman’s Idea of portals, so what about a wunderkammer version of a portal?

Phils application he was advocating of manipulating multiple kinds of objects as the interface or as representations of artifacts within the collections is important part of it. That is the real difference of going online to a website to just locate a camera from 1924. What are the specific advantages I am looking for, when compared to a unique physical archive, the web version of the archive. What is specifically good or helpful about my system?

45:00 Modernism twisted a different way: a lot of it was about introducing material culture into cultural work, and no one has figured out how to research that perfectly. Also no one has figured out how to gather that so that you can actually make decisions. Almost all my examples are about material culture? (WHICH ONES DOES HE MEAN SPECIFICALLY?!?!?!?!?!?))) Maybe thats where I’m heading?

Text and documents like Joyce scholars, but what if you wanted to see Joyce’s Dublin. See what objects there are, and then you try to figure out is it what they ate, what they drank, how they lit the gas lamps, when they went electric, is it when Joyce was in that crazy place, threes a lot of other research people want to do thats very hard to do. Research Archivists make you wait 15min and they bring out one dusty box and threes nothing in there!!!! Maybe part of it is to decide what area easily lends itself to what I’m doing? This material culture thing is so much fun but no one knows how to research its hard to write about it—how do you do that? How would a researcher discover what archeologists unearthed from the FIVE POINTS garbage they found? Or under UNION STATION the stuff found from chinese workers trash found underneath. Chinatown used to be under union station. Who knows what they’ve found. And thats just LA. Rome must be ridiculous. People afraid to plant a tree. So much shit underneath. Keep building up and not going down.

(MAYBE FOR MY DEMO?EXHIBITON, I will pick a researchers’ search and they can bring in objects themselves or have a curated set of objects. Each one pulls up the digital versions and with a PANDORA like way or “thumbs up or down” next ones would be displayed. After a while you have a search tailored to like items you might not have known about.

Now I have so many options!!!!

Way to sell this: discoveries in one field lend to discoveries in another. Ice, C02 and climatologists.
Its very valuable to recognize something valuable in biology and into chip design. Jonathans metaphor/example as a way to sell it. Thats one advantage my system would have.
Thats why its important today, when innovation happens when youcombine two different fields. Instead of just hammering away in one direction, cross disciplines. Juxtapositions.

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