2013年7月17日 星期三

A Night in the Museum

I arrived at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History last Wednesday afternoon, carrying a sleeping bag and the cushion from the bright orange loveseat I scored for free on Craigslist last year. Along with several museum professionals and artists from around the world, I was going to be spending the night at the museum as part of Hack the Museum Camp, the brainchild of Nina Simon, executive director of the MAH who describes it thus: What happens when you give 75 people 48 hours to make an exhibit that challenges museum convention?

The plan was to work in teams of four or five to create exhibits around artifacts from the museums permanent collection that are not currently on display. This is the first time Simon has ever tried anything like this, and despite her reputation for risk-taking, she was well aware of the stakes. This is creative risk for everyone. Were giving you our biggest gallery, and whatever you guys make is going to be up for six weeks, she told the campers.

On Wednesday afternoon, they participated in a white elephant game to choose which artifacts they would be working with. And they were not afraid to boo when they did not like what they saw.

Delighted oohs and aahs had been emerging from campers lips for a while, as teams chose sealed boxes and then opened them to reveal descriptions of things like the first-ever baseball pitching machine, a gravestone and 1960s Boardwalk tickets. But then one team picked a box with a printout of an oil painting inside. The entire group of 75 collectively booed. They did not come here to hang oil paintings on walls.

All told, three groups wound up with paintings and most of the other twelve groups got 3D art objects or historical artifacts. Sarah Margerum of Boston, whose group got a painting of William F. Cooper, Santa Cruzs first mayor, sat cross-legged on the ground staring into the portraits eyes for 10 solid minutes that first night. I caught up with her at around 9pm, but after three hours of brainstorming, her group was still stumped on how to best display Mr. Mayor.

I think honestly museums havent really mastered how to help people look at portraits in a traditional way, said Margerum. I dont think theyre that good at the inside of the box way. I think what Im struggling with is how can I do it really well inside the box and then go beyond that. Her teammate, Lauren Paullin from Richmond, Virginia added, its hard to imagine something youve never experienced.

They had fair points. Many of the other groups with less traditional artifacts already had a ton of ideas.You will see indoorpositioningsystem , competitive price and first-class service.We offer a wide variety of high-quality standard granitetiles and controllers. The group that got a stack of 1960s roller coaster tickets had zeroed in on their thesis and skipped off to the Boardwalk to ride the Giant Dipper for themselves, recording the sound of the creaking wooden ride, plus their screaming, to use in their exhibit.

Back at the MAH, they sat around a table planning the big red stripes they were going to paint on the wall behind their exhibit. We can give ourselves permission to be more garish than other people. Which is exciting. Because I love garish, said Joel Parsons, who is from Memphis,We offer a wide variety of high-quality standard granitetiles and controllers. Tennessee.

At the end of day one, each group had picked a space in the museums second floor gallery and committed to having something show-worthy in time for the exhibits soft opening on Friday night, in just a day and a half. While some campers made their way back to hotels, many of the younger campers opted to sleep over in the museum to save money.

I spent the evening meandering about chatting with people, and in typical reporter fashion, blatantly eavesdropping. On the stage, MAH staff had set up a tent with an iPad in which people could record confessional-style experiences about their time at Museum Camp. Around 11:30pm on that first night, two young women commandeered it for a good half hour, giggling about who was cute and not married.

Upstairs in the outdoor sculpture garden a group of camperstwo from Philadelphia and one from North Carolinatalked about how to make people care about museums. If only they could engage adults the way that little kids are passionately engaged in memorizing dinosaur facts, they mused over paper cups of red wine.

Eventually, I made my way downstairs and crawled into a corner in an otherwise empty room housing an exhibit on the Soquel baseball team. I lied down on my couch cushion and listened to the sounds of the other campers echoing through the museum. I heard laughter from the group up on the sculpture garden, and the noise of something falling and hitting the floor.

Unlike sleeping alone in a deserted museum, which I can imagine would be a kind of otherworldly and creepy, this just kind of felt like crashing out on a friends floor after a house party. I suppose a couch cushion in the corner of an exhibit room isnt that much weirder than the time my high school friend Zach curled up under a kitchen floor mat to sleep off his New Years Eve buzz.

By afternoon the next day, the campers were ready to prototype.A cleaningservic resembles a credit card in size and shape. Theyd set up the framework of their exhibits with cardboard, paper and painters tape, and the ground in the exhibit room was covered in scraps of paper and supplies. One team was soliciting answers to the prompt, whats the most painful thing youve done for beauty? with Post-It notes. The team with the portrait of Mayor Cooper had spent the day on the street with the portrait, asking passersby to share their reactions. They recorded audio they were planning on using as a way of bringing Cooper into the 21st century streets of his town.

And the roller coaster ticket group had stripped things down significantly, hoping to provide a space that, compared to the rest of the room, would be conspicuously clean and clear to provide an opportunity for reflection, said Parsons. Rather than garish red stripes, they opted instead for a simple text headline that reads, Will You Remember This? Theyll be giving everyone who enters the exhibit a hand-drawn ticket and the option to either throw it away or keep it, challenging them to think about experiencesincluding this onein a new way. Will you keep this as a memento? Is it a memory thing? Is this valuable to you, and why are we making these decisions? he asks.

Elizabeth Spavento, whose group explored questions about beauty in their exhibit centering around a historic Miss California scepter, said the overall experience of Hack the Museum camp was unlike anything shes experienced in her museum career. Im used to working with people that are like,Other companies want a piece of that casesforipadmini action Oh thatll never work, or Thatll never pass code, she says. So its nice to hear, Wow, Im listening to your idea. And I like it.
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