Leonard Steinbach , The Cleveland Museum of Art, USA
Session: Technology: Digital Video/ Broadband
The museum technologist’s challenge for the first decade of the millennium has little to do with technology. There will be plenty of tools and toys. We just don’t know how to use these effectively, to make the visitor's relationship with art more satisfying, life enhancing, behavior changing and enduring. This is particularly distressing at a time when interpretation and relationship-building are becoming paramount museum issues. It is not that the clues, theories and experiments are not out there… we are just not looking at the right place. That place is the brain.
This paper and presentation discusses current thought and activities in the fields of the cognitive sciences, learning theory, vision and art and what museum technologists can learn and apply from these disciplines. It also describes some of the ways in which museums have become involved in these efforts. Questions will be raised. When we look at art, what do we really see? Why understand how motion, color, and time the art experience? How do our personal histories and emotional associations render art “meaningful”? More pertinent, how can technologists benefit from knowing how people intrinsically respond to art in order construct better interfaces, effortless navigation, and engaging experiences. The paper also presents a case for increased cooperation and collaboration between academic scientific institutions and museum technologists and educators so they can more rapidly explore the nexus of their fields. It may take a neuroscientist to explain Mona Lisa’s beguile, but it still takes a museum to share it.