CART Transcript for How-to Session 6

Friday, April 4, 2014 3:30 p.m. – 4:19 p.m.

MUSEUMS AND THE WEB 2014
HOW-TO SESSION: 6 VITAL VISUAL INTERPRETATION: THE PROMISE OF SHORT VIDEOS APPS FOR MUSEUMS

Held at:

Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel

202 East Pratt Street

Baltimore, MD

Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. 

>> Seema Rao:   Welcome, everyone. My name is Seema Rao. I’m from the Cleveland Museum of Art. I am happy to say I am not talking about Gallery One. So if you think that’s what I’m talking about, feel free to get up and walk out. I will not feel bad. Instead, I’m talking about Vine, which I have ‑‑ all four of us have used and you will hopefully use today. If you would like to, in the first half‑hour, less than half an hour, we’re going to tell you some of our experiences. In the second half an hour, you’re going to have your own experiences.

So this is your chance to take out your phone if you haven’t already done it and download. After which we’ll have four stations for you to try. Those of you who sat through the prototyping before this, I can tell that you’re already game; so this will be equally fun.

And the four of us will lead different sessions. You can go between the four of them. So that sort of is my beginning. I’m going to pass it over to each of my colleagues. First Alli will tell you a little bit about herself and then start presenting. We were said we were presenting about Vine, not about AV support.

>> Alli Burness:   Hi. My name is Alli. I’m from Australia. I have worked with a number of museums in Sydney until the beginning of last year 2013 when I quit my job, packed up all my stuff, and traveled around the world for 12 months. I visited 205 museums in the course of 12 months. Some of these Vines at the start, the various times of transport I recorded on Vine as I went, air travel, rickety boats in Slovenia, camels in Morocco, and on Salt Lakes in Chile.

A month before I left, the Vine app came out. I was drawn to it because I needed some way to communicate with more than an image. So for those who don’t know, a Vine allows you to record six seconds only. Touch is critical. So it’s the thumb or the finger on the screen of the iPhone and it immediately starts to record. You can Intuit when to record, where you are some space. That worked for me.

I find also Vine, because of its short space, it has the capacity to compress, condense, and then concentrate and intensify moments. So you don’t have to necessarily record very long YouTube clip. This is the capacity to get what I needed to communicate.

Before I started really launching into Vine, about a month after I departed I was looking at other users of Vine to see the techniques they used and trying to replicate it. This one’s replicating a little trick by an artist. I recreated that as well. So I took tricks and techniques that other Viners used and brought that into how I used that app.

Ok. So the first museum Vine I have is one that I often use the app to create or capture a sense of movement in the gallery or to create a sense of movement if there isn’t one, but also to allude a sense of story or narrative.

Another one is the 360 panoramic space, if you’re inside a space or room. The trick is the tendencies to get a quick loop that seamlessly keeps going around and around. It doesn’t always have to be like that. They can work if it loops seamlessly or 360 around a sculpture. Again, the tendency is to try to get it to loop seamlessly, but it doesn’t always. I don’t think that reduces the effectiveness. This was in Naples.

Another, as I talked about before, using the touch to where your body is in a space and capture that sense of movement through the museum.

This is an example of doing something pretty silly for the efforts of getting a Vine. My shoes were squeaky. I was running around barefoot in an effort to capture with a decent soundtrack. That process of going from the macro looking into the museum down to the object level, the micro level of looking within six seconds.

And this is the same kind of thing but with one piece of artwork which we all tend to do in a museum, stand back and then go forward, look at the detail and then move back.

This is suggestive of an activity we’re doing later on. Matching up a feature on the face as best you can between each frame and just letting it roll. That was in the Vatican Museums.

So the next one is the product of one of my most interesting experiences on Vine last year. Chad Weinard from the North Carolina Museum of Art, reached out to me on Twitter while I was in Rome and asked if I would recreate in Vine a particular photographic work by Robert Rauschenberg, five photographs progressing downstairs. At the time — the work is called “Sigh on the Roman Steps.” We believe it was originally created on the Spanish steps. My partner and I raced out at 6:00 a.m., tried to create the Vine and found that it wasn’t working. The space wasn’t right. I didn’t realize until I looked through Vine and looked through the camera and tried to recreate it and examined closely the original on my phone, it was looking through my partner’s phone through Vine realizing this was not right. It wasn’t until I looked in that manner that I realized. So there ensued the effort to find where the work really was created.

Chad Weinard was reaching out to people you knew, academics who might know the answer to these questions we had. And meanwhile, I was trying to get payrolled scholarly articles and combing them for the clue that we needed.

It came to the end of my stay and I found the evening before a very early train the answer that we needed. So we had to cancel trains, rebook journeys. The next morning we could run out at 6:00 am and on the correct stairs recreate it. And we were successful.

And, of course, by looking into the work that matches ‑‑ inspired me, I began to understand more of what Rauschenberg was interested in and began to look at steps in‑depth. I saw them as this wonderful stage. So I was drawn to stairs across the world after that and recreated his work again and again and again.

So this is one on the stairs of a mosque in Casablanca in Morocco. We got really playful, really spontaneous, really quick.

Some stairs in Chile, Valparaiso.

And finally, some Incan stairs, the stairs of a ruin sun temple.

On that note, I’ll hand it over to Chad who will be able to tell you his side of that story.

>> Chad Weinard:   Thank you so much, Alli.

This was an amazing experience from the museum standpoint. I want to tell you a little bit about how a museum can use Vine, but I certainly want to start with this project. The back story, at the North Carolina Museum of Art was at the time, we were hosting an exhibition on contemporary art and time. So we had time on the brain. I had been interested in Rauschenberg for my own academic studies.

Part of this story is a story of collaborations and a story of connections. So for me to be able to in the middle of a contemporary art exhibition think about Raushenberg and his work dealing with time, pick a piece from the SF MoMa collection online, connect with someone around the world who I knew was traveling and doing art on Vine, ask her to take part in this experiment and create really works of art based on an exhibition that we were doing. It was really informative for our social media efforts.

This kind of mix of connection and collaboration and realtime looking through a lens of art history to see an art process and an art idea from 50 years ago, 1952, re‑enacted, updated with a current technology, and then extended throughout Europe and really seen through an artist’s eyes. It’s almost a dream situation for us in the galleries. We want to create a creative space, a people inspired by the art and art history that we have on view. So this really inspired us in many ways to, first of all, see how a visitor might come to our collection, go through our spaces, and react to them in the same way that Alli did.

So let me show you a few examples of how, as a museum, we have approached Vine as well.

This was ‑‑ we had a contemporary exhibition about time. We sent out a call on Twitter and Facebook that said please send us your Vines about time. That call went out to Alli. She responded in a beautiful way. We got about a dozen responses.

This was one of them, a painting that transitions through the day. Literally painting time through time. Very elaborate. There was a blog post written by this artist about being inspired by the process and being inspired by the medium. In fact, the blog post goes into the contraption that she made to actually get this picture made and converted to video on Vine.

This is the title wall for the exhibition. It was called “Zero to 60: Contemporary Art About Time.” I should say as a marketing effort, that contest, that call for entries, was not successful in and of itself. We got about two dozen entries of the highest quality I’ve ever seen in a competition. From a quantitative standpoint and a marketing standpoint, not successful. From a qualitative standpoint, very successful. From a PR standpoint, we had several TV stations pick up the story and run with it. So, overall a fun experiment.

This is another shot. This is in the galleries. The exhibition included this Jennifer Steinkamp piece, “Orbit.”

So museums can use Vine to give a sense of works of art in the gallery, especially that involve movement, video, that sort of thing. This is the sort of thing that you simply can’t get across in still photos.

Also behind‑the‑scenes work. So this is every season or so we change the Torah scroll that’s in our Judaea Gallery. This is a six‑second video of that process. Very quick. It’s something that shows up in line on our Twitter feed. It’s immediately visible. It gives you a sense of what’s going on while the museum is closed.

This is another one. I wonder if I can turn the sound on. Where is it? This is very funny. We have a wonderful Judaic collection this is a curator in his office winning at a Sotheby’s auction item.

>> Woo!

>> Chad Weinard:   Very happy, very thrilled. Fun to catch this behind‑the‑scenes action. We got some good response from the funder, the benefactor who helped us buy the item as well.

>> Woo!

>> Chad Weinard:   You’ll see him again and again and again.

Also, it’s a fascinating tool for honing in on stories in paintings. This is the “Triumph of Venice.” It gives you an opportunity to hone in on details in paintings and structure them in a certain way.

>> Do you ever have guys guess what painting it is?

>> Chad Weinard:   Yes. It doesn’t always work out. It’s always interesting.

This is another multimedia piece. It involves motion again. Something you could not capture. It’s Michael Bozner.

This is Rafael Lozano Hemmer. We get a lot of visitor interaction with. So visitors will post Vines and Instagrams. We have a Pinterest board just for interaction. It’s made for Vine.

This kid is adorable. So smoke comes out ‑‑ there’s a motion sensor. It can tell where your eyes are. And after a couple of seconds, smoke will appear out of your eyes.

3D sculpture. This is a Bertos piece in our galleries. It gives you a sense of not only the 3D structure but the galleries.

Close‑up views. We want to also model how we’re looking at paintings. As Alli said, we’re moving in; we’re moving out. Sometimes, you know ‑‑ this is Claude Monet’s “Waves at the Manneport.” We’re giving a sense of the texture of the painting.

This is a visitor Vine. We have a 3D work hanging from the ceiling in our East Building, “Rabble,” Helmick and Schechter. This is a great view of that piece.

You can take a visitor’s post and re-Vine it just like on Twitter and share things that way.

And that’s all from me.

>> Seema Rao:   So part of my role at the museum is to oversee intergenerational learning, which is a really broad kind of program. It’s a real catch‑all for all kinds of people who learn by doing and doing, again, is a very broad sort of category. That does include all of the content for Gallery One, but it also includes 18‑month‑olds who paint in our galleries. My staff does really amazing work. Sometimes that work is hard for people to perceive.

So one of the things that I think of when I think of interpretation, which is what really our work is, it’s about share and listening. So Vine helps us do that in many different ways. The first one is a process video. We had a very exciting thing. We have a Van Gogh exhibition right now. The thing that’s challenging is that it’s got a very small footprint. So it’s paired with a Japanese exhibit. We were trying to get our families to be excited about both of them. The Japanese exhibit is 20th Century Japanese Art. It doesn’t fit people’s paradox. We use Vine. I use Vine. People say,“What are you making at family day?” So I made this very simple Vine that shows you the project. It’s Japanese carp kites.

The thing about process videos is ‑‑ give me a second. The reason we got really excited at Vine in our department is that there’s something really magic about it. I don’t know ‑‑ those of you ‑‑ I was going to have a show of hands, but maybe now.

How many people have made a Vine?

Excellent. How many people have watched a Vine?

How many people came into this room and thought I was going to talk about wine?

[Laughter]

Good. Most of us have made them. I actually think in talking to our users, many have watched them but not made them. I will not make you raise your hand, but I have done this in my office where I have lost count of how many times I’ve watched it cycle through because there’s something magical about it. And a lot of very good ones have this sense of humor.

I’m particularly loving Vines where the hand is invisible, the maker is not there. There’s something really magical about it. Patty will talk more, can tell you about how sort of the processes later in the workshop part of this, but a lot of what’s going on is there’s a lot of work that goes behind that kind of magic.

This was a whole day of work. My husband is barely seen in this, but he deserves a shout‑out because he actually did the work while I did the video. And we took all of the projects that had been left on a Family Day, all of the papers nobody took home and turned them into a few sheets of paper. I brought some for crafting later.

But, in thinking about it, what you need to think about when you make process videos or anything that takes a lot of time and compresses it into six seconds, the thing you have to do is try to edit. It’s really hard, but it’s a wonderful practice for museums. We’re often prone to over ‑‑ to be hyperbolic, to share too much. We’re so open arms. That’s overwhelming to people.

And Vine is a wonderful tool of whatever interpretation you do and even if you were on the back end of something, you’re still part of the interpretation if you work in a museum. It’s a way for you to edit that.

I have to load more.

We’ll tell you a little bit more about some of our tips later. Patty and I have made some terrible Vines to help you make some good Vines. One of the things, a thing I cannot stress enough, is that you use the ghost feature. You can see my meta Vine. I really thought it out. I used a tripod, which is essential. The shake. I get motion sickness. I can’t watch any Vine that has a shake. We used the ghosting feature which you can sort of see here.

This is Patty’s Vine of my hands making little thing in my dirty office.

We also often shoot more than we need. There’s a wonderful edit feature. Edit, edit, edit. The feature is there so that you can do what you should be doing in your practice anyway, thinking ‑‑ being thoughtful and editing and taking things out.

The other thing about Vine is it allows you to share ideas that are very complicated in a pretty quick time. So you have to really think it out.

I don’t know how to make this louder.

>> Put the mic to it.

>> Goes into the pot or through the strainer into the cup. Hot water is in there? Tea from the kettle, into the pot, poured through the strain, into the cup.

>> Seema Rao:   We could listen to that all day, right?

We have this space that looks like a walkthrough space. There’s all of these pieces of stuff.

And now this is actually Patty’s field, so I don’t want to be to disparaging. But it’s stuff that I ‑‑ most visitors would not make sense of. So we tried to think out a very quick way them to make sense of it. We tried to create a narrative in six seconds which took at least a couple of takes. Then we delete them. If it’s only six seconds, you can waste that amount of time. In some ways I was in the rapid prototyping session. You’re sort of prototyping by trying them out and throwing them away and trying another one.

And I won’t show you this one, but another thing Vine has done for us is that we have thought about looking at our art. It’s sort of silly. As educators, we should think about looking at our art all the time. We don’t. It’s made us conscious of look at our art literally from all around.

Finally, Vine has been helpful for us in telling stories about ourselves and with our visitors. I think I have to turn on the sound again. Hold on.

>> Form.

>> Seema Rao:   We have a group of preschool teachers who worked with our institution for quite a long time. They are not art makers. And sometimes the things we ask them to do are scary. So Vine has a great sense of bringing people out and having a sense of humor and then also feeling like something that isn’t that big a deal. It’s ‑‑ you’re just using your phone. There’s no big camera. It’s not scary. So we use it to help us document the things our teachers do and help them participate with us with almost no fear on their part.

We also use it to tell ‑‑ to have our visitors tell stories. This is one my daughter made.

>> Like each other.

>> Seema Rao:   That is sort of a shameless plug for my daughter. I brought it because she’s a 4‑year‑old and she made that Vine. I made the stuff. She’s not actually, you know, some kind of amazing prodigy, but she made that. She was able to do that. I could show a 4‑year‑old how to do it. I admit she has repeated experiences with me, but we have done it with other students who come to programs, anybody of any age. And sometimes younger people have a better proclivity to this because they’re less scared.

I think I’m about to turn it over to Patty. The last thing I would say is that — she’ll talk more about this, but this is from our family ‑‑ one of our family events. We set up oftentimes ‑‑ we think about when we use Vine. She’ll talk more about this. How much should a staff member intercede in people’s lives in creating Vines?

We’ve had success with having a lot of interventions. So we created all of the props, the backdrop. I had a student from the program. She painted that backdrop. This is one of our paintings. She created this whole setup of people stepping into a painting and what would happen if you did that.

And people got playful really quickly. Vine invites humor and joy in a way that other kinds of museum interpretations sometimes don’t. And you feel like, hey, everyone’s Vining. If you look at the vast amount of Vines out there, these are really good. The things the visitors make can immediately be as good as almost half of the Vines that are out there. So that kind of level of easy success is very inviting to people.

That’s a good place to turn it over.

>> Patty Edmonson:   Thanks. I’m Patty Edmonson, also from the Cleveland Museum of Art. Part of my job is to work with college students and teens. I’m going to talk about using Vine with them.

I’m in a stage where I’ve been using it for almost a year with them. I’m doing it kind of experimentally.

So Seema talked about intervention. I’m thinking about, you know, are prompts helping or hurting? How much intervention do I give? I have two that an intern of mine made. That’s not him. That’s a friend of his. He’s a grad student. His degree is in public history. He actually didn’t have any art museum experience when he came to me. So I didn’t give him any direction other than I want you to get to know the museum, so just go into the galleries and make some Vines, please.

So he often would call his friend over. So for him, in that way, it did become kind of a social experience, just kind of play with his friend. And he did get to know the galleries a lot better. And so this Vine even shows that he happened to be looking at this painting enough to realize that we had a vase that was exactly like this sort of ‑‑ the vase reproduction. So I just threw that in. To me that showed that he spent enough time in the galleries that he started to notice new things. And he started to sort of take ownership of the museum. I felt like.

I’m going to jump to the teens. Just to preface, I guess, I work with 10 teenagers. They’re at the museum for a year. I spent two weeks with them, and Seema does as well, all day. Then they come back once a month to volunteer. So they make a range of video projects. They do flip cam things, work with the production company. But then I also ask them to make Vines. I have their own Vine account.

At first, I was kind of learning with them when we started last year. So this is one that we made together. I’m in there somewhere.

This was ok, but it was really like my idea. I said, let’s just make this right now. It wasn’t about them. So then I give them a list of prompts and sent them out into the galleries.

This is an example of what I thought was sort of unsuccessful. I said just go make a Vine in Gallery One. And this is what they made, which is fine; not that interesting and not really about them either.

So as the program progressed, we’re starting the second year now, one of my main goals is really to get their voice at the museum. I think as we work more with Vine, that’s a way for them to do that.

Sometimes people at museums, people who work at museums, are nervous working with teenagers because they don’t know what’s going to happen. So I will say that I do sometimes delete Vines that they make, but we always have a conversation about why I’m doing that.

So I didn’t delete this one. But we did talk about, you know, the tone of the sort of caption that’s under there. If you’re reading it, maybe you’re not hearing “Ladies, please.” And some people might consider that a little disrespectful of the art. So it’s not that there’s breasts in this. It’s that there’s a tone of respecting the art in the museum.

So, for example, one that I’ve deleted in their feed is where they sort of mimed punching sculptures. We talked about how that wasn’t really ok and why.

And then here are a couple of examples of where I just let them go free and make what they wanted. I think that’s when we started to find some humorous things. If any of you have seen “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off” they recreated a scene from that movie.

And I have another one.

>> Miley Cyrus.

>> Joe Jonas.

>> Paul Giamatti.

>> Miley Cyrus.

>> Joe Jonas.

>> Paul Giamatti.

>> Ironman.

[Laughter]

>> Patty Edmonson:   It’s celebrity look‑alike Vine. That was cute.

The other end of the spectrum, I found that some of my teens who have trouble expressing themselves verbally sometimes have made some of the best Vines. This is one of our students, Fiona. She created this one.

And then this one which I think, you know, part of the pleasure of Vine is just creating something visually appealing. It’s that simple. So I thought these were both really cool. I was really happy to see that she was able to excel in this. So, kind of played to her visual strengths there.

So I think that’s our last one, which is good, because now we can make some Vines.

>> Seema Rao:   Yes. I had one really good question that I want to answer. I think we can maybe have a couple of questions and then break into doing unless nobody has questions and then we can just do.

A good question about ghosting. Dana, in fact, I’ll call her up. Let me go back to that Vine.

So Vine can be just straight six seconds of video, but most often it’s about compressing time. And sometimes it’s a very complicated stop motion, like the one that I did about paper making. Sometimes it’s a little bit shorter, like this one where I’m making a felt bow.

If you want to do motion animation and you want the image to line up — so there’s some people who are extraordinary at it. You don’t even notice that it looks like it’s going: vrrrp.

Some were successful. I’m trying to think of one. You can see this. This is not the best, but you can see that it goes where the beads just keep appearing.

What I’ve done is I’ve stopped the frame. So each of those is a single frame. Then I use a feature which creates a ghost of my previous frame. The ghost remains ‑‑ it’s a ghost because it’s there. You can see how my hand is ghosted. You can see almost my hand. And that’s so that you can line up your frames.

This is the most important feature of making motion animation. I would never be able to do it otherwise. It tells you where you’re going. I would say try as hard as you can not to breathe if you’re doing something very complicated. Just don’t ‑‑ don’t wear swooshy clothes. Don’t roll around. Don’t do anything that would move your camera because it’s very hard to get it back into place.

Are there other burning questions? Yes?

>> I’m curious. Are any of you using Vine in the galleries as part of ‑‑ iPad or is it all digital and off‑site?

>> Seema Rao:   Patty?

>> Patty Edmonson:   With the teens, almost everything they do is in the galleries.

>> I mean display. I’m sorry. Are you displaying Vine video that you create?

>> Seema Rao:   We don’t display Vines. But I also don’t know that that’s what they’re for. I think Vines are often best enjoyed ‑‑ that’s why we had such a hard time with our presentation. We were killing ourselves all day. They’re so wonderful on your phones. So we’ve been thinking of them as ‑‑ one person can communicate with another person or the institution sort of can act as a person and communicate in that way. So we have not. It’s a good question.

>> I was thinking with the behind‑the‑scenes and things like that. That would be really interesting in gallery interpretation. I was just curious.

>> Seema Rao:   Especially before an installation, putting it up as it’s happening. You could be building Vines. Absolutely. It could be very interesting.

Yes?

>> Why Vine over Instagram?

>> Seema Rao:   We were wondering if someone would ask. We took a bet on it. I really like the framework of Vine. It was the first one I used. So we started this before Instagram video in some ways. So I don’t ‑‑ as I’ve said — Alli knows. I don’t like change. In truth, one of the things we’ve all talked about is Vine has some great features like edit and ghost. And we don’t really care that much about Instagram’s filters the video offers. And finally, six seconds actually is a lot in some ways. So we started trying Instagram video and it was an onerous amount of time.

Co‑panelists, other things about Instagram video?

>> Patty Edmonson:   I have made partnering with our social media person at the museum sort of a how to Instagram video. And that was ok. It obviously gave us a lot more time. But for any stop motion animation, the Instagram platform is just not as smooth. I can’t exactly explain why, but the product is never as smooth as a Vine.

>> Seema Rao:   One last question. ‑‑ sorry. Alli.

>> Alli Burness:   I was going to say, I find the Instagram far less responsive. There seems to be a slight lag between when you hit record or whatever it is you use for record in Instagram. And then making a motion there’s a real lag. And that takes all the flow out of the recording process. And I realized how dependent I am on that bodily connection, instant responsiveness of Vine.

>> Seema Rao:   Any last questions?

>> Using Vine with your visitors, were they actually operating the app or did you do that piece and they were just in the space?

>> Seema Rao:   A good question which I glossed over. So we have ‑‑ recently we had something where they could use their own devices and they could or couldn’t. And I didn’t care if you did or not. It’s with our Van Gogh exhibition. Patty had the one where the students were doing it. And I suspect most people just took still images. With the other one, we had interns. It was really great, students who were interested in museum education so they helped facilitate.

But it is for some people challenging. It’s nice because family days you don’t sign up. You don’t want to be there all day. Your kids are crying. We like to have staff as intercessors.

All right. So to break up to do Vine, Alli is going to be in the corner over near that beautiful chandelier, somewhere over there. And she’s going to do an activity about funny faces. If you think about doing Vine with people, it’s a great thing to break the ice.

Then over somewhere over here, there’s an empty chairs, Chad will be over there. And Chad will be talking about Vine as well. He’s a master of the tap. And the tap is really hard. You might not think that’s true, but it really is. He also does a good job of doing videos that sort of capture the space that you’re in the places that you’re in. If you want to do that, go over there.

Patty will take over the whole table. She’s going to make little tiny books. Can you hold it up? I can’t climb over this. And you could even use the paper that we made in the paper making Vine. You can cut it up to make little books if you would like.

And then I’m going to be over there somewhere. And I’ll be making Vines ‑‑ one of the things I have had to experience is working with people who might not know how to use Vine and getting them to tell something that’s like a story within six seconds.

And Patty, also, if you would like to Vine an idea, Patty is happy to help you.

[The captioned portion of the presentation ended 4:19 p.m.]