Posing with Art: Researching and Designing for Performative Acts of Interpretation

Palmyre Pierroux, University of Oslo, Department of Education, Norway, Anne Qvale, Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, Norway, Rolf Steier, University of Oslo, Norway, Birgitte Sauge, National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Norway

Published paper: Posing with Art: Researching and Designing for Performative Acts of Interpretation

In this paper, we review recent developments in technology-enhanced posing activities in art museums. We present a sociocultural perspective on the intertwined cognitive and social aspects of gesture and posing in meaning making, and we discuss how these relate to visitors’ interpretive processes in encounters with art. We present two cases in which interpretive technologies have been designed with posing activities.

The cases are taken from a nationally funded design-based research project that entailed close collaboration over several years between a university and a national museum of art, architecture, and design. The use of photography by Edvard Munch in his self-portraits was the theme for the interpretive activities, which had young people between the ages of fifteen and eighteen as the main focus group. Interviews, field observations, and video recordings of over fifty posing sessions comprise the main data corpus.

Applying methods from interaction analysis, we found that posing interactions frame an interpretative process that moves through cycles of talk, movement, comparison, focus, and adjustment. We discuss in this paper how perspectives and findings from this research may inform a set of design principles for incorporating ‘posing’ in interpretive activities in art museums. We also reflect on the way academia and the museum collaborated in the design process, and on the interaction between the different institutional perspectives and approaches.

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