On December 8th, after a long, laborious and creative journey, the students of UArts, String Theory High School, and Science Leadership Academy at Beeber came to the Connelly auditorium in the Terra Building at UArts to give their final presentations on their prototyped exhibitions.
After introductions, Alex Seder and Dai Li along with students from the Science Leadership Academy discussed the high-points, challenges, and alternative ways in which they accomplished and would bring further the already developed prototypes. They began with conversations about the youth community, then proceeded to discuss the outcomes of their design thinking, and then asked themselves if the questions which were posed to the visitors during the prototyping process were intriguing or relevant to the visitors. The overall feeling was one of accomplishment, in that they succeeded to ask questions which crossed over generational boundaries yet remained relevant to the discussion of community. Questions from the audience were asked, such as how did you account for the generational change in visitor flow in the “Don’t Box Me In” questions?, and did the questions follow you home, into your personal life?, and what was the most valuable experience which came out of the process? The whole team remarked about how the questions and responses in their prototyping process were definitely multigenerational, and it was nice because they even sparked conversations between the students and their family members once they left the session. The answers matched the experience of the students, coming out of a long semester of extra-curricular activity, they understood how the physical and conceptual parts of the prototype change as the process changes of getting the visitor to interact with them. These students really enjoyed the process of creating something tangible and thought that it was very satisfying to see peoples responses to their hard work.
Jenna Savage and Dai Li then presented their prototype “Tag your ART Inspiration” and the dynamics of how the sculptures changed as the varying methods of tagging changed. They presented the impact and importance of the initial prototyping session and explained how they completely modified their exhibition based on that initial audience feedback and interpretation. They realized that the visitors did not really communicate with each other in the initial prototype, but that was something that was a goal of their exhibition. By shifting the type of materials, visitors spent less time crafting their masterpieces, and more time engaging with other visitors on the artwork and in what category they chose to place these pieces. Some future considerations that this group provided were to play with the scale of the sculpture to allow for more visitors to interact simultaneously, streamline the attachment process, and to refine the materials selected for the exhibition.They recommended that more than 3 locations be considered because it could spark a larger conversation between communities, with the possibility of interconnecting each module at the end. Questions arose from the audience such as what would you do differently if it was at another museum or another setting for visitors to apply their creative tag. One interesting point around this question was the fact that the team could apply the questions differently to people with varying talents. For example, asking a scientist what inspires them artistically, or asking a musician what inspires them scientifically. Presenting the sculptures in this context would create a unique and interesting dichotomy when presented as one unified sculpture. The definition of community in that context would also present the multi-faceted ways in which people develop in different ways, as different and unique in the same way as the students experienced seeing the different visitors interact with the sculptures in their own unique way.
The String Theory High School students gave a presentation on their own experiences. As a school which has such a diverse curriculum, it was easy for them to look back on the process with an open mind. One student came out and stated that the original mindset was one of confusion. In other words, they weren’t exactly sure how this whole prototype project was going to unfold, or even why they were getting involved. It soon became clear to them that the diverse curriculum they were experiencing in school reflected how well they approached the project. Thus the open mind contributed to a prototyping process which has given a great dynamic to the development of the prototypes. All in all, every student was grateful they were a part of this project and are very excited to engage further with it into the next semester.
Next semester, some of the SLA and String Theory students will be participating in the Pre-College program at the University of the Arts taught by two Museum Exhibition Planning and Design Graduate students. Throughout the semester, this course will take the prototyping from construction to installation for late spring.