Sunday, April 13, 2008

Contribute to AAM Eye on Design Session

Are you dazzled by Flickr? Get chills in the American Girl Place store? Can't wait to emulate Epcot? 'Tis the season for conference requests, and I'm looking for your help. I'll be speaking at the end of the month at the AAM meeting in Denver, chairing sessions on virtual worlds (Tuesday 9am) and design inspirations from outside the museum field (Tuesday 10:30am).

For the design inspirations session, we're taking OUR inspiration from one of my favorite gaming presentations: Jane McGonigal, Ian Bogost, and Mia Consalvo's yearly top ten game design research findings. Each year at the Game Developer's Conference, these three share the most interesting gleanings from a year of game design research. It's tight, it's snappy, and it provides a lot of interesting food for thought.

For AAM, we are taking a similar approach to present ten design insights from the wide world outside of museums that can be applied within museums towards exhibition design. If you would like to share YOUR insight with the greater AAM world, please send me:
  • A paragraph on your insight and why it should be included
  • A one-sentence or phrase version of it
  • No more than three examples (images/media plus info)
  • A resulting challenge, question, or takeaway for the museum world
Design inspirations can come from anyone anywhere. (For example, see Christopher's comment on the 826 Valencia project and other similar urban spaces.) You don't have to be a museum professional to have a great contribution. The only rules are:
  • your examples CANNOT come from museums
  • your examples CANNOT come from your own work
I can't guarantee that everyone's additions will be included. Some topics that are already on the docket include: installation art, social objects, rock gardens, and the Falkirk Wheel. My hope is to represent as wide a net as possible of design inspirations that are both new to the audience and jam-packed with aha moments. Each inspiration that is included will be credited with your name in the presentation, and I will post the full set of slides here after the conference is over. If you will be at AAM, you can even present your inspiration yourself!

If you have "just an idea" and want to share it, please do so in the comments and we can start buzzing with good inspiration.

5 comments, add yours!:

Unknown said...

Hi Nina,

This might be too close to a museum-like application, since the firm has done some museum work, but are you aware of the soon-to-be-piloted facsimile project by the architecture firm Diller & Scofidio?

It'll premiere as a moving river-like projection on the outside of the Moscone Conference Center in San Francisco later this year.

Reading the description, I immediately thought about the fine line betw. "surrveilance" and "civic space" -- as well as the odd universe that is the "professional conference space" As the website describes the project:

"A 16' high by 27' wide video screen is suspended by a vertical armature at the parapet and soffit of the new Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. A live video camera is fixed to the armature, positioned behind the screen and pointed into the glass building. The structure travels slowly along the surface of the building and broadcasts live views on the screen as it moves."

What further fascinates me about this project is how it connects pedestrians in a highly trafficked part of the city, with the interior goings-on of private conference events. It will be as interesting I think to view the viewers as to view those on the screen, adding another design element to the project.

Check it out and let me know what you think. Let's go see it when it's up and running. Marjorie

POW! (Paul Orselli Workshop, Inc.) said...

Hi Nina,

Nice Web 2.0 way to get us to help write your AAM talk for you ;-0.

A continuing "non-museum" inspiration for me is the world of POP (Point Of Purchase) Design.

The displays in stores have to be eye-catching, cheap, and memorable (a good combination I think!) In addition, the high volumes of cool POP technology and materials lowers the entry cost for museum makers. The POP world is also a good source for interesting new green materials as well.

A representative website (and journal) can be found at:

Good luck with your presentation!

Nina Simon said...


And look at how nicely it's working! More seriously, I think the audience will be better served by "stuff lots of people think is great" than "stuff nina, brianna, and emily think is great..."

So keep em coming!

Anonymous said...


consider things that make you think twice ... look at the same old object in a new way ... make a lateral connection. and smile.

like the laughing swing:


WriTerGuy said...

Mesh networking. You could connect museumgoers in very interesting ways, leveraging how the network itself works.

You can read about mesh networks at Wikipedia:
It also cites some examples of mesh networks in operation.

As an example, in my mind I see an exhibition where museumgoers are given a networked device and then weave themselves into the artworks, because the artworks respond and "flower" when connected to other artworks or sources via chains of museumgoers. It would be like a game (naturally I would like that!) that a museumgoer could play with: "If I stand just here, and allow the yellow channel, then I can light up this, that and the other thing... Voila!"