Tate Trumps

We have been talking briefly about the phone application Tate Trumps in the class on Friday and I have judged the application rather quickly and said its not really good. Today, I have actually took the time to go to Tate Modern (since I am spending time in London) and try the version of the game where a user can actually play in the museum.

I gave up rather quickly, knowing what more or less is the application about and having some background knowledge. I saw the app rather as a tool of digital mediation that the museum tried to set with user, than a fun game. And since most of the art pieces I have chosen were not included in the game, I got mad and closed the app. However, my friend who has probably never been into Tate during his five years in London took over and was so keen to find some artwork that would actually be also in the app that he started running around Tate and seeing the art. In that moment, I realised that the app actually works and it is nice tool to engage the user to go around museum, read the text about artist and just browse around. It is a nice way to discover art in a little different ways, really helpful for those who find the art boring by itself and would not necessary go to museum (like my friend). I actually caught him playing the game even after we left the museum.

So for those of you who were interested in the app and listen to me, when I said it is a waste of time and horrible app, I am sorry and I change my mind  because I saw the way it actually worked in real life.

Museums and copyright

After reading the article Social Work by Pam Meechan, I was left wondering about the question of copyright. I have waited til class if we will maybe touch upon this topic but we did not so I decided to write my last blog post about this.

First, let me start with the quote from Meechan’s text that made me start thinking about this whole copyright issue

”A rush to digitize collections sees most museums with online, copyright-free collections. Faced with the impossibility of tracking the misuse of images, many museums and galleries have relinquished copyright except for blatantly commercial purposes. The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore in 2012 removed copyright restrictions  for more than 10 thousand images.”

After reading this part and Meechan’s article in general and his thought about digitization of museums and the artwork of museums, I was wondering where we should actually draw the ‘copyright line’? Are museums breaking copyright by putting their art works online, by doing virtual tours? Are visitors breaking copyright by taking pictures and posting them online? Is there even a proper way to track the copyright in this age?

World intellectual property organization (WIPO) published a 72 pages long document about the issue of museums and copyright. It is free for download at their pages and it is definitely interesting if someone wants to read more into it. This manual also addresses the issue of copyright in the digital age, which is getting more and more complicated. This is why WIPO states, that there is not a model for every museum but in the future the copyright will be check individually as it is such a complicated topic.

It is apparent, however, even from the type of work conducted with profit-oriented companies, that a “one-size-fits-all” model will not work, particularly given the digital divide that exists between economies in the industrial and developing countries. Instead, a program or service where experts, engaged specifically for this task, are able to assess each opportunity on a case-by-case basis would greatly enhance the respect for the IP system and educate owners and users about IP. (WIPO’s own integrity as an organization and its ability to harness a vast wealth of knowledge about IP can only assist in this regard.) It is by these means that WIPO will ensure that museums have their issues addressed as the interpreters, repositories and distributors of the vast intellectual wealth of society.

But with such a dynamic growth of the internet age and digital art, will there come a time where we will eventually lose the sense of copyright completely?

Museums and Libraries

After reading the article “Museums as Agents of Social Inclusion” by Richard Sandell, I have started wondering how museums are actually like libraries. I have a degree in Librarianship so I can view a lot similarities between museum and libraries but what I have never thought before is actually the “social inclusion” that museums offer to their visitors. (Maybe this things has been discussed in class in more details or maybe my points are completely wrong in this article but as I have missed the class, I do not know what was said so I am bringing you this article.)

Before getting to the social inclusion part that I would like to comment on. I would like to quote Howard Besser and his text from 2004 where he states what is the difference between museums and libraries (he also talks about archives which I left behind in the further commentary as I have no in depth knowledge about the this field in general). I really like the differences he points out between these institutions.

“The traditional library is based upon the individual item, but it is generally no unique. Archives manage groups of works and focus on maintaining a particular context for the overall collection, Museums collect specific objects and provide curatorial context for each of them. These distinctions of the fundamental unit that is collected and why affect each institution’s acquisition policy, cataloging, preservation, and presentation to the public.

Both libraries and museums are repositories, but libraries are user-driven. The role of the library is to provide access to a vast amount of material through which the user freely roams, making his/her own connections between works.  The user chooses which items to look at.  Museums, on the other hand, are curator-driven. Historically, they have only provided access to limited holdings, usually exhibited through a particular interpretation or context, as provided by curatorial and educational staff. The museum provides a framework of context and interpretation, and the user can navigate within that smaller body.”

What I like about Sandell’s article is that he actually differens between three kinds of social inclusion museums which are the: the inclusive museum, the museum as agent of social regenaration and the museum as vehicle for broad social change. Each of these museums have certain goal as to achieve cultural inclusion, improbe quality of live for individual or influence positive social change. These goals are achieved through various things such as public debates, education, enoucaring personal development and access for those who were excluded. This is what makes in my eyes a museum a community center which is one of the most important function of libraries as well.

Maybe these things seem obvious for someone but I have personally never thought of a museum as community center which is why this article left such a huge impact of me and made me think how libraries and museums are actually alike and how many functions have their in common.

Also, for someone who has not studies librarianship before, this is an interesting article about how libraries actually influence the whole community in the given place: http://publiclibrariesonline.org/2013/04/community-centered-23-reasons-why-your-library-is-the-most-important-place-in-town/

What points would you say that libraries share with museums?