This week i read the article Technology Becomes the Object and really enjoyed it. What i liked most was the way that it analysed the values and messages of technology and how they relate to the transmission of knowledge. It went on to explain that in the exhibition about the Native Americans, kiosks were supposed to enhance the objects and provide greater interaction with them, when the kiosks themselves were in fact competing with the objects. In a picture of the display you actually see the kiosks before you see the objects, almost as if preventing spectators from engaging with the objects before technology. To me, it looked like some kind of barrier. They also mentioned that children or younger audiences would go directly to the kiosks before objects. While adults would go straight to the objects, they complained about a lack of coherent cohesion between the two.
On a side tangent, my husband owns a media company (that produces films, websites, music, etc) and was approached by a company to digitise their video collection of historical significance. In total there are 30 legal VHS tapes. I was asking my husband questions like, “What format are they going to be stored in? Do you think that format is suitable for withstanding time? How are you going to label each file?” You get the gist..i was annoying him. But i asked how the company wanted it catalogued and he replied, “They don’t care, they just want it digitised.” Museums around the world have made commitments to digitise their entire collects, like the Fitchburg Museum in Massachusetts. That got me thinking about how society views technology and its impact on storing information. Many people want it, but they lack the real understanding on how it should be treated. Much like the NMAI exhibition, where multimedia was used, but in a way that actually made the exhibit confusing, as it mixed old traditions with new. When looking at the picture above, it made me think about how people have taken technology and are running away with it. There is no way to stop it, but it does allow future creators to think about the impact of technology and the relationship it can have with the intended knowledge before spending money and time on it.
I am not saying that technology is not effective. On the contrary, when used correctly and thoughtfully, it can take learning to exciting and fascinating heights. For example, the travelling exhibition about the Etruscans in Europe provides a rich technology driven display. They have incorporated virtual 3D reconstructions of archaeological sites, animations, audio, and video. They wanted visitors to feel as if they had been to these historic sites through their multimedia exhibition. In this case, i believe technology has enhanced the experience rather than competed with it. This gave me hope that technology is beneficial. It just appears that some people are not putting enough thought into the impacts it has on the information.