University of Cambridge > > Rainbow Interaction Seminars > Withdrawing from Exhibits: the interactional organisation of museum visits

Withdrawing from Exhibits: the interactional organisation of museum visits

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Laurel D. Riek.

The visit to art exhibitions is characterised by a peculiar, easily recognisable organisation: visitors stand and silently look at works of art, then slowly turn and move, mostly without saying a word, from one exhibit to the next. This organisation of the withdrawal from an exhibit allows visitors to walk through galleries without disturbing companions or other people’s appreciation of works of art. Visitors as well as academic researchers largely take this organisation for granted, and attribute its origin to social conventions as well as to the architecture and layout of exhibitions. This presentation offers a different perspective on the organisation of the navigation of museum exhibitions. By drawing on an inspection of video-recordings of people’s navigation of art museums the analysis examines how people organise the withdrawal from an exhibit and the orientation to a next without interfering or disturbing each other’s appreciation of exhibits. The presentation ends with a brief discussion of how such detailed studies of action and interaction may be used to inform the design and deployment of technologies in museums and other public settings.

This talk is part of the Rainbow Interaction Seminars series.

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