A Place for Art : Create pathways at your fingertips

Demonstration
Tim Wray, Australia

A Place For Art highlights the 40-year history of the University of Wollongong Art Collection. The iPad app showcases works that celebrate the unique industrial heritage and natural beauty of the region, along with a selection of vibrant Australian indigenous prints. It is both a companion piece to the print publication of the same name, and an experimental interface that contends with the way we design compelling interactive experiences for online collections.

Going beyond the idea of menus, lists and categories, visitors navigate through the collection by creating their own pathways that transcend traditional notions of ‘category’ (e.g. ‘drawings’, ‘paintings’, ‘contemporary works’) into more meaningful iconographic connections that exploit conscious aggregations and themes. In doing so they learn more about the implicit connections that objects have with one another as they unravel common threads, themes and narratives. Rather than ask the visitor to search or select, they explore and uncover.

The app is part of a broader research project that explores new interaction design conventions that evoke curious and creative information seeking in online collections. Through interaction with A Place for Art, visitors reveal pathways that reflect the vibrancy and colour of the works, along with issues that tie closely with the local region: the social issues of land ownership and social dislocation depicted in its prominent indigenous holdings, and the nostalgic beauty of the natural surroundings of the escarpment - depicted in many paintings - juxtaposed with the harsh industrial life of the steelworks depicted in some of the latter prints.