Storying the nodalities of the museum visit by the representation of trees.

How-to Session
Anita Kocsis, Australia

Content about the proposed workshop is as follows:


This workshop extends on preliminary research concerning visitor response in the interspatial exhibitions at the Applied Laboratory for Interactive Visualisation and Embodiment. City University of Hong Kong. (ALiVE)

The research identifies new knowledge concerning the phenomenon of the visitor in digitally mediated exhibition spaces. Distinct themes concerning embodiment; proprioception and scopophilia and co- experience; performance and social mediation for example deconstructs preliminary information regarding the visitor in digitally augmented spaces.

Borrowing methods of qualitative evaluation in the social sciences and design research provide a way to describe abstract not easily to repeat experiences of visitors. Mark Johnson (Lakoff & Johnson 1980; Johnson 2007) propositions or ‘image-schemes’; abstract representations of process, thinking and visualizing inform the employment of metaphor, narrative and design processes to help deconstruct the visitor story. In this context storying enables a deeper understanding of the cultural and social activities of participation. Moreover image schemes provide the theoretical underpinning to convey visitor’s subjective, abstract states of being in the space. Introspection through visitor engagement mediated by design semiotics and interaction inform the tree image schemes employed in the workshop to ascertain and engage visitor’s experience.

Experienced design professionals will run the following workshop conversant with the process of design methods in a professional, ethical and engaging manner. The following proposal as mentioned above aims to be twofold, firstly the workshop aims to engage participants for the duration of the workshop and secondly to suggest post the conference continuing the methods learnt back at their home institutions.

Title: Storying the nodalities of the museum visit by the representation of trees.

The depiction of trees as metaphors for knowledge has a long history. Trees as metaphors of knowledge have depicted corpuses of world knowledge. Our investigation of the multimodal, cultural, social and situated life of the visitor aims to be deconstructed and represented in a design form that is a direct and easily understood visual form. Borrowing from the tree metaphor this workshop aims to utilize design research methods and propose a series of visitor trees. The trees will grow from participants capacity for visual storytelling by hand drawn maps, sketches and paper scenarios revealing the complex intermodal nature of the visit.

Ideally the construction of these trees will move from paper to digital format that can show growth and evolution based on people’s input and stories.

The process:

Participants will be presented with a simple design pack that will contain tools required to sketch, map, trace, draw, stick, cut and collage. The forms, shapes that are contained in the pack will represent roots, branches, stems and leaves. Packs will also be colour coded. Participants will be encouraged to tell their story via the process of constructing the tree metaphor. This tree will be documented and supplied online for viewing and editing post the conference. Ideally the tree or trees will overtime grow as a story forest.

Post conference: It is envisaged that the process of tree storying will be available for visitors, museum stakeholders and professionals who attended the workshop to grow and cultivate online by participation in a larger corpus of knowledge by the tree metaphor as a tool to garner knowledge about the visitor and our individual and social response. This larger and ongoing structure enables the researchers to build on a rich and real body of community knowledge. It is important to note that physical activities of creativity are to be continued in conjunction with the online procedure.