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published: March 2004
analytic scripts updated:
November 7, 2010

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0  License

From On-site to On-line: Experience on Transforming Exhibition
Wendy Wong, York University, Canada

Session: "Just" an Exhibition

The Herb Lubalin Study Center of Design and Typography at the Cooper Union School of Art offers Lubalin Curatorial Fellowship on the irregular basis to its recipient to conduct art and design related research and curate public exhibition based from the research. In 2000 The Center granted the Fellowship for the topic entitled "Chinese Graphic Design towards the International Sphere," the first time such topic were ever given by the Center. The research was carried out by interviewing and collecting works from over 50 prominent Chinese graphic designers and studios from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau. The exhibition at the Gallery of Herb Lubalin Study Center was open from September 4 to December 1, 2001 which attracted hundreds of visitors. It provides a non-mainstream visual cultural experiences to American audience. One of the visitor' comments the exhibition gave her peace of mind after what happened on September 11. This exhibition is also a visual reference for a poster design project for students at the Cooper under the direction of Philippe Apeloig, the graphic design professor and the Director of the Herb Lubalin Study Center.

This exhibition enriched the visual experience of American audience and students at the Cooper with graphic design in the Greater China region from a historical perspective. However, this visual enhancement experience was limited by the physical space and time span as most exhibitions held at the museums and galleries face. After the end of this exhibition, the Center decided to explore the possibility of applying on-line medium in transferring this on-site display event to virtual space. Upon receiving the brief from the Center, the curator of this exhibition re-thinks the possible critical issue of "transforming" a physical exhibition into a hyper-reality environment. Key question such as how to maintain and reconstruct a similar exhibition visit experience as in the 3-dimensional space from the audience's perspective became the major challenge for designing this on-line exhibition version. After studying and considering various displaying possibility available in the web format, the curator decided to adopt a visual based mouse-over technique rather than a data based html coded individual web page.

This presentation studies how the Center applied the Web as a medium to extend the exhibition restricted by physical accessibility and time. First, background and the content of the exhibition will be given. Second, it reviews the design of the exhibition and the system of displaying exhibits. Third, it examines how different web page design techniques can fulfill the objectives of maintaining and reconstructing a similar exhibition visit experience to the audience as they would have at the exhibition in person. Finally, the solution of this on-line exhibition will be reviewed and deconstructed as to how the design "transforming" the exhibition and the experience of the audience on an exhibition visit. Comparison will be made upon on the original display system design of the exhibition and the final interface and interactive design for the on-line exhibition. This on-line exhibition is now available in the virtual space although the exhibition was finished in December 2001.