April 13-17, 2010
Denver, Colorado, USA

Interactions: Description

Making Sense of Modern Art Mobile: SFMOMA and NOUS-Guide

Peter Samis, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA
Alexander Stickelberger, NOUSguide Inc., USA

Continuing our R&D in handheld interpretation, SFMOMA launched v 1.0 of "Making Sense of Modern Art Mobile" at its 75th anniversary celebration in January 2010. The program has been developed in close partnership with Earprint Productions (sound design and engineering) and NOUSguide Inc., whose NOUS-Conductor CMS has permitted us to author in-house in our own server-environment and publish to a variety of touchscreen templates specially design for mobile interpretation. "MSoMA Mobile" is offered free of charge to Museum visitors on iPod Touch devices in custom protective cases. Over three hours of original content has been developed, including straight audio, slide shows, hot spot-triggered commentaries and video. Rich media resources from our archives have allowed us to include audio and video from artists as diverse as Ansel Adams, Robert Arneson, Matthew Barney, Louise Bourgeois, Bruce Conner, Imogen Cunningham, Richard Diebenkorn, Philip Guston, Jeff Koons, Dorothea Lange, Sol LeWitt, Kerry James Marshall, Nicholas Nixon, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Ryman, Doris Salcedo, Richard Serra, Kiki Smith, Kara Walker, and Jeff Wall. Curatorial commentaries and conversations are augmented by curated "Guest Takes," in which artists, musicians and poets give their own creative response to specific works in the collection.

Even as distribution of iPods preloaded with MSoMA Mobile enables us to deliver a high fidelity, optimized experience to our visitors without the vagaries of wi-fi connectivity or lengthy downloads, we are also prototyping smaller downloadable apps that build in the capacity for direct user feedback via social media tools like Twitter and photo-sharing. With that in mind, we will also demonstrate SFMOMA’s Rooftop Garden App, co-published with NOUSguide and made available on the iTunes AppStore. In fact, the tour that we offer in-house stands to be the basis of an app that can be downloaded anywhere, and then progressively updated, thereby establishing a network of global relationships with SFMOMA’s followers. The Rooftop Garden app, scheduled to be introduced in January 2010, will be the prototype for a 2-way communication between the museum and its visitors, one that can be progressively migrated into "MSoMA Mobile" itself.

"Making Sense of Modern Art Mobile" has been supported by the James Irvine Foundation.

Briefing: Exhibitor Talk: NOUS [updates]

Keywords: audio tour, multimedia, mobile, iPod, iPhone, CMS, app