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Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

Bali Temple Explorer: An interactive kiosk and site with 200 video loops – Asian Art Museum, San Francisco

Abstract lets you explore a temple in Bali, shown with over 200 HD video loops: allowing you the emotional impact of film and video, plus the web-like ability to explore the temple at your own pace. Created for the special exhibition Bali: Art, Ritual, Performance at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco.

When first envisioning the special exhibition, Bali: Art, Ritual, Performance, (on view at the Asian Art Museum February 25 through September 11, 2011) associate curator of Southeast Asian art Natasha Reichle wanted to collaborate with education staff to enhance the ritual and performing arts aspects of the exhibition. In addition to a robust series of live programs, the team set out to develop a variety of videos to bring the living culture of Bali to life.

Martin Percy collaborated with Reichle and education director Deborah Clearwaters to create, which will be embedded into the museum’s special exhibition microsite still under construction, and at a dedicated kiosk near the galleries. Martin’s work centers on combining HD video and interactivity to vividly portray real life online – especially with regards to the display of art. Martin has won two BAFTA nominations, three Emmy nominations, eight Webby nominations and ten Webby honorees for interactive video work, much of it for Tate (for example:

The site goes live in late January 2011. The URL currently displays five videos that give a sense of how the site will look and feel. We propose to demonstrate the fully interactive version at Museums and the Web 2011.

Apart from a few thumbnails, there is not one single still photo on the Bali site. Everything is done with video loops. The trees, water, and people move. You can look at any scene for as long as you like. At any time, you can click on hotspots which link to other video loops. Some of the loops have linear videos attached to them which don't repeat, furthering the sense of a vivid, lifelike experience.

At any time, you can click to listen to commentary about the temple, including interviews with the priest of the temple and the head of the local village. These first-person Balinese voices bring an additional immediacy to the project.

To make the site accessible to all users, we will provide a text-and-jpeg version of the site, as well as a linear video version.

The text-and-jpeg page is interesting, but it doesn't feel like you're looking at the temple in real life. And while the linear video version is more emotionally compelling, it suffers from the "tyranny of the edit": the director chooses what you look at, and for how long. You can't follow your own interests at your own pace. So it's not like visiting the temple in real life.

The fully interactive site attempts to combine the strengths of video and interactivity to make a presentation which, compared with more commonly-used online methods, is far more effective at vividly evoking the emotions and sensations of looking at culture in real life.


Demonstration - show your project


dclearwaters's picture
I head the education department at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. We are a department of 8, with one of those 8 focusing on loading content onto robust iTunesU and YouTube sites. I work on interpretive projects as well as all the educational programming. I'm interested in pushing the use of...
MartinPercy's picture
Hello People at Museums and the Web! I direct video with interactivity IN the video. I've been lucky enough to get two BAFTA nominations, three Emmy nominations, eight Webby nominations and ten Webby honorees. Detail here: All these awards have been for...