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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.

One-to-one: supporting artist-visitor dialogue


Artists have been using the Internet since the early days of the Web, but no-one has done anything quite like Chinese artist Ai Weiwei who uses technology, Twitter in particular, as a way of sharing his artistic and political life with people all around the world. 

Alongside his Unilever Series installation at Tate Modern, which opens October 12th 2010, the Turbine Hall has also been transformed into a hub of global conversation. Here, next to the artwork, a series of booths have been installed where the artist asks visitors to record a video, either asking him a question or answering one of his questions. These videos are then published on a dedicated website for all to see and to also engage those not able to visit in person. Each week until May 2011, Ai Weiwei is selecting videos to respond to and posting his video or text responses on the website, thus creating a joyful, worldwide dialogue between the artist and the visitors. People outside the museum can also join in the conversation via Twitter. Ai Weiwei will be monitoring and replying to postings with the hashtag #tateaww.

In this paper, we will describe in detail the principles, philosophy and technology behind the One-to-One with the artist project. Recent advances in the technology made it possible to realize the project’s ambitions in under eight weeks. We will also report on the effective usage of the kiosks and website by both the visitors and the artist, the challenges encountered in the development and implementation process, as well as the results of the evaluation that will be carried out in the upcoming months.


Paper - in formal session


silviaf's picture
Before joining the IMA as a manger for evaluation and technology-based engagement, Silvia worked for 10 years as a project manager and evaluator for a number of technology based projects in and for museums, including the British Museum, the J.P. Getty Museum, The Centre Pompidou, the Musee du...
kirstieb's picture
I am currently Producer: Interactive Media at Tate in the UK. As the title suggests, I'm focused on online interactive projects - particularly in user-generated content and generally in talking to audiences (otherwise known as real people!). I've been working in Tate Online for about 3 years, and...
benr's picture
Ben has a degree in Philosophy and Artificial Intelligence from Sussex University. After briefly working on real-time expert systems, he returned to Sussex to help develop the first graphical user interface system for their artificial intelligence programming environment POPLOG. In 1987 when this...