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Gothic: Dark Glamour

Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology
Tamsen Schwartzman

Gothic: Dark Glamour is an exhibition website created to enhance The Museum at FIT's exhibition of the same name, on view from September 5, 2008 through February 21, 2009.

The website provides exhibition visitors an expanded experience that includes videos, a discography and gothic on-line music staion, a bibliography, press links, and a chance to participate virtually by uploading photos. The site also allows audiences unable to attend the exhibition in person an opportunity  to view much of its content.

“Gothic” is an epithet that evokes images of death, destruction, and decay.  Not simply a word that describes something, such as a Gothic cathedral, it is almost always a term of abuse that implies the dark, barbarous, and gloomy.  Such negative connotations have made the gothic an ideal symbol of rebellion for a wide range of cultural outsiders.  From its origins in the eighteenth-century gothic literature of terror to its contemporary manifestations in vampire literature and cinema, the gothic has embraced the powers of horror and the erotic macabre.  Throughout its history, fashion has been central to our vision of the gothic. Gothic: Dark Glamour illuminates the perverse, exquisite attraction that the imagery of death and decay, the power of horror, and the erotic macabre have had—and continue to have—for subcultures and leading fashion designers alike.

The website was designed to complement the exhibition, which has a theatrical element. Knowing that young audiences would be drawn to the topic of gothic fashion, we included many interactive elements: roll-overs, animations, photo uploads that allow for dialogue, and the music station.

Gothic: Dark Glamour batcave3We deliberately did not make links entirely obvious, so that the visitor could "explore" and experience a sensation of mystery and discovery. The use of background music was carefully considered since it can often be perceived as an annoyance. However, we decided that in this context it would help to convey on the web the atmosphere of the actual exhibition.

We also considered our academic and student audiences and wanted the site to be as informative as possible. The copy is derived in part from the exhibition and in part from the accompanying publication by Dr. Valerie Steele. The object photographs open up to larger versions with descriptive copy.

A bibliography was included knowing that there would be topics (whether about contemporary music, 19th century literature, or mourning customs) that people would be interested to learn more about.

The site was designed entirely in-house using only HTML and some Javascript. We hope you enjoy it and learn from it.

Gothic: Dark Glamour videoGothic: Dark Glamour extrasGothic: Dark Glamour discography

Gothic: Dark Glamour flickrGothic: Dark Glamour batcave2Gothic: Dark Glamour home

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jtrant's picture

sorry, but voting for the Best of the Web People's Choice is closed for 2009.

watch for the competition next year.


j. trant archives & museum informatics

j. trant co-founder Museums and the Web | partner archives & museum informatics