“Yes, You May Touch the Art: Haptic Technologies and Rhetorical Experience in the Digitally Interactive Museum”
Date: Friday, October 2, 2015, 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Location: Bellflower Hall Room 102
Touch-based technology is dynamically changing the way that museum visitors are able to interact with the images, texts and artifacts in the museum’s collection. In many instances, this change serves to redefine traditional relationships between the “institution” and the “public,” giving museum visitors access to roles and discourses traditionally reserved for a cultural “elite.” The affordances of such technology can invite the visitor to take up actions and attitudes that shift the participation of the visitor from that of a private, solitary practice of interpretation, to the documented, public practices of archiving, curation and critique. Using the ethnographic methods of interview and observation, Jessica Slentz interrogates the rhetorical experiences composed through interaction with touch-based technology in the Cleveland Museum of Art and the National Archives in Washington D.C. In a detailed look at two ground-breaking haptic interfaces in these sites, this presentation explores how and why a museum visitor’s participation in previously private, institutional activities has the power to position that visitor in new interpretive and social relationships.