Sunday, August 12, 2007

creative possibilties and ideas

are endless at a Museum! Go to one NOW! This post comes after going to Target FREE Friday at the MoMA with my friend Kent (copywriter in training).

First of all, if you're not into crowds do not, repeat DO NOT go on Free Fridays. The place is swarming with people. There is no sidewalk to follow, no path you should take. It's chaos! It's like Pamplona and the running of the bulls only they have cameras and children. There's no set pace; everyone's moving in their own directions at their own speed. I wondered if there's ever been any studies done on crowd movement within museums. What I found:
  • something called adaptive movement behaviors
  • the Crowd Farm by two MIT students hoping to harness energy from human movement
and not much else. Hmmm...seems that "movement science" as defined for human physical and mechanical movements should/could be applied to crowd flow. It could help us determine factors that contribute to movement, blah blah blah. Architects and structural engineers probably have to consider this sort of thing: where should we put the stairs? how do we position the escalators? I think there's a difference between walking on a sidewalk and moving around a museum. I see an opportunity here for research or maybe I just haven't found it.

Weird fact: You can take pictures (no flash) of the permanent art collections in the MoMA but not the temporary exhibits. Yeah, you can take pictures but you can't point at the art (bringing your finger inches from the canvas). Miss Pointy here got reprimanded several times with "Hey, what do you think you're doing?" Nothing. I'm pointing. Those people are taking pictures in a museum.

Next thing that occurred to me was the potential for copywriters to exercise their skills with "Untitled" works of art. When I moved from Ringaround Arosie to Sleeping Gypsy to Untitled I became irked by the lack of name. Like, come on, if there are blank boards titled The Twin and The Tree, surely you can name a sculpture of three pillars and some mysteriously hanging balls (Magic, Storm, and Horizon come to mind). Anyway, I see this as a campaign opportunity for copywriters. Maybe they could pair up with artists who don't want to spend the time titling their work. But then we have to ask: What's in a name? Google returns 261 million websites for the question: ranging from "What's your Viking Name?" to "What's your Spammer name?" Sounds like quiz time to me.

Lastly, when Kent and I came to the Sleeping Gypsy (above), he interpreted it as pre-feast for the lion: "That lion's ready to tear her apart." I interpreted it as lion curiosity: "The lion is just checking things out, saying hello to another being in the desert way of life." He was shocked that I would have such a contrast in perception. But I think our interpretations say more about who we are rather than what we're looking at.

These ideas & observations are open to YOUR interpretation. Feel free to comment. Have a great Sunday.


johanna said...

Funny how that's the painting you chose to post, because it's the image on my membership card! I strongly recommend getting a membership to the MoMA, it's fantastic. You pay less than if you went four times in one year. Guests get in for five dollars instead of the regular twenty. You get a discount at all stores, and invites to MoMA events.

There is a guy named Paco Underhill who does the type of thing you described. Here are a bunch of books by him. I learned about him in Consumer Behavior in undergrad... things about how Starbucks studies foot traffic patterns before it plans out its different textures of flooring, to reduce the chances of people slipping on the floors from occasional spilled drinks. Genius.

erin said...

Funny about the picture! And a membership sounds like a good deal, hmmmm

I've read "Why we Buy" by Paco, it was a good read, very interesting. I'll have to get some more from Amazon and see what I can learn. Thanks!

Faris said...

i loved this place when I was over - tired myself out scampering around....

crowds are awesome. emergent flocks of people all somehow keeping out of each others way...out of control control.