How to investigate the movements of museum guests?

How to investigate the movements of museum guests?

Innovating is depending on getting reliable data. The Swiss eMotion project works experiementally with different methods. On the webpage, the project is presented in this way:

“Gaining access to this complex realm of visitor reception in the museum required both innovative developments in research methods and technical apparatus. Architectural, visual and audio processes of data collection / presentation have been developed in parallel with field research methods in psychology and sociology, in a wholly complimentary fashion. Methods of visitor tracking, biometric measurements, empirical social science, data-sonification as well as the experiment itself as an intervention and installation.

Visitors who wanted to take part in the project, did receive a dataglove at the exhibition entrance that included several signalling and measurement sensors. The dataglove, allowed for the precise measurement of the path of each individual through the museum, their speed, their time spent in front of a picture/object. We also measured the heart rate and the skin conductance and their variablities. The immense amount of quantitative data generated was then validated by qualitative questionnaires, enabling the team to interpret the complex material adequately and thoroughly.

Via this methodological triangualtion and the development of new methods we hope to gain insight into the question of how the museum operates as a psycho-geographic field. Central to our study and enaction, are questions of art reception, art pedagogy, museum management – and modes of trans-disciplinary research and collaboration.

The results of this trans-disciplinary study could lead to a holistic understanding of the interaction of art work, curatorship and recipient – including the relation of the art object to the observer, as well as between the observer and his/her social context, speaking of his/her experience, expectation and other social and psychological variables.”

In the “Mediacorner”, the project has launched several videos about the findings. One ofn them is a detector for “lies” among quest, which will tell about the emotions and behaviour of the guests. The development has resulted in new organisation of the museums.

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