eMotion: A transdisciplinary study of visitor experiences at a modern art exhibition

Activity: Talk or presentationGuest lecturesResearch

Volker Kirchberg - Speaker

The interdisciplinary composition of the research team has evolved out of the idea to gain knowledge about art and art exhibition in an innovative manner. What forms of knowledge in art can be gained? What is conveyed by the artistic practice that cannot be conveyed via other types of scientific research? What is the epistemological output of art? In this context, the philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer introduced the term ‘Emanation’ into the debate, which referred to the potential of art to create a surplus of knowledge via openness of interpretation.

Science has always held an interest in the surplus of knowledge of the arts. Targeted institutional connections between art and science emerged in the USA back in the 1960s. In 1967, György Kepes founded the centre for Advanced Visual Studies at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology in Cambridge (USA). Such foundings took place due to the fact that a great number of scientists and artists of this time were convinced of a synergistic connection between art and technology. An example of institutionalised collaboration, which was founded in a similar manner, is the Xerox Palo Alto Research Centre.

The artistic transformation of the research results by Steven Greenwood and Chandrasekhar Ramakrishnan rendered the effect of the respective arrangements audible and visible in sound sequences and monitor images, and also delivered a condensed analysis of fleeting art reception moments. In addition to this more service-providing role, media artist Steven Greenwood contributed the physiological tracking and mapping as a pioneering research practice to the project.

While its intended use was, from the very beginning, to record the position of the visitors, it was not, in the project’s early stages, to obtain physiological data and to then couple this data with visitor location. It was also the artists who considered a range, as diverse as possible, of forms of data portrayal. The idea which lends the project its specificity, that is, the idea to make the gathering of physiological data visible and audible, is owed to the participating artists. Similar procedures had, up to this point, never been realised. Almost incidentally, as a result of the wish to experiment, a new examination method for the investigation of spatial behaviour was created.


Multimodal Approaches to Learning International Conference 2012


New York City, United States

Event: Conference