Technology-based Mediation in the Art Museum

Research output: Book / Anthology / Report / Ph.D. thesisPh.D. thesis


The purpose of public art museums is to collect and exhibit art to benefit society, but
what if people are bored or outright intimidated by the prospect of having to visit
the art museum? Art challenges us to see it if we can, but we cannot always do so. Art
museums do their best to provide interpretive hooks for visitors. In Human-Computer
Interaction (HCI), researchers have attempted to support these efforts as well. However, old museum paradigms linger, making the art museum a conceptually contested space. This also affects HCI projects carried out in art museums, as they have
to navigate or circumvent these conceptual challenges. In this PhD project, I present
a theoretical framework that incorporates an enactivist understanding of art as experience and the work of art mediation as education of attention. Using these concepts, I
offer a visitor-centered view on the art museum experience, that gives researchers,
designers, curators and mediators tools for understanding the role technology may
play in an art museum exhibition and how to conceptualize, design and evaluate such
This perspective is illustrated and explored through three major research activities, of which the last two were in close collaboration with the MUNCH museum in
Oslo. The activities involved an experiment, an exhibition and an interactive drawing table respectively, and each investigates aspects of how technology mediates our
relation to artworks.
With the results of these three activities, I argue that technological designs can
support the interpretive practice of museum visitors by educating their attention to aspects of the art that they would otherwise fail to see or give weight to. Purposefully
designed technology can afford experiences that engage the senses and the whole human in ways that are exciting for museum visitors, while still establishing context and
stimulating curiosity in the original artworks. For each of the three research activities,
I provide analysis of how the designs concretely mediate the relation between visitor
and art. To be able to design for this, and to evaluate whether a design affords correspondence with the art in the intended way, I operationalize the concept of education
of attention as a way to analyze qualitative interview data. Finally, I discuss particular
mediating properties of generative AI in relation to its deployment in art museums.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages216
ISBN (Print)978-87-7949-411-4
ISBN (Electronic)978-87-7949-411-4
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2024


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