A case study of the mediated elements of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s 010101: Art in Technological Times
In the age of networks and the Internet, expressions of culture are moving into global cyberspaces. Most recently, artwork and exhibitions have begun to move online, sometimes exclusively, other times in concert with offline expressions in gallery space and print. Scholars have theorized that museums serve as our repositories and transmitters of cultural information about others and ourselves — so what then are the implications for cultural knowledge transmission and meaning making in the digital, networked environment?
This article looks at a case study of the representations of cultural information as transmitted via an art exhibit through three modes of modern display: the physical exhibit, the exhibit catalog and the online exhibit. Taking as its case study 010101: Art in Technological Times at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, this article evaluates the mixed success of the attempts at meaning making and education by focusing on the two remaining extant parts of the exhibit. Alternately helped and hamstrung by the various technologies used to express the exhibit, the curators struggle to create an educational environment, but one that simultaneously reveals to the public their own cultural locations in creating the exhibit, catalog and website.
This case study suggests that technology is not only mediating, but also changing how we receive information and the kinds of messages that are being transmitted from the institutions (like museums) in our lives.