“Site + User Analysis” // Week 5
Understanding the demographic of people and activities/rituals within Fort Lane is very important for my design approach. I am working with a form of art that holds a particular meaning and objective to evoke a certain feeling/emotion. Therefore, understanding the inhabitants of my space is crucial to offer a design that can accommodate all people. When I say all people, I specifically mean people of all competence levels, people of all societal status levels, and people of all physical and cognitive capabilities.
This approach would mean an adept art lover is able to filter out the design information through the experience, because they have the cultural competence to understand the deeper meaning. On the contrary, how will a novice average citizen experience the design if they lack the cultural competence to understand?
In Chapter 11 in the text Exhibiting cultures, Elaine Heumann Gurian critically analyses a museums relationship to its audience. Gurian states that “if the audience feels alienated, un-worthy, or out of place, it is becuase we want them to feel that way” (Gurian, 1991). In the context of my project, liminal space is somewhat inherently an ‘out of place’ environment. The anthropological understanding is that you are in an in-between state with no grounding, separated from a previous state. This may sound scary to the average person, but it doesn’t need to be a state of uncertainty and fear. It can also be a state of awareness and enlightenment.
Gurian believes “that should we wish all visitors to learn and understand, we must construct a wide palette of exhibition opportunities that utilizes all the senses” (Gurian, 1991). This approach is effective as novice learners often have a stronger emotional response towards a variety of tangible elements that can be seen, heard, touched, or even fantasized about. Therefore, providing sources of tangible elements through surface, sound or sight, will enable the novice audience to feel more welcomed the environment I am creating.
Therefore, by introducing design elements that interact with peoples senses, novice learners will be able to experience my design installation without feeling un-worthy or out of place. This can be done while still maintaining my expression of intention, which is for people to become more aware of themselves in space, reflecting towards the pre-existing entertainment history of Fort Lane, while enjoying the new introduction of art entertainment (my design intervention).
Karp, I. Lavine, S. (1991). Exhibiting cultures: The Poetics and Politics of Museum Display. Smithsonian Books