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Exploring Picassos Guernica

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					Project 4 Report

Exploring Picasso's Guernica
J Burgess, J Park, A Slaughter, A Townsend 15 Mar 2001

Background and Process The four of us first met to brainstorm about project ideas. We made a list of 80+ project possibilities that ranged from looking at the question of which came first the chicken or the egg to the mysteries of easter island. We took this massive list and found themes in the ideas. This helped us narrow the list into 6 ideas, which we market researched. Although our market research found that exploring DNA was the most popular idea, we were not particularly thrilled with the prospect of developing it into a project. We decided to brainstorm some more. We wanted the user to explore any environment we would create. This idea eventually led to the Guernica. Online research of Guernica showed that there were lots of interesting things related to the Guernica.     Picasso never officially interpreted the symbolism and imagery of the mural Picasso had never been very politically minded with his art until this mural There was a lot going on in Spain and in the world at the time that the mural was completed There are hidden images that can be found if the mural’s clarity and lightness are altered.

The market research and the online findings initially inspired us to create a kiosk that would be in a modern art exhibit in the midst of other works by Picasso. Initially we had several goals for the visitor’s experience. 1. We wanted the visitor to see the hidden images that had already been found. 2. We wanted visitors to be able to manipulate the image so that they could find their own. 3. We wanted to provide a way for visitors to make an interpretation of the mural or part of the mural 4. We wanted visitors to learn that context and the artist’s frame of mind inform the interpretation of the art. 5. We also wanted to provide expert interpretations and other tools that would help visitors form their own interpretation. We then created user profiles and scenarios and user tested the navigation. The feedback we got from users suggested that we needed to be more clear in how the users would go through the exhibit. The first design of the kiosk included an objective, introduction to the history, and other context building information. We also contacted David Ross, the director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. We asked for feedback on the idea and posed questions such as the maintenance required to filter through the visitors’ interpretations.

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From user testing, we realized that there were too many features and that users were still unclear about the path through the system. We decided to modify the features to viewing hidden images, discovering new hidden images, and adding the work to a visitors’ gallery. These features were satisfying to us because it made it a living exhibit, which was collaborative and participatory. Also, it offered the new experience of manipulating and changing a great piece of artwork. Finally, it was fun. We moved towards prototyping these features, but could not fully let go of the importance of understanding the context when looking at art. We also wanted knew that it was difficult for the user to experience the full effect of the Guernica on a computer screen. The Guernica is actually 11 by 26 feet, and a computer-screen sized representation does not do it justice. We had originally thought of solving this problem by using a “Smart board” sized screen. However, this was still far from optimal, because it did not relay the importance of context in experiencing art. Art is more meaningful when history and artist’s perspectives are included. We knew that Picasso’s life and the local and global history around the Guernica would have to be included somehow in the exhibit. These issues helped to push us in the direction of expanding from a kiosk to a gallery in a museum. The gallery provides an immersion into the world of Guernica. The walls devoted to history and Picasso offer information that may help the visitor to understand the art. The space allows for two large screens, one that has a scaled version of the Guernica, and the second that shows the visitor’s interaction with the activity podium. The two large screens make the exhibit collaborative on a second level by allowing the bystander to have an experience by watching the interaction of another visitor on the large screen. The room is large enough to do everything that we wanted in some way. Let’s see what it’s all about. View Hidden Images    See images that have already been found within the painting and that are symbolic to Picasso Give the user some control over how they see those images: o Play (automatic reveal) o Frame by Frame (they control the speed) Give some explanation of the significance of the images

View Hidden Images is where we wanted to allow the user to see images that had already been found within the painting and that were symbolic to Picasso. We didn’t want to present them with a bunch of still images, so we created a sequence of images that would slowly reveal to the user the hidden image. The question then became how would the image be revealed to them? Is this going to be automatic or are they going to be able to control the speed at which they see it? In one round of user testing we had a button that said "AutoReveal” and a slider next to it. It wasn’t apparent to the users what these things did at first, but when they discovered their use or were explained their functionality most users felt they would like to be able to have both features available. The question then became how do we give them this functionality and make it more apparent? Our answer was to familiar symbols for play, pause, forward and reverse. During subsequent testing this worked much better.

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Finally, we added some text to explain the images they were looking at and the significance of them. The user does not have to read the information in order to interact with the piece, but it is there for them if they want to know more. Discover New Hidden Images At the beginning, it was difficult for all of us to see the hidden images in Guernica. In fact, at that point hidden images were just another interesting aspect of the Guernica, not at all the main focus of this application. However, we eventually were able to see the hidden images, and realized the importance of having tools to modify the original image while attempting to find hidden images. It certainly wasn't enough to use just our eyes and brains. We decided to provide visitors with the means to manipulate the image to help them see things they wouldn’t otherwise see. To manipulate the image, the user moves and resizes the blue box. She can then make the selected area of the image more clear or fuzzy, and modify the contrast. In this way, visitors can attempt to find hidden images and symbolism within the Guernica, and offer opinions on the meaning to each other. After finding hidden images, the visitor can save it to a gallery by clicking the "Save to Gallery" button. Visitor's Gallery

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View Hidden Images

Discover New Hidden Images

Visitor's Gallery
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