Designing Multisensory Exhibitions (2012)

I was invited to chair a panel — with critic/curator/scholar Jim Drobnick; Johannas Goebel, founding director of RPI’s EMPAC and of the Music + Acoustics Center at the ZKM Karlsruhe; Siegfried Saerberg, sociologist and disability studies scholar; and John S. Weber, Director of the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College — on “Designing Multisensory Exhibitions” at the Multimodal Approaches to Learning conference at the Metropolitan Museum.

The conventions of the gallery and commonly used exhibition media and technology tend to privilege representation of the visual and occasionally, although with increasing frequency, the sonic. This panel will explore the challenges and opportunities in designing exhibitions that allow for a more encompassing multisensory experience. Given our panel’s focus on design, we’ll explore new potentials for how various design practices or sensibilities — of course the specialized field of exhibition design, but also interaction design, sound design, graphic design, architectural design, etc. — can work together to promote the engagement of the “whole body” in the exhibition.