Technology and Created Spaces: Reframing Interpretations of Public Art through Digital Augmentation

Technology and Created Spaces: Reframing Interpretations of Public Art through Digital Augmentation

Justin Makemson (Belmont University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1727-6.ch010
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Abstract

This chapter examines the educational potential of existing technologies to reframe student interpretations of public art spaces and promote civic engagement, interest, and investment within the vicinity of the interpretive exercise. The chapter specifically explores the theoretical relationship between virtual and local experience and traces the development of four research-in-teaching initiatives, interpretative exercises in which student participants examined local public art sites using digital imaging platforms and place-based technologies. The methods and findings sections of the chapter define the objectives and procedures most central to each interpretive exercise and present research findings in the form of selected student work. The research findings suggest that the digital augmentation of public art spaces reconfigures more traditional educational spaces/methods and compounds the benefits of virtual and local experience.
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Introduction

Murals, installations, parks, gardens, and other forms of public art present the educator with an interesting pedagogical dilemma: How to design meaningful student interpretive experiences to simultaneously address both created object and object setting? Per one resolution, the digital augmentation of public art spaces can be used to shift the scope and sequence of interpretive exercises– Students might use technology to simulate, supplement, or completely substitute for direct experience with a public art site, to virtually manipulate the visual elements of created objects and related spaces, and to link critical commentary, social history, or other forms of explanatory information directly to an artwork’s geographic location. The opening prologue referenced two examples of repurposed and/or reconfigured technologies applied with the intent to connect students to artwork and locality; the following chapter examines the educational potential of existing technologies to reframe student interpretations of public art spaces and promote civic engagement, interest, and investment within the vicinity of the interpretive exercise. While technological innovation is absolutely important to all forms of education, more general discussion of technology in education exceeds the parameters of the present chapter. Instead, this chapter concentrates primarily on the theoretical relationship between virtual and local experience and traces the development of four research-in-teaching initiatives, interpretative exercises in which student participants examined local public art sites using digital imaging platforms and place-based technologies.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Global Positioning System (GPS): Technology operating towards the navigation of space; GPS platforms support local seek-and-discover exploration through the enhanced mobility and accuracy of satellite-based navigation.

Tagging: The process of marking or identifying of a geographic location as somehow significant.

Ubiquitous Information: The retrieval and exchange of information on demand and at the discretion of the participant.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Technology operating towards the mapping of information; GIS platforms collect, analyze, and disseminate multiple data sets within a single, layered geo-spatial representation.

Mixed Reality or Augmented Reality (MR/AR): Technology that operates to enhance, expand, or modify embodied experiences and environmental exchanges; MR/AR platforms create a sense of embodiment or presence within an enhanced, expanded, or modified local experience through links to embedded content and ubiquitous information services.

Global Positioning System (GPS) Educational Trail: Series of linked GPS-enabled interpretative experiences towards an educational purpose.

Site-to-Virtual: Place-based technology orientation in which participants receive and exchange information connected to a remote geographic location through a virtual representation of the original site.

Virtual-to-Site: Place-based technology orientation in which participants receive and exchange information connected to their present geographic location.

Caching: The process of seeking out and providing feedback on a geo-tagged location.

Volunteer-Generated Information (VGI): Information created and shared by users of place-based technologies to facilitate the experience of other users.

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