Time, Culture and Identity: A Digital and Creative Professional’s Perspective on Interpreting Historical Clocks in Museum Environments

Robson, Dominic. 2021. Time, Culture and Identity: A Digital and Creative Professional’s Perspective on Interpreting Historical Clocks in Museum Environments. Chinese Annals of History of Science and Technology, 4 (S1), pp. 103-122. ISSN 2096-4226 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Digital media offer unique opportunities for museums to bring to life the secrets and stories of their historical collections. To bring insight into the process of developing digital media exhibits, this paper presents the perspective of a creative practitioner in approaching technology- and media-based interpretation for collection objects. It follows the Time, Culture and Identity digital workshop held in Beijing in October 2019, which explored and shared ideas about collaborative research and interdisciplinary practice in digital interpretation between academics, institutions, creative practitioners, and developers. Following the direction of the workshop, the paper takes as its focus the clocks and automatons of the imperial collection at the Palace Museum in Beijing. Observations are based on the author’s practice-led experience in running a design studio, Harmonic Kinetic, developing new media exhibits using digital technology and audiovisual media for museums, galleries, and exhibitions in the UK, including the Science Museum, V&A, Barbican, Tate, and the Tower of London. Taking a broad interaction-design-led outlook, the paper explores a personal design perspective for developing interpretive content and considers the particular opportunities and approaches these historical devices suggest. The paper concludes with a final section that reviews the process and reflects on outcomes from the Time, Culture and Identity digital workshop. This explored possibilities for an interpretive exhibit on the Country Scene clock from the Palace Museum collection.

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museum, object interpretation, digital media, exhibition design, visitor experience, mechanical clocks, automatons, Palace Museum

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11 September 2020Accepted
23 February 2021Published

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Date Deposited:

29 Mar 2021 08:45

Last Modified:

30 Mar 2021 10:18

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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