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1997/2 Summaries

From Nordisk Museologi 1997/2: SUMMARY pp. 3-12

Arno Victor Nielsen:

With Gutenberg on Internet

The paper comments on the development of verbal communication from orality, through written and printed text up to the age of the computer. The importance of Marshall McLuhan is underlined for his insistence on the potential new freedom from the rigid linearity of the text which modern media have offered. It is argued that the computer with its capacity for editing and linking and its use of hypertext offers us the means for a new way of expressing our thinking, envisioned by Mc Luhan. A way, better adapted to the complexity both of the reality we try to grasp and master intellectually with words and the patterns of thinking we actually use in that process. The author points to writers such as Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Wittenstein as forerunners. They keep adding observations and reflections together in short notes rather than in a discursive text in order to adequately describetheir impressions of a constantly shifting and changing reality. Are they foretelling the death of the book, the enlightenment culture of the rational argument? No doubt they have influenced postmodern thinking. To underpin the analysis references are made to Umberto Eco and Walter Benjamin, as well as to Vílem Flusser, who stated that the 20th century has produced codes for the transfer of information such as films, sound- and videotapes, disks and CD-ROMs which are superior to the written word. The new media when combined in various ways can thus communicate a multidimensional, multisensory message more efficiently than any text.

Arno Victor Nielsen er Mag.art. et cand. mag. i filosofi og litteratur, medarbejder ved Danmarks Radio, professor i kunstfagenes teori ved Kunsthøgskolen i Bergen.
Adr. H/F Kalvebod 79, DK-2450 København SV

From Nordisk Museologi 1997/2: SUMMARY pp. 13-18

Per-Uno Ågren:

Museums on the digital stage

In Sweden a recent State Report has proposed the establishment of a digital Cultural network ('Kulturnät Sverige') on the Internet. In the preparation of the Report several hearings were arranged in 1996, among them
one about the usefulness of such a network for museums. This text was written for that occasion.
An attempt is made to define the unique qualities of the museum exhibition in comparison with other media of communication in the cultural field. It has been argued that museums have an obligation to use digital techniques to put their collections at the disposal of a global Internet public who could at any time enter the museum to take a look at its exhibitions and to study all its stored objects. However this availability has serious limitations; it lacks many of the basic aspects of the museum proper - the spatial experience of its galleries, the three-dimensional physical qualities - form, texture, colour - of its objects. The museum exhibition - like all performing arts - may seem to be a demanding medium, because it asks from us the tribute of a personal visit to yield in full measure its capacity to excite our senses and trigger our imaginations. Perhaps, in the future, successful hybrid forms of the 'real' exhibition and mediated images of it may develop, in the same way as literature, music and theatre have successfully teamed up with radio and television in specific new genres.

Texten är en bearbetat version av «Museerna som distribuerade kunskapscentra». I «Kultur på nätet - den digitala mötesplatsen och museernas nya arenor. Workshop 2 Kultur på nätet». Kulturnät Sverige Rosenbad 24 maj 1996.

Kulturnät Sverige: www.kulturnat.iva.se

Per-Uno Ågren är ansvarshavande redaktör för Nordisk Museologi.
Adr: Mariehemsvägeb 11G, S-906 54 Umeå
Fax +46-90-139852
e-mail: per-uno.agren@museologi.umu.se

From Nordisk Museologi 1997/2: SUMMARY pp. 19-28

Jon Birger Østby:

About the use of computer technology in Norwegian museums

In this article the author gives a short survey of the development of information technology in Norwegian museums from the beginning of the 1970s, and goes on to indicate the main challenges in this field today.
In 1979 the NKKM (The Union of Norwegian Art and Cultural Museums) submitted a standard catalogue card for the registration of objects of cultural history. Thanks to the strong commitment of the NKKM we have common development projects and common standards where consideration was also taken to smaller institutions. Currently there are 150 museums of cultural history and other institutions using the system for registration developed at The Norwegian Computing Centre for the Humanities, Bergen. Some museums, however, have chosen to work out their own solutions.
More than 30 % of the Norwegian population now have access to Internet - at home, at their work or at school. It is a considerable challenge for the museums to make use of this communication technology in order to reach new user groups, not least among children and youngsters. Earlier the museums have primarily been occupied with presenting electronic reference catalogues; now the chief challenge lies in communicating knowledge and experiences based on the collections and knowledge of the museums themselves. The Ministry of Culture has taken the initiative by creating an electronic network of information through Cultural Network Norway, of which Museum Network Norway will be an integral sector network.

Jon Birger Østby er sivilingeniør med tilleggsutdanning i etnologi og folkeminnevitenskap. Han er direktør for Norsk museumsutvikling.
Adr: Norsk museumsutvikling, Ullevålsveien 11,
N-0165 Oslo.
Faks: + 47 22 11 00 74
E-post: jonbirgero@nomusu.no

From Nordisk Museologi 1997/2: SUMMARY pp. 43-66

Lene Otto & Lykke Lafarque Pedersen:

The narrative exhibition

There is an essential distinction in cultural-historic museums concerning the orientation of exhibitions toward objects or toward concepts. The former emanate from things, a good collection, put on display for the public. The latter proceed from an idea or a story that is told to the public. This article deals with the narrative conceptual orientation, illustrated by the exhibition «Livshistorie» [Lifestory/ Lifehistory] presented by the National Museum of Denmark.
The exhibition was subject to certain physical restrictions in the preserved, industrial historical museum buildings. It was presented on two floors with many low-ceilinged rooms. We attempted to turn these spatial limitations to an advantage by harmonising architecture, presentation principles and content.
The interplay of the concepts time, life and narrative guided the entire exhibition which dealt with the initiating urge to understand oneself and to deal with one's own life - the autobiographical consciousness.
The two floors were thus used to differentiate between two perspectives on the investigation of a life:
* the history of the course of a life (a product of knowledge and power)
* stories from an experienced lifetime (biographical narratives)
The first is a broad, cultural-historical perspective which deals with the interest in understanding the self, as expressed by the priest, the administrator and the scientist - life's experts - while the real, sensed experiences of the course of a lifetime and narratives thereof, expressed through objects and memory, provided the second perspective. The recollections of a lifetime presuppose a concept of biographical time that can be represented as cyclical time, linear development or moments of special fullness.
Throughout the exhibition one is guided by objects and motifs that gather various themes and problem complexes. The exhibition is introduced by a large gallery of portraits in order to show that we are dealing with people, individuals, but also with the history of individuality. Concepts of the individual, the citizen, and the personality, certainly have three different chronological origins, but all three are the basis of the present.
Objects can express the essence of a single room and can also paticipate in various contexts. For example the baptismal font is the main object in the room dealing with the individual and Christianity, because, in the past baptism, not birth, marked the transition to life and it remains an important ritual though it's meaning has changed. In other rooms the significance of baptism in relation to other aspects of life is treated - the way the family gathers on baptismal day, what gifts are given and what photographs and objects are kept as souvenirs.
The many authentic objects and life stories in the exhibition were meant to be keys to understanding but were also intended to araise feelings. The public should be able to identify with the exhibition but hopefully also be able to challenge preconceived notions.
Oversættelse: Robert Livermore

Lene Otto, amanuensis ved Institut for Arkæologi og Etnologi, Københavns Universitet. Mag.art. i Europæisk Etnologi 1992 fra Københavns Universitet. Skriver på en Ph.d.-afhandling om livsaldre og biografier.
Adr.Københavns Universitet
Institut for Arkæologi og Etnologi, Vandkunsten 5
DK- 1467 København K.
Fax. + 45 35 32 41 05
e-mail: lotto@coco.ihi.ku.dk

Lykke Lafarque Pedersen, museumsinspektør ved Nationalmuseet Nyere Tid. Mag.art.i Europæisk Etnologi 1989 samt exam.art. i Nordisk Arkæologi 1980 fra Københavns Universitet.
Adr. Postbox 260, DK- 2800 Lyngby
Fax. +45 33 47 33 17
e-mail: nt-lp@brede.natmus.min.dk

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