MetaMuseum is a concept that would allow audiences to impact an exhibition through personally constructed and valuable inputs to works on display. This app would allow visitors to the museum to share their impression and experience at the museum in engaging with one or more of the pieces on exhibition. Initial concepts support a single piece but the project is easily scalable.  Visitors would take a photo of an object, which can be supplemented with a few words as to why they found it inspirational or what thinking it instigated during their visit, which will be stamped in space and show their unique perspective. When the same object is viewed through a tablet or phone running the app, the metadata of all those prior visitors will be visible to those in the exhibition space. The information will be tagged to a specific point, creating a type of photogrammetry of the piece in virtual space.
In addition, by taking a photo of the work in questions, their image would join all the others uploaded to “crowdsource” a 3D scan of the piece. Other users would be aware of what parts were missing, which might incentivize them to “finish” the scan.  This style of homebrewed photogrammetry will not only engage audiences in the museum but will create a curatable feed, which can be broadcast to an exterior screen, inviting external people into the space virtually. In addition to its role in linking to the outside, this leans into a debate about the role of the observer in art and if or when the collective pieces generated in the app themselves become art.  This concept is inspired by André Malraux’s (1901-1976) idea of the musée imaginaire, a “museum without walls” and, as suggested by W. Benjamin, examines the implications that the digital shift have on this line of thought. Does a depiction in a virtual world represent an ideal space for the concept of a “museum without walls”, and in what ways will this come to shape our understandings of art and art history? What do the personal constructions of prior visitors and the pursuit of further enshrining the work for eternity mean for the formerly temporary nature of exhibition?

Martina Scarpelli