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  • Whitney Ford-Terry 2:44 am on April 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Art Education, ArtBabble, Facebook, Indianapolis Museum of Art,   

    To All You Art Lovers, Haters, and Creators. Babble on. 

    Everyone has an opinion on “Art” with a capital  “A”.  As a medium that thrives on relevance, it deserves to be questioned and  commented on,  by everyone. Enter ArtBabble

    Art-Bab-ble [ahrt-bab-uhl]
    noun; verb (used without object) -bled, -bling

    1. free flowing conversation, about art, for anyone.
    2. a place where everyone is invited to join an open, ongoing discussion – no art degree required.


    Last week the Indianapolis Museum of Art introduced its new content/ community site Art Babble. The IMA’s new site features a number of documentary style in-studios and interviews with artists and museum curators. Working with content from organizations like Art:21, MOMA, New York Public Library, SFMOMA, and the Smithsonian — this forum provides a space for art fans to watch, comment, create, and connect. ArtBabble features popular and recently viewed videos, quotes from artists and users, and a Featured user profile. This interface supports community commentary and helps create a sense of accountability. Anyone can join and each users commentary is “equally valued” regardless of degree or pedigree. As a hybrid archive and social media tool, Art Babble hosts unique, high quality video resources contemporary and modern art. Unlike video-share sites like Vimeo or YouTube, the content on ArtBabble is provided by partner institutions. This puts restrictions on the content, but not the community. Commentators are given a relatively direct video prompt and can chose to respond by writing or marking it as a favorite. This makes the platform and subject matter more approachable and encourages meaningful commentary, as opposed to the comments on YouTube. Even though the platform curates the website’s video content, the community commentary is the primary focus.

    picture-8Also featured on their home page is an invite to join their Facebook group. A Social network with a social network. Its like a web 2.0 backdoor. A support forum for a support forum. On Facebook you can post your own arts videos, send art using ArtShare, and continue the dialogue. ArtBabble’s unique platform directs dialogue enough to support its goals but makes it open to everyone who wants to be a part of the conversation. In ArtBabble, the IMA has found a great way to support community, foster relevent dialouge, and promote partnerships with like minded institutions.

    • kellycporter 2:41 am on April 15, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting. It looks as though the site has great potential. It makes me just a touch worrisome, though, that you had to put “equally valued” in quotation marks. Just because it is open to the uninitiated does not necessarily mean that those people will use it in any large numbers. I wonder what (if anything) ArtBabble is doing to willfully attract those that are not engaging in these conversations on a regular basis already. It looks like a rich platform, and if they can manage to attract people from both sides of the ‘expertise’ fence the greatest potential for it might be to push a bunch of self-absorbed avante-gardes to meet and speak with the masses– I would love that.

  • Whitney Ford-Terry 7:15 pm on April 10, 2009 Permalink | Reply  


    The challenge for the day

    1. talk to strangers.
    2. get strangers talking to each other.
    3. design objects that get strangers talking to each other without facilitated intervention.

    Here is What happened:

    For this experiment I wanted to try something simple with my group. We thought it might be a good idea to devise a simple game that would build on itself. Step one, talk to strangers, find out their favorite things, and give them a card. Step two, approach multiple unrelated groups at one time and ask them together as a group activity, let them talk amongst themselves, and give them each a card. Step three, watch individuals, groups, couples, and families all exchange cards and share their favorite things.
    strangemuseWe had a stack of multi-colored 3 x 5 cards and chose one color for each area of the zoo – Blue Cards for the Gorillas, Green Cards for the Rain Forrest, Yellow for the African Village, etc.  We then went around asking people what their favorite things about gorillas were. As they were talking we wrote down a simplified version of their responses on the card, one thing per card. Some couples got one card, some groups had one card for each person depending on how “into” it they got.  They were then instructed to visibly carry the card around for the rest of their visit. I encouraged folks to make their cards visible through silly gestures, like fanning themselves, and one visitor tucked it into his hat.

    For the second portion I decided to add on to the previous method by approaching a general area and addressing multiple groups at one time. This was a little more awkward because people were waiting for someone else to answer first, but eventually the awkwardness often led to people asking each other their favorite things and divvying up singular traits among people. They then encouraged each other to trade with other groups and egged each other on. I saw two groups exchange cards and walk out of the exhibit area together, only to see them later at the café together. That was kind of neat.

    The third part of the experiment consisted of me lurking around the zoo, watching to see if people would continue to exchange these cards. I saw it happen a number of times, both within the exhibit they were given out at and elsewhere in the Zoo.  Since I had a stack myself, as I was writing them up and handing them out, I was approached a number of times by folks who wanted to trade, so I ended up with quite a few myself.

    The questions and cards provided an easy way to approach strangers individually or in groups.  It became a “thing” – like joining a secret club or game. People got really into it after a while.  The cards gave people an easy excuse to approach each other, and those that were really into playing the game got others more involved too – pulled them out a little. I found that it was easier to outright ask a question with genuine interest, then to approach someone and ask if you can ask a question.  I also found that the less nervous we were when talking to people, the more comfortable they were talking to us.

    • museologiste 9:05 pm on April 11, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      Whitney, I think your card-swapping idea was one of the most elegant solutions developed for this challenge. It really got to the heart of getting strangers to talk to each other with minimal intervention – there was one “point” of prompting for each participant, and then you were eventually able to just sit back and watch your experiment unfold.

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