I was approached by Ashlee Whitaker, curator at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art, to help develop some interpretive materials for an exhibition that she was curating. The artist Jorge Cocco Santangelo will be showing many of his paintings at the Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas and she wanted to use Popwalk to display interpretive information for the exhibit. There were some challenges for Ashlee. She is curating for a space outside of her own museum, two states away, and she would not be able to stage the exhibit. The exhibit is also a part of a conference that she is participating in, and she wanted to create interpretive materials for the exhibit that would enrich the experience of the conference participants, as well as general museum goers.

Making the videos

We decided that we would create a number of videos, to be displayed onsite through Popwalk. These videos would function like a screen on the wall, sharing information about the exhibit and the artist, but museum visitors would be able to see the videos on their own time, on their phone. In this way, Popwalk functions like an a museum audio/video handset.

We already knew that the artist had a number of existing videos about his process, history, and the content of his artwork. We obtained permission to use these videos and edited them into one concise video that fit the content of this exhibition. We also had many images of the artist’s process. From these, we put together a slideshow video that described how the artist progressed from initial idea to finished painting. Here is a portion of the video about the artist’s process:

Next, we had a video by the author Jack Welch. He had previously collaborated with our artist on a book project. This author is well known to many of the art conference attendees, so we wanted to use a portion of this video as an authoritative voice on the importance of this artist’s work. We edited the existing video to just a couple minutes. 

Putting up the Videos

Now we have three videos that will work along with the exhibit: a biographical video, one about the artist’s process, and one testimonial about the importance of the artist’s work. Once the videos are created and uploaded onto Youtube, all of the heavy lifting is done. To put them up on the Popwalk app is simple, requiring completion of just a short online form on the Popwalk website. You can see that form here.

We are about two weeks from the start of the exhibit. I know the location of the museum and roughly where the gallery will be. To put the videos up on Popwalk, I need to find the specific latitude and longitude. I can find the exact coordinates for the videos by just dropping a pin on Google maps:

The Popwalk submission page also has a link to a website that can help you to find the latitude and longitude:

When I travel down to Dallas for the exhibition in two weeks, I will make sure that the videos are placed in the appropriate locations, it is simple and quick to change the locations.

Sharing the videos with the public

The exhibition will include a small plaque that gives visitors the link for downloading the app. Once a visitor to the museum has downloaded the app, they can access the videos that have been created for the exhibit. The map interface on the app looks like this:

When you touch a dot on the map, it leads you to this page. Here you can give some information about the exhibit, what they will see when they get there, etc.

How Popwalk might be used in other contexts

If you have downloaded the Popwalk app for yourself, you can see that there are many different kinds of art and cultural videos being generated. Artists are creating site-specific artworks for different locations. Art historians are sharing their research. Performance artists are archiving and sharing site-specific performance. Popwalk can allow you to exhibit interpretive materials for the inside of a gallery, for the sculpture garden of a museum, across the town! The app allows a curator to expand their reach beyond the walls of the museum. You can see another example of how a public art program used Popwalk here.

Cross Pollinate Audiences.

Popwalk can help to share your work with your audience, but it can also help to generate new audiences. Users of the app from all over will be able to see what you are putting up. You will share your content with a broad audience of app users from all over, and they will be encouraged to come see what you are doing! 

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