2012年12月1日 星期六

Exhibition Area and program design

Guys, I drew a 3D structure of the exhibition area. Hope this can help all of you on designing the exhibition.
Each of the white square on the floor is 3x3(feet) and the man and woman in the model is the regular size (5'' 9' tall). I think, this is a really small space and with not much place for putting the captions or other materials. 
ps, if you need other angles or information of this model, please ask. 

Program Design
I first build a 3D model based on the site plan we received from Drexel University. The space is obviously limited but there is still possible to put all thirteen objects. The exhibition space is separated into two parts. One is the controlled display area for rare artifacts; the other possible space is along the second glass wall on the other side. Due to the small space of the area. I plan to use only the controlled display area and put five objects in side. The corset is in the middle and four dresses on the side (Wedding Dress Combo, Trousseau Dress, Day Dress).
All the objects are set up vertically on a stand. This set up makes more sense, the corset in the middle is the inner wear of the dress and the dresses are the outfit. The height of the object should be at the height of an average woman in US. This design allows viewers to stand in from of the object as the object is actually worn by a person in front. 
All the other details I will share with you guys in the class.

2012年11月25日 星期日

Reading Blog – Nov. 26th

Reading Blog – Nov. 26th

Smith, Mark M. Sensing the past : seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching in history. Berkeley : University of California Press, 2007. Print.

Seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, add touching are the basic senses of human. The core question in the reading is, how the senses changed through the history? What roles have the five senses played and how do they affected our society?
We experience these senses in our everyday life without doing anything. We usually just receive the senses through our organs. In page 117, Smith wrote that most historians and museum curators think that the sensory recreation for the past is both not possible and desirable. But I think what these historians and curators mean is to build a program that is only base on senses. For example, use only sounds to present the American history. Maybe it will become the head line of the news but it is not a way to operate a museum. But there are some commercial values in senses. There are shops that sell different smells in bottles. The shops are selling scents like, holy water, wet garden, dust, fire place, and even warm spring. The shop does not only sell the scents that exist. Some scents such as Italian kiss and California love are also in the list of choice.
I think what Smith means in the book is that a history documentary is best in language format, speaking and writing. An official documentary of history in smell or hearing is just not the way to do it. Looking carefully into the current museum program design, we can find out that there are installations of senses
        Smith points out that some scholars begun to insist that sensory history should offer a usable way to help the history “live”. They are hoping to find a better way to present their research and findings to the publics. I believe this is the correct way of the sensory history but it seems impossible to do. The ultimate question is how we recreate the senses in the past. All the materials that can help identify the senses are not exists anymore. Do the people in the past recognize the color like us? Different space-time background, different society, different understanding of fact and standard can make everything so varied. With the help of advanced technology we might be able to reach the goal but how to translate and express the senses objectively will be a big challenge.

        As for my object exhibition, this reading gave me a new direction of conducting it. I am thinking about put the top hat on a turning plate and surround it with some spot light. This design can reveal the unique glossy surface of the hat.

2012年11月18日 星期日

Reading Blog – Nov. 19th

(sorry guys, I uploaded only the partial of my thought few hours ago. here's the full text)

A head & shoulder product is a combination of three things, the ingredients, bottle holds the ingredients, and the label on the bottle. Dan Rose believes that it is a bundled phenomenon as cultural-natural object. The object, which is the Head & Shoulder product in this reading, can be seen as agents because the power of the product is strong enough to changed or influenced our life and behavior.
Dan Rose especially focuses on Wittgenstein’s theory and concludes that large companies use ingredients, package, writing to guide the consumers to follow their ways of living. He argues that verbal language is very concrete and definite, and so are the written words. The purposes of language are sending information and convince others to believe the message. Head & Shoulder product is the example Dan Rose uses here to explain how marketing skill turned the ingredients, container, and written label into a single material that manipulates our society.

object as agent is this weeks theme. an object can be used as a material to change a persons life. the invention of vitamin and its commercial slogan makes most of us start taking pills every morning. taking my object the man;s top hat as an example. maybe there was a company created the trend of wearing hats everyday. different material or accessories of the hat define people's social class. finding out how an object or its bundle objects rules the everyday may be the crucial key of presenting the object in the exhibition.

2012年11月11日 星期日

Reading Blog -- Nov. 12th

The first time I got a pair of blue jeans was a long time ago. I can’t even remember the feeling of getting my first pair of jeans. Actually, wearing jeans is so common that it even becomes a must own clothing in our everyday life. It is really hard to imagine how a pair of pant design for miners now comes in various fits, including skinny, tapered, straight, boot cut and flare. You can also get different colors rather than the original deep blue jeans. Jeans are now a very popular article of casual dress around the world.
This week’s reading is Blue Jeans by Daniel Miller and Sophie Woodward. It talks about an ordinary object, Jeans through series of interviews with people. They try to explain the social changes of British society by tracking the people’s thoughts about jeans through the years. The research raised the value of jean further into a normative of the British society.
Almost everyone in today’s society has a pair of jeans. Wearing jeans can make anybody virtually become an ordinary people on the street.
For immigrants, trying to blend in to a new society is a tough thing to do. They wear jeans to look like the locals. Sometimes they will wear certain outfits to show specific identities in different conditions. The struggle of the immigrants is, they are used to wear traditional outfit but knowing those kinds of outfits will only capture attentions from the public. Immigrants want to keep their original identity and also successfully merge into the new community.
What does the social meaning of wearing a pair of blue jeans? One of the reason people wear jeans is because it is more comfortable than other clothing. And this might be the reason why teenagers are more likely to wear jeans. Jeans are more fitted their identity and needs as a teenager.
In this reading, the argument is not about the functionality of the jeans. Wearing jeans is an action of seeking ones social identity. People want to be in the society or group they are familiar with. Wearing jeans is the easiest way to achieve this goal. But people also want to be unique in the society, trying not to be exactly the same as the others. Jeans is the perfect clothing for blend in but also standing out. You can wear blue jeans when you want to be impersonal. You can wear special designed red jeans to be outstanding and unique. 

2012年11月5日 星期一

Practicing Captions

Practicing Captions

Object: Man’s top hat
Material: Silk flesh hat with grosgrain edge band, tiny metal mesh air hole at top.
Description: worn by L. Llewellyn W. Jones at his wedding with Violet W. Andrews in 1896 at St. Mary’s P.E. Church, 39th & Locust St., Philadelphia.

This is a 19th century man’s top hat worn by L. Llewellyn W. Jones at his wedding with Violet W. Andrews. At St. Mary’s P.E. Church, 39th & Locust St., Philadelphia. (3916 Locust Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104)
The material of the hat is silk with grosgrain edge band , tiny metal mesh air hole at top.

This Man’s top hat was worn by L. Llewellyn W. Jones at his wedding with Violet W. Andrews. At St. Mary’s P.E. Church in Philadelphia. His hat is beautifully made with silk. The hat has a curvy edge decorated with another layer of silk grosgrain.

I will choose number three caption because it written in a tone which is more close to a real conversation. But after a more careful thinking, caption number three seems too complicated for viewers. Maybe a combination of caption one and three will be a better result for exhibition.

2012年11月4日 星期日

Object Exercise 3: Local Historical Context

I visited the St. Mary’s P.E. Church on October 2nd 2012. St, Mary’s church was a small church in 1860. The present church was completed in 1874 due to the need of expansion to fit the growing congregation in 1871.
From 1870 to 1914 is the Second Industrial Revolution. The invention of telephone, light bulb, vehicle, airplane totally changed the way society runs. The industry level and the economy level grow greatly during that time.
St. Mary’s church is located inside the school area of University of Pennsylvania. Behind the church in this picture is the Harrison college house of UPENN. Church itself is surrounded by new buildings and public spaces for students. Modern coffee shops and restaurants are located across the street. Maybe the surroundings of the church is new and unmatched to the church. When walking into the church, roof and its arch structure make it one of the most beautiful church I ever have been to.
The interior of the church does not change since the expansion in 1874. Only the altar was reconstructed in 1890.
The whole altar is a beautiful mosaic which is completed with marble and stone. Standing in the St. Mary’s church, I can almost feel the same atmosphere in January 1896 when Llewellyn W. Jones and Violet W. Andrews got married.
The marriage record of St. Mary’s church is kept in a red cover book. The record is categorized by years. According to the record, only six couple got married in 1896. The signature in the book looks like all the names were signed by the reverend on the church. It will be more interesting if it was signed by the people who are getting married.
The owner of the object was lived in Allegheny, Philadelphia. Like many neighborhoods in North Philadelphia, Allegheny is primarily a poor African-American enclave that has suffered post-industrial decline and disinvestment. I will need to do more research in order to presume the social and economic status of the top hat’s owner.

2012年11月3日 星期六

Reading Blog -- Oct. 29th

“Marx’s overcoat was to go in and out of the pawnshop throughout the 1850s and early 1860s. And his overcoat directly determined what work he could or could not do. If his overcoat was at the pawnshop during the winter, he could not go to the British Museum. If he could not go to the British Museum, he could not undertake the research for Capital.”
Marx’s coat shapes his entire life. The connection between Marx’s cloth and his life is not just a simple relation. There are more materials needed in Marx’s writing that is also connected to his coat. Marx needs writing material such as newspapers, books, pen, ink, and paper to write his book. The supply for these essential materials for Marx is relying on whether his coat is in the pawnshop or not. In Marx’s thinking, the functionality of his coat is not keeping warm; there is some other value of it. Marx’s coat explained not only the structure of the exploitation relationship between capitalist class and working class but also the on how tools effect workers.
Stallybrass argues that Marx’s theory on commodity should not be that straight and obvious. The study of materials around our life is the study of reaching human values and real life. Marx wrote about a cloth as a cell-form of capitalism in Capital. Stallybrass believes that other than the abstract value and the oppression of labor, clothes and objects construct people’s life and self-recognition. Marx’s clothes determine his everyday life. His coat not only controls whether he can go to the British museum but also control whether he has enough money to buy writing materials. We can say clothes have different meanings rather than just a cover of our body. Different age, social class, sex, occupation of the person who is wearing the clothes can make the clothes has varieties of meanings..
Along with the progressing of materials and the pattern of the clothes, people began to call this the language of the clothes. The multiple categories of the clothes and the social differences of the person created a reflection of our social world. But McKracken argues in his article that not every design is represented that significantly. For example, a dress is commonly known as a female’s clothes but a design that demonstrates the social status of a person will be relatively harder to categorize. McKracken thinks that describing clothing as a language is not accurate enough. The expressive properties of clothing will be vanished if we understand clothing as a language. In McKracken’s view, language is just a tool of communication. Which is not powerful enough to represents the cultural and social ability of the clothing. In my point of view, McKracken is taking the method of language of clothing too serious. The saying of “language of clothing” should be just discussing about the symbolic functionality of the clothing , not actually overlaying the method of language onto material culture.
        When studying on an object that is one or two hundred years ago. Illustrate what it is the first important thing to do. Giving the viewers the details of the object would be the first essential goal of presenting the object. These basic information such as the material used, who’s the owner, what year it’s made should be giving to the viewers before researcher start telling the story of the object. The story of the object I define is the most important in introducing an object. The social meaning of the object and the connection of the owner with the object are the two factors that are necessary.