Museum of Memory

The architecture of a museum should compliment the content of what’s inside of it. With that in mind, Duomo Di Firenze is the most beautiful building I have ever seen. And I’m not relgious – my gravitation to this structure has nothing to do with faith. A couple of years ago, I visited Florence for the first time. Walking across the Piazza and up to the Duomo had me feeling spiritual in a way I’ve never experienced before. Perhaps it was the incredibly blue sky that day, or the contrast of the pink and light green residential houses alongside the narrow side streets and accordian music that made the Duomo seem especially immense. I know one thing for sure, when I walked back to the church at night, it was one statue in particular that brought me to tears as I stared at it’s face looking down on me. The expression had me transfixed. How could anyone create such human emotion out of stone? I felt in one moment incredible spirituality and in the next, terrible sadness for a time I’ve never experienced. I searched through my pictures from that night in March, 2015 and was pleased to rediscover it.

Dioses

The exterior of the Duomo would be a very intense backdrop and location for an exhibit for all the art that has made an impact on me. In the incredible situation where that could happen, I would fill outlines of the Piazza with easles for the paintings and photographs, and the statues and sculptures would be grouped, centered by the easles.

Yves Klein

Yves Klien, a French artist known best for his paintings, was the subject and artistic director for the photo “Leap Into The Void” (1960) When I first saw this image it was not in a museum, it was in the magazine AdBusters and immediately researched it, tore it out and it’s been on my wall for 7 years now. Carefully coreographed, just like his paintings, this photo was the result of a montage. The original contained two of his friends holding something to catch him with.

2014 from MarcoWylie on 8tracks Radio.

Music has been an integral part of my life since I was very young, so it would be a shame not to incorporate some aspect of how important music has been to me in an exhibit of my own curation of memory. Since 2011, I’ve been collecting “Songs of the Month” that are a list of songs associated with each month of the year, sometimes two at once, that were stuck in my head or my wife’s head at the time. It’s served as a way of remember what was going on that year during that specific month in time. And it’s incredible what the power of music can do to your memory. It’s also interesting to see what songs reappear years later, sometimes near the same month. I would include this part of the exhibit as an interactive jukebox. Sort of like the one I’ve set up above, but physical. Although some of the song choices were not my favorite song, I was true to what song was stuck in our heads for most of the month, even if it was a song I didn’t like that much.

alice

Another piece of art that brings back a lot of memories is the Alice and Wonderland statue in Central Park. I remember playing on the huge mushroom and grabbing at the bronze facial features, noticing the smell it left on my hand like pennies. While it’s not the prettiest sculpture I’ve ever seen, actually I find it to be a little terrifying when you look at the faces, it will always remind me of childhood, playing at the park and feeling lonely.

 

 

Museum of Smells

In 2014, I was in a hotel bathtub in Venice Italy conjuring up what I wanted to say and what song I wanted to play while proposing to my girlfriend. It was October 29 and NYC was in the midst of being hit by Hurricane Sandy which we were following closely. The smell of the fresh bath soap will always remind me of this particular memory but I’ll always remember the date because of it’s unfortunate connection to the storm. The day after Venice flooded badly and we had to cancel our plans to visit Croatia next but we happily stayed Venice for a few more days.

2218’s Museum of 2018

Having succumbed to the perils of destruction from global warming, planet earth in 2118 is completely inhabitable. Some of my family was lucky enough to have their consciousness uploaded to a major server thrust into earth’s orbit, and we now live subconsciously through networks maintained by the International Space Station, but others weren’t as lucky. The graduate school program I completed in 2019 called ITP formed an environmental guerilla group, set up by its residents and faculty to organize a way of managing the inevitable collapse of society under worldwide authoritarianism. Countries no longer exist because the land on Earth is now under water and there are no known species that have outlived the multiple natural disasters that began shortly after Trump became re-elected for his second term in 2020.

Museums in 2118 are visited through certain designated ports on the network controlled human consiousness servers and are experienced as though you are walking through the buildings in augmented reality. Since people are no longer able to reproduce because we are no longer connected to any temporary, flesh-bound bodies, we are left with the avatars we created of the 3D scanned imprints that keep us the age we were at the time of the collapse of human life on earth. Our families now consist of friends and neighbors too and we rely on localized networks within the international space station that allows us to live on but in a dysphoric repetitive way that only enables us to explore an open world that we have to struggle to maintain because it’s controlled in part by a secret company Elon Musk created shortly after the 2020 elections in the States. In our idle condition, we are simply roaming an endless lobby of ports waiting in line to plug into the next virtual experience.

As we slowly work together recreate human life in a post planet atmosphere, the need for museums become essential to learning about human life on Earth. There is a massive sense of longing for places on the network where people can revisit famous landmarks and great cities. One of the most popular exhibits PWP’s (post-world people) love revisiting is The Bodies exhibit that popularly traveled the word in the early 2000’s. The families who decided to upload their children wearily port their “selves” into these exhibits and use it to inform their loved ones of the bodies they once had and the world they once lived in. It is sad for these parents, however, because their children still hold on to life on Earth and are increasingly confused by their unaging virtual selves incapable of enjoying Earthly delicacies like eating and sleeping.

ITP’s guerilla group has been trying to instantiate museums of the senses that came out of a class called Cabinets of Wonder which I was lucky enough to be a part of in 2018. Creative coders discovered a way of allowing people to experience smell again through neural networking and are on their way to developing a version of ITP so other’s can learn new ways of experiencing what it was like to be human. I decided to take my uploaded blood-related and newly found family to ITP’s Museum of Smells in 2018 to revisit an exhibit we did in class. I told them about proposing to my wife Sadie while we were in Venice but and the smell of the bathtub soap I used in the hotel while deciding where to take her to propose. She was visibly sad and shaken up while I was telling this story and I couldn’t avoid mentioning that on that day, October 29, 2014, the first of many destructive hurricanes hit NYC — Hurricane Sandy. Despite the strange way we visit museums today, children are still unable to keep full attention in this virtual museum and they long for swing sets, candy, and grassy plains to run across. For now, it’s the adults that use museums to engage their unfulfilled nostalgia. In fact, most museums are now referred to as Places of Earth’s Nostalgia.

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

Upon exiting the subway station and seeing the statue of Theodore Roosevelt, I immediately became flooded with memories of seeing the outside of the Natural History Museum as a child. I was always enamored by the size of the building and excited about revisiting the space center.

Natural History Museum

Right inside, not a lot had changed.

Natural History Museum

After buying a ticket I headed toward the first exhibit.

Natural History Museum

The hall of African Mammals.

Natural History Museum

I’ve seen these diorama’s many times.

Natural History Museum

And remember thinking, as a kid, how hyper realistic the scenes were.

Natural History Museum

After the elephants, I wandered through the Hall of African Peoples.

Natural History Museum

The colorful displays were very informative with easy to read descriptions.

Natural History Museum

The diorama’s in this hall reminded me of the ones in the hall with the elephants.

Natural History Museum

Although I still didn’t read through the entire paragraph, I found it easy to read with a nice font choice on a simple white background, lit up.

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

To the point.

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

Nice description, perhaps a little too much text though.

Natural History Museum

A beautiful blue diorama.

Natural History Museum

With a nicely lit description.

Natural History Museum

Once I got to the Hall of Asian Peoples, strangely titled “The Lure of Asia”, I started noticing that the diorama’s started getting busy and cluttered with hard to read text.

Natural History Museum

Above is a picture of “The Georgians” display.

Natural History Museum

In my opinion, there is way too much text here, and the descriptions of each artifact seen at the bottom is so small and illegible against the strange green color chosen as a background.

Natural History Museum

The description didn’t even include text about what is in these little slim pockets on this shirt, which I found to be a drag.

Natural History Museum

Down the hall, things got sketchier. This window display had only half of the show lights working.

Natural History Museum

And this display features the text on the side walls, making it really hard to read.

Natural History Museum

When looking closer, it seemed like part of the ceiling fell down!

Natural History Museum

Hard to read text on the side wall.

Natural History Museum

More examples of text heavy and cluttered window design.

Natural History Museum

Oddly placed text with strange color choices.

Natural History Museum

Dense and text heavy descriptions.

Natural History Museum

Can you find the text in the window above?

Natural History Museum

Way too much text and very hard to read.

Natural History Museum

This display looks more organized but the text is hard to find in this case and they used a very hard to read color and font size.

Natural History Museum

I snapped a photo of this because I loved the way they played with perspective within the space. It’s clear and to the point with no need for much explanation.

Natural History Museum

To the left of the window above the hall looked uninviting and I wasn’t sure if I should even go down there. Exhibits were on display but the lights were off.

Natural History Museum

I don’t even know what’s happening here.

Natural History Museum

I couldn’t take a good picture without including my legs in the shot, but as you can sort of see, the blue lit up text is not lit up consistently and the text everywhere is cluttered and hard to read.

Natural History Museum

Moving on to the Eastern Woodlands Indians, which I mistook for the Hall of Northwest Coast Indians which is being renovated (perhaps that why I couldn’t find it), I noticed a few changes to the exhibit design.

Natural History Museum

An intense smell of a 1970’s basement hit my nose, and everything looked vintage.

Natural History Museum

One of the worst thing I found were these paintings of Native American’s by colonialists that seemed inappropriate because there was nothing in the exhibit that talked about all the horrible things the colonialists to them.

Natural History Museum

Another example.

Natural History Museum

I stared at this one for a while. It really took me into the space.

Natural History Museum

Right around the corner, the Hall of Pacific Peoples, had a very different feel. As I began thinking about the museum as a history of exhibit design I certainly felt like this was a newer and included more information about each object.

Natural History Museum

A glimpse down the hall where everything was well lit and inviting.

With all of this in mind, and with respect to the Hall of Asian Peoples, I would certainly make some changes. There were so many wonderful things on display but too many missed opportunities to explain their relevance and describe the history behind it in a clear way. A general renovation of the space surrounding the windows allowing visitors to walk through inviting, well lit spaces would be beneficial. Including some aspects of interactivity might make it more fun for kids. I would also change the font, colors, and font sizes on almost all of the windows making it easier to obtain information about what’s in front of you. To break it down:

  1. Renovate the halls to allow better light for the flow of movement for visitors and to highlight each window.
  2. Change the color of background walls and font style, color and size.
  3. Add an interactivity element to engage younger visitors
  4. Simplify the body of texts for each window and put windows into a series together that make sense in a narrative.

Before I left, I couldn’t skip a visit to the big bang theater. The feeling of this wing was drastically different than the other exhibits I had just walked through. Everything was very “high tech” although navigating up to the theater seemed confusing to some people. There was a “no exit” sign at the bottom of the ramp down from the theater that people just flat out ignored, walking up the ramp only to be turned away from a security guard at the top.

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum