Curating A Virtual Exhibition On Your Life? Help is Here!

Curating an Online Museum Exhibit? Let’s Make YOU the Subject!

If you had the opportunity to curate an exhibition whose topic was YOU, what are the objects you would choose to represent your life? What are the milestones and mementos you have saved? Little notes in your diary, keepsakes in your cupboards, letters from someone special, the music award from college? Are these the markers of your growing up years that would give the visitor a glimpse into your life and past?

Let’s add a dash of twist to this adventure. How about if this exhibition or museum show was to be hosted online? Now, of course, you can’t physically insert your football jersey or the ring from your husband into the computer. And it would be too boring if you just end up showcasing photographs from your childhood to the day you graduated. It’s too one-dimensional and flickr-like.

Curating an exhibition online is the new ‘hip’ for academia and institutions. You get to showcase large sections of art work and couple it with multimedia elements such as sounds, music, images, specific background scores, mood elements such as lighting, etc. You can play around with text and words and make lengthy descriptions or signage easy on the eye with creative use of typography. And most importantly, you get more eyeballs! It’s free, fast and D-I-Y.

Here are some useful and interesting websites I came across that will help create your own Virtual Exhibition where YOU are the artefact on display. Thought you would need to know Photoshop, animation or other terrifying softwares, then you are in for a surprise.

Creating Digital Exhibits

www.artsteps.com
This one’s easy and obvious. artsteps.com will hand-guide you to select photographs or other digital images from your archives, computers or online and kickstart a virtual gallery. You can choose the mood, theme, color scheme, lighting design and other attributes. Straightforward and definitely not rocket science.

www.imapbuilder.com
This one’s a bit unique, because generally, maps are not considered obvious materials for an online / virtual museum. imapbuilder.com helps you set up an interactive map across any city, state, country or continent with images, text, logos or captions. So, imagine in the State of California, you go to high school at Beverly Hills, and music classes in your neighborhood, plus drinks and kicking back at the local bar on your 21st birthday – you get to plot all these events and important days on the map. You just love the possibilities, don’t ya!

www.dipity.com
And we come to my favorite of the lot – the dipity timeline creator. It’s what got this journalism grad his job at Huffington Post (http://techcrunch.com/2011/03/22/infographic-nation/). Simple, easy to upload and with a variety of uses, the timeline creator can notch up your memories, milestones and mad magic moments via color-coded, chart-and-bar diagram types, pop-up bubbled infographics. They are the next ‘hip’ tools to hit the market. Say it with information, I say!

www.emphas.is
This is a rescue website for funding, rather than an actual tool to organize an online show. A serious, honest-to-goodness venture, emphas.is allows you to pitch your photojournalism projects and ideas to a bunch of backers, who will then fund you within a time period to go and complete the project. What this means is that you have credible people backing you, without you having to worry about scrimping on gadgets, interview sessions or hiring someone to proofread your work due to budget constraints. In return, you are expected to be accountable and responsible with your idea and money. Give this a shot!

So, remember, virtually curating an exhibition means you have the freedom to explore NEW ways of doing a show. There is no written rule or law which says that art objects and artefacts need to be showcased in a particular manner, within pillared walls and squeaky clean glass cases. An autobiographic museum exhibition of a famous personality, Martin Luther King, for example, would mean lots of photographs, publications and copies of his speech, and other material things which have been done to death before. The virtual world gives you the means to think out the box and get people to respond to what you have curated.

In serious academic language, a virtual exhibition on the SELF, where you become your own subject, would be tantamount to an Ethnography of the Self. You put yourself under the scanner and turn back the two-way mirror towards the public. What is the feedback you get, try this and let me know. Happy Curating!

Nilofar Ansher

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