I’ve been thinking about a final paper idea for a while and I think it’s the best I’ve got, so here goes… let me know if you know of any resources I should look into, I’ll be starting my compilation this weekend. I’m not quite sure what I’m trying to say or what the HCI angle is in this exactly, but hopefully it’ll come to fruition.

Topic: Digitization & the loos of the brushstroke


I told a story in class one day about my study abroad experience in China. The students at CAFA would buy bootleg art books outside the school grounds and their work, while exquisite, would reflect the book- the photocopied, yellowed, flat, sloppy rendition of the Renoir, or what have you. They were mimicking perfectly, but the thing they were mimicking was a copy of a copy of a copy of a photograph from a person who was once in France, in front of the painting with a camera.

Digitization in the arts is a huge movement currently. Museums are spending a lot of money to get collections online. While it both preserves the work and expands the reach, there is a lot of information the photograph can miss. In paintings, color, scale, frame, where the curator placed it in a gallery, other onlookers reactions, and, of course, the previously mentioned brush stroke, all come to mind.

There are also issues of protection. If museums offer these resources for free, what is to keep people from repurposing them without permission? Or will the appropriate experience and understanding come across through a web browser. I supposed someone could snap an image in person at a free museum, but this does require a bit more ground work. What could the museums do to attempt to better facilitate the experience? What are they doing? Is there a way to show the brush stroke, brushed used, brush style- make the learning experience more immersive?

I’ll probably dive into:

  • The mission of museums
  • Acknowledging the difficulty of travel
  • Thinking about what the artists would say?
  • Look more at digitization efforts… maybe use one as a case study

Non HCI papers

  • Ways of Seeing – John Berger
  • There are lots of papers done for the Museums and the Web conference

In terms of HCI papers, I’m not really sure… Off the top of my head:

  • Koskinen, “Showroom theory”
  • Bannon, L.J., Benford, S. Bowers, J. & Heath, C. (2005). “Hybrid design creates innovative museum experiences.”

  • Defamiliarization, because why not?
  • Maybe Robertson and Simonson ?
  • Tufte Images and Quantities might be a stretch..
  • I really need to keep digging.

Any thoughts or directions would be super appreciated!