The authors developed mARChive using the AVIE 360-degree stereoscopic interactive visualization environment. For this project they selected eighty thousand heterogeneous digital records of objects from Museum Victoria collections, out of a total collection of sixteen million. mARChive creates a navigable interactive data landscape for visitors inside the Melbourne museum’s permanent 360-degree, 3-D display system. The intention of the project is to give users an intuitive and creative platform from which to engage with the wealth of cultural materials found at the museum, when only a fraction of these objects can be displayed at a given time.
A visitor can select a single collection from the eighteen themes available and browse the tens of thousands of images associated with that theme. The themes are diverse and include: Childhood & Youth, Indigenous, Cultural Diversity, Horology and Medicine in Society. The image ‘cloud’ for each theme is distributed by time, around the 360-degree screen. Users may select any single image and retrieve it from the data cloud to view at a much larger scale. Each image is then associated with a description and title. All images can be ‘zoomed in’, effectively magnifying the content to give full range to the high resolution of the images. Through metadata (database relationships), each image is also related to many other images and across different themes. This matrix of dynamic relationships becomes visible in response to the user’s actions. The mARChive application is designed as a single-user, multi-spectator interaction paradigm. Visitors use a tablet interface to elicit actions on the screen. The interactive data-scape is amplified by specific sonic reflections created from the museum’s archive and in response to the users’ actions.
Through an infinite set of permutations, visitors can navigate unfolding narratives in the data landscape that are based on their specific, and emerging, interest. The application develops a new visual paradigm for the social and collaborative exploration of big audiovisual datasets within a museum. It is a situated, participatory and collective framework that distinctly contrasts mARChive with cultural datasets found on the Internet.
Australian Research Council Project Investigators: Dennis Del Favero, Neil Brown, Paul Compton, Jeffrey Shaw, Horace Ip, Sarah Kenderdine, Tim Hart, Peter Weibel.
Australian Research Council Project Title: iDATA: Narrative reformulation of museological data: the coherent representation of information by users in interactive systems
Australian Research Council Linkage Project: LP100100466