The recently opened Adobe Museum of Digital Media — an entirely online institution — has now begun to feature exhibitions that highlight the impact of digital media on culture and design. Soon to open is an exhibit from John Maeda, president of the Rhode Island School of Design, featuring Arts + Bits = the neue Craft (ABC) an exploration of how relationships between the physical and the digital can create art.
During an exhibition preview shown within the virtual museum, Maeda explained that:
Computers let us imagine digitally what we once could only validate by handcraft in physical form [...] the infinite malleability and reusability of bits have forever changed the creative process. But […] digital tools have relied on many of the original tools and media used by artists in the pre-digital world.
Hosted by a leading thinker in the design world, the experience of viewing this kind of exhibit is supposed to make us think further about what it means to place in a work in a museum, virtual or not, and what that positioning will mean as designers begin to craft digital experiences rather than physical ones. We would normally embed a video preview here in this post, but there’s something to be said for having the imposed limitation of having to experience this exhibit within a specific online space — just as though you were actually walking through the delineated space a real building. It’s a bit counterintuitive in a world where links and videos are shared and distributed freely. But perhaps it’s the classification itself of the experience as a museum exhibition that gives the designers a framework for creating new kinds of digital experiences and social meeting grounds.