Case study : Italy

Enable deaf people and other visitors to actively participate in cultural interpretation and storytelling and connect and share interpretations through social media functions. Enable the contributions of deaf people to be digitally accessible to others in the museum and online. Interconnect contributions using story features such as characters and emotions.

 

Ambra, a 16-year old deaf girl, gets to the ticket booth of the Gallery of Modern Art in Turin. When the clerk realises that Ambra is deaf, she switches to the Italian Sign Language and tells Ambra to download the museum app on her mobile phone.

Equipped with the app, Ambra starts her visit: at the beginning, she wanders through the rooms to familiarise with the artworks, reading in the app the explanations about the paintings and objects she meets: she is happy with the support she is receiving because the explanations are concise and effective, and she can navigate through the collection from the app in a way that is suitable for her: when she is in front of an artwork, the artwork is automatically detected [Rfid, QR code? etc.], and the app shows her the artwork descriptions and the stories created by the other visitors about the artwork.

Standing in front of a painting that displays a landscape with a forest, an image catches her eyes in the stories: it is the image of a twisted, but beautiful bronze tree that one of another visitor, Ahmed, has put in his story together with the painting she is standing in front of. She selects the image of the tree and finds that it is displayed in the museum. By clicking on the ‘guide me’ link, she is brought to an augmented reality environment which guides her to the bronze tree through arrows in the virtual environment.

Walking around the tree, Ambra finds it very interesting, rich in small details that other visitors seem to have ignored: a lump resembling a small insect on a low branch, a dead leaf on another, an anthropomorphic shape in the trunk… after she has remained in the location for a while, the app prompts her to create a story. She accepts the invitation, and the app asks her to select a character to start: she does so by browsing a gallery of characters other visitors have captured from the artworks before: people, small animals, funny clouds and other characters unfold before her in the app; Ambra likes the portrait of a small girl who looks like a fairy and connects it to the tree, then continues to create her own story by adding details: what the fairy does (from a gallery of actions represented as icons), another artwork representing a bridge in the countryside, etc.

As she adds the painting of the bridge to her story, she realises that it reminds her of a bridge near to her house that she likes very much, so she looks for it in the photo gallery on her mobile phone and links it to the painting by commenting it with some nice emojis.

When she finishes her story, the app asks her to describe the mood of the story, showing her a colorful dial with the emotions: “optimism” has been preselected by the system for her story, but she prefers to change it with “awe” and “serenity”. Finally, the app asks her to describe herself, her likes and dislikes, age, and few other details – she may also connect to her Instagram profile if she wished so. Once her profile has been created, she can connect to other users, and enter into their circles: she can search for users by name, by tags, by likes and dislikes… Not more than one hour later, her app notifies that other users has liked her story, and one the user asks her to reuse her story. It is the museum itself, which is preparing materials for the a secondary school students who will visit the museum next week.

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