Thursday, 3 March 2011

Extending the exhibition beyond the physical space

To raise awareness about QR Codes at UCS the Elevate Team has been working with the Art & Design division and their exhibition co-ordinator. The department were very keen to use QR Codes once they were shown what they can do and how easily they can be created.

Two days after our initial meeting the exhibition "Class of ..." was being displayed at the new Gallery in the Waterfront building, as a quick proof of concept approach was taken to allow us to get in to a position to allow gallery visitors to see how the codes could be used.

A blog was setup which hosted the artists' contact details and the complete catalogue. QR Codes were created using which allowed realtime statistics of number of access, so we were able to track the number of scans made of the codes.

Google Analytics was integrated into the blog giving more in-depth statistical analysis if required.

A poster was also created to be positioned at the entrance to the gallery, explaining what QR Codes are and how you scan them (as shown below)

Due to the short notice of the project it was decided that the codes would only be printed in the catalogue, as well as the codes mentioned above, further codes were created for direct links to the Schools webpages on the UCS website, the gallery's exhibitions list and a link to the Ipswich and Colchester Museums and Galleries website.  Using Elevate's own QR Code generator we were able to track hits to our own webpages thanks to the "query string" that gets generated.

Andy and Aaron attended the private viewing of the exhibition and were on hand to talk about the use of the codes and demonstrate their use.  The idea was very warmly received and gave a number of the artists present some ideas on using them in their work.

Having the codes trackable has been a huge step forward in their use, previously you had no idea whether any of the codes were being scanned, now we are able to get statistics showing their use.

We were very pleased to see that codes in the catalogue were continuing to be scanned after the private viewing, this has given belief that we can take their use forward with the next exhibition, especially as that exhibition is being hosted across a couple of sites.

We will look to use codes to link the physical space with the online world at the next exhibition, closing the gap between the two.  Again using blogs to host the materials has the advantage to allow all visitors to the exhibition to leave comments on each piece of work in realtime.  Standing looking at a painting on the wall you will be able to scan the code next to the painting, read about the artist, the inspiration behind the painting, and then leave your own thoughts and ideas.  As this can happen in realtime, the next visitor will immediately be able to read your thoughts also.

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