A Guest Blog by Satoko Shimizu @0bo5_fr who is a Student of Tokyo University of Foreign Languages (TUFS) French major.
When we hear “social media and museum” we tend to think about interesting action from the museum side for a more open-wide visitor. But social media can be tools that visitors use to express their opinions to the museum.
In Paris there is an interesting movement as a good example.
It was in the middle of 2010, Musee d’Orsay started to forbid photography or film inside the museum even without flash. Immediately some usual visitors protest to its initiation, but seem that museum personnel didn’t change their attitude. It is how “Orsay Commons” group was formed to fight against.
Orsay Commons’s first action was to start meeting together and go to the museum, take pictures disregard all signs saying “no picture”. They then stayed in touch and share their ideas and next plan on Facebook page. There are more than 240 members on Facebook group, we can find most of them on Twitter too.
Their actions archives
Members have various backgrounds like art lovers, designers, worker in cultural sector etc. But we can see from their Facebook wall that they are all have become attentive watcher about museum’s behavior regarding taking pictures.
This summer “Monumenta”, an annually exhibition in Grand Palais invited Orsay Common group for a open photography session and discussion about photography in museum. It means that their action is recognized by museum sector side, and could be a chance to change Orsay’s though .
The conversation was live-tweeted, photos on Flickr
Live-Tweets (click the button in the bottom to read all)
With social media, create buzz and action is now possible than ever. It means that visitors can participate to build a better museum place which can be pleasant for everyone.
One of the members of this action also run on website “Louvre pour tous” that aim to watch and think over that cultural space are managed well for a large public.
For example he also protests about rising entrance price of Chateau de Versaille. Louvre pour tous
＊more on Art info – “Shutterbugs Invade Musée d’Orsay to Protest No-Photo Policy — By Taking Photographs”
I thought this act was interesting because it was people not especially professional in art, that protest against the museum management and fighting to ameliorate it. Orsay Commons is a great successful example of social media been a tools to raise an action on the cultural field, and keep members very concerned about the theme. I realized how passive I was to a museum space, it was always for me a place to “get” something not to “ask” something. Mostly, museum personnel and us visitors both are not making enough effort to communicate mutually. Especially in Japan that museum are more closed in itself. Seeing Orsay Commons cheer me to watch more attentively museum run and feel like participate more on its innovation.
In my surrounding, we talk and share lots of opinions about art, museum or a exhibition. Thanks to social media developed, we can also meet more people with same interests, share a lot of ideas and thoughts about, but most of the time it end just as a talking level. For a next step I want to be able to convert discussions in a form of action that can be one jump to build a more interesting cultural environment.