“I love how the theme comes to life through visitor participation. The basic wooden block becomes your vote, democratizing the entire exhibition.” —juror Ginny Golden
“The simple connection between physical and digital makes this a standout project. The physical square block triggers digital events that encourage visitors to explore, engage and, most importantly, learn.” —juror Jon Jackson
Overview: The TING exhibition was the centerpiece of a campaign to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Norsk Teknisk, the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology. TING explores the impact of specific technologies on the development of democratic societies, posing a very simple question that is very hard to answer: is any given technology good, bad or neutral in the development of democracy? Museum curators worked with designers at Ralph Appelbaum Associates Berlin and Tamschick Media+Space GmbH to make an exhibit that doesn’t simply explain democracy, but instead creates a place where democracy can be enacted. Visitors engage in dialogue with other visitors, debate facts and collectively decide an outcome.
• From concept to completion, the project took eleven months and involved extensive prototyping and user-group testing.
• Since the exhibition’s opening, the museum has received around 200,000 visitors, and 6,000 have participated in discussions in the space.
• In addition to documents and still images, the display features more than 100 high-resolution videos, three-channel sound, and real-time generated 2-D and 3-D graphics.
Comments by Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Inc.:
What are the project's core features? “A ting is an ancient form. It’s a circular space where governing assemblies would put things up for discussion. In this exhibition, the ting has been reinvented in the form of a giant theater where object displays and immersive, interactive media work together to facilitate a participatory experience in which the visitor plays a central role.”
Describe any special interactive features. “All physical and technological components are designed to support social interaction. The grand amphitheater-like space is composed of three main parts: a 25-meter-wide shelf that displays 100 objects from the museum’s permanent collection and simultaneously functions as a 180° projection surface; a ting table, where 15 to 20 people can participate in a dialogue and interact with the projected media; and surrounding benches, where visitors can use tablets to leave written feedback.”
Are there any special navigation features? “A basic wooden cube, analogous to the digital pixel, is used as a haptic tool to trigger digital interactions with eight controversial objects. For each object, five questions are discussed. Visitors use the wooden cube or an interactive tablet to vote on the nature of each object’s impact on the development of democracy. Voting results are translated, in real time, into 2-D and 3-D graphics.”