As Eugenie noted in her post, The Moving Garden is installed in our Rubin Pavilion and the artist invites the visitor to take a flower from the installation on the condition that the person takes a detour on the way to their next stop in order to give that flower to a stranger.
One of the great things about working with living artists is the chance to work with them when they bring projects into the building. When I first heard about this piece, I was struck by what could happen between strangers in the exchange, so Eugenie and I asked the artist if he would let us create something that would allow visitors to document their gift giving. He felt that the mystery of giving the gift was central to the piece, but he was also curious about exchanges and thought we could try it as long as we made it clear that the documentation was an optional step in the process, not a requirement to take part.
With that, #mygardengift was born. It’s a simple interactive that we hope extends the life of the project outside our walls. Visitors are invited to document their exchanges by tagging on Flickr, Twitter and Instagr.am. In addition, for the first time, we are using SMS text messaging in an interactive. Visitors can text us about the exchange and we use the Twilio API to map their responses and bring them into the interactive. There’s a page on the website that shows all the responses and we also use an iPad to display the exchanges in the gallery.
This is really the kind of project that we want to be using social media for—working directly with an artist to show a community’s experience around a work. Given the four platforms that we are using, I’m curious to see which ones get used the most and how the information coming to us may differ on each. Mostly, though, I’m excited to see our community participate and to watch the mystery unfold in some of the exchanges and I can’t wait to talk to the artist to see his own response to this part of the project as it grows.
If you come to Lee Mingwei: “The Moving Garden”, take a flower and then use #mygardengift to document your exchange.
Shelley Bernstein is the former Vice Director of Digital Engagement & Technology at the Brooklyn Museum where she spearheaded digital projects with public participation at their center. In the most recent example—ASK Brooklyn Museum—visitors ask questions using their mobile devices and experts answer in real time. She organized three award-winning projects—Click! A Crowd-Curated Exhibition, Split Second: Indian Paintings, GO: a community-curated open studio project—which enabled the public to participate in the exhibition process.
Shelley was named one of the 40 Under 40 in Crain's New York Business and her work on the Museum's digital strategy has been featured in the New York Times.
In 2016, Shelley joined the staff at the Barnes Foundation as the Deputy Director of Digital Initiatives and Chief Experience Officer.