Mutating Messages and Viral Videos

A growler station in a hipster grocery store in Portland. Photo by author.

A growler station in a hipster grocery store in Portland. Photo by author.

I had a hankering for craft beer and hipster watching so I ventured down to Portland to indulge. While I was there I checked out the Portland Art Museum where one of my favourite museum bloggers works – Mike Murawski of Art Museum Teaching.  I had read about their video interpretation called Object Stories. Mike wrote a great post about it where he explains the danger of a single voice representing an entire culture and how Object Stories helps to introduce multiple voices into the museum where traditionally it has been dominated by one.

Peer-Led Learning

Object Stories integrated into the Portland Art Museum's galleries. Photo by author.

Object Stories integrated into the Portland Art Museum’s galleries. Photo by author.

For me, I enjoyed the Object Stories because instead of getting information presented like a dry textbook which can often be the case when you try to cram as much information into as little space as possible on object labels, I got to learn from a peer who explained the objects in a way a friend would describe something to me. Like most projects it did not start out perfectly, the early Object Stories are individuals talking about their own favourite objects and it often lacks a collection connection or anything more meaningful than a show and tell.

Recently, the Object Stories have become more directed. PAM partnered with the Native American Youth Association where young people picked an object in the collection, researched it, and then recorded their narrative about that object. These stories are integrated into the galleries. Under Mike’s guidance Object Stories has evolved into powerful interpretation tool for PAM’s collection.

Viral Videos

I’m taking a class on digital content and storytelling and decided to do some of my own digital storytelling in video format. I thought I’d have a bit of fun and spoof the recent First Kiss video which by now has gone through the full viral cycle – shared positively and extensively, critiqued, found to be a fake (actually an advertisement), and finally parodied.

Here’s the original First Kiss video.

There have been a lot of re-makes of this video already like Jimmy Fallon’s First Lick featuring puppies and cats kissing for the first time (so unbelievably cute!), and Hye Yun Park’s First Kiss NYC which shows average New Yorkers kissing strangers and all the awkwardness that ensues.

I decided to jump on the bandwagon and, like a lot of great art, copy something to send my message. My First Kiss video was created to advertise museums.

So if you are trying to target young people, possibly creative people, like many museums are, why not use this desire to replicate the things in their world with their own version (I have to admit I had a lot of fun making my video). Have teens create their own versions of viral videos using museum content. Then, like PAM did, use them as a way to interpret the collection for each other. A way to integrate more than one voice and lens into the museum (haha I made a punny!).

Rubbish idea or stroke of genius? Tell me what you think in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Mutating Messages and Viral Videos

  1. Mike Murawski says:

    Mairin – thanks for coming down to Portland and visiting the Art Museum. It was great to finally meet you in person, and I appreciate your kind words about Object Stories. This has been a quite flexible platform that has transformed over the past 3 years, and I am proud of the project and where it is headed. Cheers! -Mike


  2. Mairin says:

    It was so nice to meet you in person at PAM. I really loved the Object Stories (as you can tell) and can’t wait to see how it continues to evolve. Thanks for the inspiration!


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