The Tech Museum of Innovation (The Tech), one of the nation's premiere science and technology museums, announced the first four winners of its virtual exhibit design competition in The Tech in Second Life®, also known as The Tech Virtual. The winning virtual exhibits have been selected to be built and physically installed in the "real world" Tech Museum, and will be unveiled in conjunction with the 01SJ Global Festival of Arts on the Edge in June. The new exhibits will be the first in a new Gallery at The Tech focused on the theme of the science and technology underpinnings of art, film and music.
The first four winning exhibits to be incorporated into the physical museum include:
- Artist-in-Residence: The Painter — An interactive view of the evolution of a painting over time
- Musical Chairs — A musical carousel where each seat represents different instruments in an orchestra
- Wikisonic — A three dimensional music box where viewers set the "pins" corresponding to the placement of notes on a staff; and
- Connecting Point: Hole in (Virtual) Space — A real life/Second Life portal through which visitors on both sides can collaborate in a variety of games
Artist-in-Residence was created by Marie Crandell, a systems accountant from Plymouth, England. Musical Chairs was created by Leanne Garvie, a philosophy graduate student and artist from Toronto, Canada. Wikisonic is the brainchild of Jon Brouchoud, an architect and designer from Madison, Wisconsin. Connecting Point is the product of Alan Hook, an artist, inventor and graduate student; and Pete Wardle, a lecturer from the Salford University, both from Manchester, U.K.
"I have enjoyed building my exhibit immensely," said Marie Crandell, designer of The Painter. "The Tech Virtual in Second Life is such a fun and vibrant place to work, and although there are significant prizes, there exists a spirit of camaraderie and collaboration that extends even beyond the helpfulness you generally find in Second Life. This competition is enabling The Tech to lead the way into the next generation of museum exhibit design. It has taken me out of my 'real world' and allowed me to be something I never would have imagined - an exhibit designer!"
In December 2007, The Tech announced The Tech Virtual, an exhibition design competition focused initially on the theme of "Art, Film and Music". The Tech Virtual encompasses a replica of The Tech's San Jose facility in Second Life, including a creative common area where people can work together on exhibit concepts (called Parkside Hall); and a collaboration Web site called The Tech Virtual Museum Exhibit Workshop (www.thetechvirtual.org), designed to facilitate projects and community connections. Through this program, The Tech is calling for the development of new, virtual exhibits and educational programming. In January of this year, The Tech announced that up to fourteen cash prizes will be awarded for the top exhibit designs.
"We are conducting a grand experiment in open-sourcing the museum content development process and these virtual exhibits exemplify the collaborative spirit we are striving for in this competition and with this initiative," said Peter Friess, president of The Tech. "I look forward to seeing more exhibits come to life in Second Life and make their way into "First Life" as curators, artists and exhibit builders from around the world sign on to this exciting project."
The Tech's use of Second Life's platform to build, test and launch new exhibition content serves as a model and a hands-on opportunity for other museums interested in experimenting with new methods for creating content. The Tech's experience with Second Life is shared and open to everyone. To join The Tech Virtual community or to find out more about this initiative, please visit www.thetechvirtual.org/.
Currently, The Tech Virtual has 30 exhibits in its Parkside Exhibit Workshop in Second Life. There are 154 members on thetechvirtual.org Web site and membership has been doubling every six weeks. The Web site has welcomed visitors from more than 81 countries. Within Second Life, The Tech receives 425 visits per week, of which 68 percent are returning visitors, making it a top destination in the SciLands virtual continent.
The Tech Virtual, which can be found at The Tech island in Second Life (slurl: http://tinyurl.com/3x7bf7), is accepting exhibits on an ongoing basis. The Tech is awarding up to 14 cash prizes for exhibits selected to be developed in the physical museum, and on March 31, a world-class panel of judges will review all the exhibits in The Tech's virtual workshop and award additional prizes. Winners will be honored at the 01SJ Global Festival in June 2008.
Tours, general meetings, Q&A sessions, "Learn to Build" and "Learn to Script" sessions are offered by The Tech in Second Life regularly. The complete schedule of events can be found on the collaboration Web site at www.thetechvirtual.org.
The Tech has also initiated an identical competition within Teen Second Life, in conjunction with the Global Kids' Digital Media Initiative, offering cash prizes for collaboration and participation. Winning Teen Second Life exhibits will also be invited to exhibit in the physical museum in June. There are currently 12 Teen Second Life projects and 27 teen participants.
The Tech's virtual exhibition creation initiative in Second Life is funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
About The Tech Museum of Innovation
The Tech Museum of Innovation is a hands-on technology and science museum for people of all ages and backgrounds. Located in San Jose, California - the Capital of Silicon Valley - its mission, as a public-benefit corporation, is to inspire the innovator in everyone. Through hands-on exhibits, educational programs, the annual Tech Challenge team competition for youth, and the internationally recognized Tech Museum Awards, presented by Applied Materials, Inc., The Tech Museum of Innovation honors the past, celebrates the present, and encourages the development of innovative ideas for a more promising future. For more information about The Tech Museum of Innovation, visit www.thetech.org.
The Tech Museum of Innovation