Emotion: Mapping Museum Experience

eMotion, a project at the Institute for Research in Art and Design, University of Applied Science Northwestern Switzerland researches the museum-going experience experimentally. 

eMotion analyses the experience of the museum-goer experimentally. The core of our interest is the museum architecture, the art objects, curatorial installation and how they effect and affect the behaviour of the visitors.

Gaining access to this complex realm of visitor reception in the museum required both innovative developments in research methods and technical apparatus. Architectural, visual and audio processes of data collection / presentation have been developed in parallel with field research methods in psychology and sociology, in a wholly complimentary fashion. Methods of visitor tracking, biometric measurements, empirical social science, data-sonification as well as the experiment itself as an intervention and installation.

Visitors who wanted to take part in the project, did receive a dataglove at the exhibition entrance that included several signalling and measurement sensors. The dataglove, allowed for the precise measurement of the path of each individual through the museum, their speed, their time spent in front of a picture/object. We also measured the heart rate and the skin conductance and their variablities. The immense amount of quantitative data generated was then validated by qualitative questionnaires, enabling the team to interpret the complex material adequately and thoroughly.

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