HAM Object Map

Designed as the default program for the Lightbox Gallery, the Object Map allows visitors to interact with all 1803 objects that are on display on the Harvard Art Museum’s lower floors not as individual objects but as a network of connections.
Picture of HAM Object Map

Designed to serve as a capstone experience for visitors to the Harvard Art Museum, the Object Map greets the visitor with a mosaic of thumbnail images of the 1803 objects, each scaled to occupy the same area irrespective of its actual physical size, that are on display on the Harvard Art Museum’s galleries below. Navigating them with an air mouse, she can settle upon and click on any one of these works, perhaps on the basis of a faint memory or curiosity, triggering an overlay which exposes the works as data objects made up of metadata fields–25 data fields are featured in the overlay covering everything from authorship, provenance, and date of acquisition to how many clicks the item has received on the museum’s online database or how many times it has been exhibited. A stack of surrogates hovers at the center of the visual field: everything from x-ray images to archival photographs to published images to the results of an automated color analysis carried out via clustering algorithms. If the visitor moves the pointer to any of the highlighted metadata fields and clicks, the mosaic of thumbnails is reshuffled. Instead of seeing the tesserae organized as a function of the collection to which they belong (which is the initial default mode of display), they now appear in a sequence in which, from the standpoint of the metadata field that has just been clicked on, the closest items to the target work move to the front (upper left-hand corner) and the most remote move to the tail end (lower right hand corner).


HAM Object Map Demo

HAM Object Map from metaLAB (at) Harvard & FU Berlin on Vimeo.

HAM Object Map in Lightbox Gallery

HAM Object Map in Lightbox Gallery from metaLAB (at) Harvard & FU Berlin on Vimeo.