museomix

A robot-carriage and its pilot racing on a 3rd century mosaïc

Museomix is quite a tremendous experience, meaning that by the end of it you are litteraly shaking and exhausted. But with marvel in the eyes and only wanting to resume working with your team on that godamned unfinished prototype.

Museomix is a three day hackaton where participants are given a museum to remix. A pretty and sleeping museum in the hands of a crazy horde of reckless creatures with the explicit mission to turn it upside down.

You know some curators have such nightmares ? But on the contrary some don’t, some just want their museum to be a place of creativity, sharing and new experiences. They want to mix scientific knowledge with new approaches, new way of explaining and inspiring their public. These curators are the ones Museomix is targeting, because they accept to loose a bit of their grip on the museum for these few days. And they are generally thrilled by the outcome.

I attended the first two Museomix. The 2011 Museomix took place in Arts décoratifs, a museum in the Louvre dedicated to all crafting arts like furnitures, jewellery and design. Our great team worked on an experience for kids in the museum. I won’t dwell on this one, but basically we created a quest to wake up (with a magic lamp, obviously) the numerous dragons you encounter in the different pieces of the museum. We worked with RFID, a good sound system, a lot of crafting and Please don’t show, my presentation tool on a tactile surf

In 2012, I pitched and worked with an excellent team on a carriage-robots race set on a 3rd century mosaic. What was interesting in this one is that beyond the game itself, it was a prototype strongly intertwined with the original purpose of the mosaic. The rich patron who paid for the crafting of the mosaic wanted to show off a race he sponsored, picturing himself starting the race and explaining everything that happened during the game.

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The mosaic

It’s a really interesting piece of work as you see both the circus from above (as a map) and the different events of the race : the start on the left, the beginning, the accident, the referee, the attendant spreading water on the arena to avoid dust, … You see both space and time in a single picture.

In our prototype, we tried to explain this double dimension. Two carriage-robots « ran » the race, following the ring. You could « whip » your robot to go faster, but it was dangerous to do that in U-turns, the robot could lost track of the curve. All these interactions explained the spatial logic of the mosaic. To deal with the other dimension of the mosaic events occurred randomly on a big screen above the circus : dust storm, accident, dangerous behavior. All the robots stopped when an event occurred and you had to trigger the right answer on a pad depicting the mosaic. For example, to avoid a dust storm, you had to trigger the attendant with water.

The pad, where you could whip your carriage and solve events
The pad, where you could whip your carriage and solve events

The game was a medium to explain how you should understand the mosaic, the way it mixes space (circus and robots racing) and time (events and pad).

Obviously we didn’t manage to prototype the entire experience in three days. But we made a robot follow the curve of the circus, created the pad and connected it to some events.

Museomix 2013 is scheduled for 8, 9 and 10 november with a new concept : multiple museomix will occur simultaneously in France (were it began) and elsewhere (Uk, Canada, …). If you’re interested, as a participant, a sponsor or a museum, just check the website.

The video made by the team to explain the prototype

The team !!!

I wrote the following presentation about Museomix 2 (it’s in French, but nothing insufferable).

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