The introduction of a physical location as a criterion for determining access to digital contents has forged a strong relationship between physical contexts and digital information giving rise to what has been defined as hybrid space. It is, precisely, in the overlapping of digital and physical that the hybrid space is generated – carrying new opportunities to unveil the space around us through curatorial narratives. This paper presents a project that I have conceived and curated consisting of a web platform, called that’s contemporary, and its mobile version, an app for iOS and Android titled That’s App. Representing the city as an ever‑changing assembly of events and exhibitions displayed on a map, these platforms unfold curatorial narratives that users can interact with in digital space and enact in physical space. The aim is to extend the experience of one exhibition at the time to the overall experience of the city. In this sense, the city becomes an evolving and never‑ending exhibition to explore both in digital and physical space (i.e. hybrid space). In this paper, focusing attention on the mobile app, two dimensions are considered: the digital interface of the platform, which provides potential narratives of the city and the usage of these narratives made by users in hybrid space. Indeed, through activities such as walking, seeing, sharing and commenting, users play an active role in their experience of the city as way‑finders and meaning‑makers ultimately becoming co‑producers of their own exhibitionary narratives. This type of exhibition exists and unfolds through the user‑experience of it – becoming an entity in an on‑going state of transformation. It triggers an experience of the city space that is, borrowing Umberto Eco’s term, an ‘open work’ – an unstable field of options that will prompt users towards a series of varying experiences (1989).
By critically self‑reflecting upon my own curatorial practice in constructing That’s App, this paper applies the Actor‑Network Theory (Callon 1991; Latour 1992) to trace the formation of a hybrid exhibitionary space through the creation of locative media experiences. Instead of trying to define ‘what is’ a hybrid exhibitionary space and, consequently, losing specific ways in which it could be generated and appear, I intend to grasp it ‘along the way’ attempting to grip its actor‑network and detect the mechanisms in which it functions. In doing so, I present That’s App mainly by following its hybrid curatorial narratives as enacted by two potential users in Milan, whose I have fortuitously named Ann and Andrea. This method will allow me to share the curatorial process pursued in the development of these hybrid curatorial narratives and, at the same time, providing a possible way in which we might address hybrid exhibitionary spaces.
- Francesca Baglietto, University of Arts London, England
Full text (PDF) p. 106-112