The Use Case

“Do you see the screen? We are in the conference room where our customers are waiting. We have an interactive screen at our entrance, and this is the welcome screen: please pick up a dev-kit to learn more. So we can pick up a developer kit and I will have an information about that particular object.” (scripted phone call excerpt)

The Use Case consists of sculptural objects and a narrative that exists both in video format and as a live performance. The work is the outcome of observing a piece of software that is frequently used in museums. It’s a beacon, released by an American start-up in technology. The product is innovative because it allows screens to interact with people and their behaviour in the vicinity of the screen. Essentially a marketing tool, it serves a clear purpose in shops: as a visitor picks up a shoe, the screen will display custom information about that particular shoe. Or in an airport, the screen can show you only your flight, when you stand in front of it. According to the brand, the product can change exhibitions forever.

Part of this work is a diagrammatic exhibition scenography with a screen, a mirror beacon and four proximity beacons in the corners of the available space. This came about after seeing a promotion video for the product, in which someone is circulating in a space, mounting beacons in every corner. The point of doing this is to get an app to say that it successfully mapped the space you are in, and that it is now possible to tell you your exact location in the room. So if I did that right here, right now, I would be able to look at my phone and see that you were sitting next to this or that person. And of course you could say that I can already see that, which I think is exactly the problem of integrating software into museums: a museum app gives you information that you already have.