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Whistle while you work

This blog post began like many of our new media projects at the IMA. I was meeting with my colleagues in the Nugget Factory, kicking around ideas for this blog post. Actually, we were also literally kicking a soccer ball around. We keep one in our area for creative brainstorming and because I love Soccer (did someone say 2010 World Cup – England vs. USA, what?).  All of a sudden, Dan Dark kicked the ball and hit my coffee mug, which of course exploded all over my sweater. True story. And a blog post was born. Spontaneity.

Senior New Media Producer

Dan Dark, Senior New Media Producer

It’s the first time I’ve been doused by coffee in a creative meeting, but I’ve also been pranked countless times by my colleagues.

1) Phone in the ceiling, ringing incessantly. 2) My door closed and unable open because of a clever door stop. 3) 100’s of water glasses covering my desk. 4) The wheels from my desk chair missing and hidden. 5) Lowering my desk. 6) Co-workers writing down everything I say. 7) And at least ten more. I’ve never snapped.

I’m not trying to tarnish the good reputation of the IMA or new media. And I’m certainly not trying to give the impression that we never work.  We do work, a lot. In fact, it sometimes difficult to find the division between work and our personal lives.  But that’s because we make work a fun and open environment for ideas and expression. That attitude shows in what we produce, and ultimately, we hope our visitors experience the same feelings. It  reminds me of the Jack Torrance quote – “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

Our approach to content creation is fueled by a creative environment from within our department and our collaborations with our museum-wide colleagues. We are fortunate to work with every IMA department, producing a variety of digital projects that support their voice. And we are lucky to have the freedom and support to simply be ourselves. Talk about lucky. (and did we really get to produce this video?)

I talk a lot about creating technology with a personality. This can only happen if there is a real personality behind the idea, the development, the implementation of our projects. In many ways, I’m often surprised that we are given the freedom to express ourselves creatively, which often involves a certain amount of humor or cheekiness. It shows tremendous trust by a large organization and I try to never take this leap of faith for granted. Fortunately, the projects usually turn out well.

And really, the reason our projects tend to do well, is because of the content, the voice of the experience – the personality of content.  I look back on all the time, weekend work and late hours, it takes to create some of our work – videos, ArtBabble, this blog, exhibition sites, TAP and so on – and the quality or success always comes down to the people involved. It’s the people we get to work with on a day to day basis (think about all that are represented in this blog), artists (think videos), exhibition teams (think curators, registrars, educators) and so many more talented colleagues in other institutions that provide a unique, honest point of view. This is translated directly into engaging, thought-provoking visitor experiences. Our role in this is to think of creative ways of presenting the stories – hence the soccer ball, coffee on my sweater and moments of spontaneity.

So, I thought I would start 2010, by sharing some of my favorite examples of projects we’ve produced featuring a variety of internal and external personalities. They are the stars.

One of my favorite blog posts is by Richard McCoy, when he challenged our readers to write wikipedia articles. The result? The participants enjoyed lunch with Maxwell Anderson.  It’s a great example of someone speaking from their own area of expertise, point of view and voice, creatively.

Still a favorite video of mine – Moving East Gate/West Gate by Helicopter. A massive project and we just showed up with cameras and watched colleagues from security, public affairs, exhibitions, photography, registration, conservation do all the work. It came off beautifully and is one of our most viewed videos on ArtBabble.

– Woody Woodpecker.  Sort of. A bird cam out in 100 Acres? You bet. We’ve been working with our grounds and horticulture team for over a year on this one. But I guess the real stars are the hungry critters.

And one of the best examples, would be our Director’s Journal video series featuring Maxwell Anderson and interviews with staff from a variety of departments. It brings the world of a museum straight to your video player.  Check out one of my faves below.

So, just a few projects – I could keep going and going and going (ArtBabble is up to 21 partners now!).  But it’s a good indication of what’s around the corner in 2010 and a hint at the types of projects we’ll be producing. You’ve already read about a new IMA website launching in the near future and we have some amazing things planned for 100 Acres.  We’re also developing a brand, spanking new idea called IMA TV. More to follow on that.

In the meantime, keep a close eye on your coffee and feel free to share some of your favorite IMA blog posts, videos and how you get inspired at the office. Or wanna share some good pranks?

Filed under: New Media

6 Responses to “Whistle while you work”

  • avatar
    Lindsey Says:

    I found the descriptions of the pranks committed to be far too brief. :)

  • avatar
    Dan Says:

    I am a regular Landon Donovan.

  • avatar

    I agree with Lindsey. I’d like a full, detailed description of the ‘phone in the ceiling’ prank. This reminds me of an episode of The Office, but I don’t remeber any holes in the drywall in New Media. Also, the webisode of ‘I Love the A.D.’s’?? Hilarious! I am happy to see such a well-respected and renowned institution like the I.M.A. able to bridge the disconnect between cultural cliques and inform otherwise unreachable demographics with videos like this. That video is a great example of what I hope to see on IMAtv. Keep up the great work!!

  • avatar

    we have desk chairs at home that are made out of pinewood, pine seems to be a good wood for desk chairs’,,

  • avatar

    i like to use wooden desk chairs in comparison with those plastic ones’~”

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