The Effects of Curatorial Arrangements
Museum Management and Curatorship, 29/2, 1–34, 2014
The prominence of the term ‘curating’ in the last decade stands at odds with the small amount of empirical research that has been conducted concerning the effects of curatorial work. Within the framework of the Swiss national research project eMotion – mapping museum experience, we have investigated how curatorial and spatial reconfigurations impact upon visitor attention. Methods, such as visitor tracking, physiological measurements, empirical social science, as well as the experimental setup of the exhibition space itself, have been developed for a fine arts museum to analyze curatorial effects on museum visitors. The visitors’ complex behavioral and physiological data was translated into cartographies. As a comparative analytical tool, the cartographies indicate differing spatial behaviors and visitor experiences in relation to various experimental re-hangings of artworks conducted throughout the course of the project. Our findings offer a series of unexpected insights for the fields of curatorial studies, museum management, visitor studies, and art reception.