chrome extension intervention for risdmuseum.org
In our minds, dominant cultural institutions at present:
- Are not universally valuable (and should not receive funding as if they are)
- Are not a necessary part of a life in the arts
- Should respond to a wider public
- Should hear what this public has to say
What truths, problems, and possibilities might be overlooked by regular museum goers, curators, and critics?
Look at Art. Get Paid is a socially engaged artwork that pays people who don’t go to art museums to visit one as a critic of the art and institution. In November 2016, as part of the pilot program, 41 non-museum goers entered the RISD Museum for the first time to serve as guest critics. They were given the following instructions: “Have you ever started a new job and found that you could see problems (maybe even solutions) that people who had been there longer (maybe even your boss) seemed blind to? We want to know what the RISD Museum looks and feels like to someone who isn’t already familiar with it. We’re paying you to be a guest critic. We want your take on the museum. All your opinions are valid. We want to know about your experience. We know it’s hard to be honest, especially if your honest experience doesn’t match those around you. This is part of why this is a paid program. Please tell us what you really think, not what you might think we want to hear.
Working closely with McCants and the Look at Art. Get Paid. team, designer Lukas Eigler-Harding built a chrome extension that allows users to experience the RISD Museums site annotated with knowledge produced by Look at Art. Get Paid. critics. Inscribed in a red reminiscent of an editor’s pen, the imported quotes, drawings and notes counter the singular institutional voice, offering a new window into critic’s rich and varied accounts of what the museum looks and feels like as a newcomer.