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AGO’s Best & Worst April 20, 2010

Posted by Magdalena Malik in : Check it out, Exer5 (makeup): Experiencing AGO, Exercises , add a comment

The Toronto AGO gallery attracts many people around the globe every day. The subject matter distributed within its walls carries history and foretells wisdom by the work of unique artists. More than 79,000 creations of artwork are kept and viewed by various collections. These collections range from pieces of European Art to Contemporary, Canadian, British, American, and French work. This list is endless and grows quite rapidly. There is a grand diversity in which people are naturally drawn to. No wonder AGO is so popular!

I have had the pleasure to visit the AGO gallery many times throughout my first year at OCAD. I have studied its paintings, photos, sculptures, styles and various mediums used throughout the artist’s collections. In doing so, I have learned plenty of information and come to establish my opinions as to what I like and dislike about the AGO gallery.

In my point of view, the best aspects of AGO must include the following: magnificent architecture, spacious rooms, classy décor, and of course the artwork itself. The architecture is very intriguing and creative such as one of the staircases located in the center of the gallery. The staircase spins towards the top as a cyclone. Very cool! Majority of the rooms that hold artwork are very grand in scale and create a very airy atmosphere. The gallery itself is very taken care of and clean. Visitors appreciate cleanliness. I admire the fact that multiculturalism is respected. The art stored in this gallery is made from many aspiring and talented artists all around the world! I adore looking at it. The social and cultural diversity amongst visitors is also perceived.

In the contrary, an issue I do have is that many artworks do not exemplify an explanation as to what a certain object, painting or picture are presenting. The deep meaning or message is probably the viewer’s obligation to figure out or think about using personal knowledge. But honestly speaking, some artworks are really tough to figure out. An example would be a metal spoon and chair I viewed at the AGO a couple days ago at the structure department. I really had no clue as to what the display meant. A handy solution would be to place a small description as to what the artist was trying to convey in their art piece. With such statement the viewer can think about what they themselves thought, the artist’s message and the public’s opinion.

Also, I agree with Christina Dery, the gift shop is way too expensive!

The AGO gallery holds many memories and future experiences that are very important to me. It’s a place of history, education, tradition, confession, story-telling, survival and most important, adventure!

Written by Mag M.

We’ve been Activated April 8, 2010

Posted by Shaili Chibba in : Exer4: Best and Worst of ACTIVATE!, Exercises , add a comment


The best Activate! project for me is “What the Fact” that was located immediately beside us in a circus tent. The presentation was intriguing, and prompted a visceral response of excitement and nostalgia. It not only triggered memories of childhood and carnivals, but I want to see what the class had done to transform the classic experience. Walking in I was surprised to see a large totem like figure with a “Push Me” button on it. So far the experience was mimicking a circus fortune teller, but this was soon enhanced by the output of a fact rather than a random fortune as a result of pushing the button. Behaviourally, the piece was evidently analog and controlled by a person hidden behind it, but surprisingly executed in a professional manner. The person was never visible, and the output of the fact was smooth. The class’s choice in using facts was very smart, as reflectively I have been looking back on it quite a bit and appreciate the little fact that “horses can’t vomit.” It was not only something I had no idea about, but fun, light, and interesting. The execution was simple, captivating, and straight-forward with a tinge of the wow effect.

The worst project for me would have been Designers Against Art. Their advertising was effective in tricking people to believe that it was actually real, however their execution was poor. It was loud, annoying, and ineffective. That approach may have gathered attention at the beginning, but soon the chanting merely fell to a dull background roar. A better method to undertake their message would have been to be as clever, subtle, and underhanded as their advertising. The loud, and repetitive only gets so far before it’s blocked out, but something that almost subliminally tricks the individual into supporting the concept, believing that this is the right message and how could anything else be better, is not only strong, but good propaganda. I believe that they should’ve never revealed themselves as a part of Activate! and thus delivered a so much more authentic experience. One which wasn’t eradicated once people knew that it was simply a project, and so could be ignored.

ACTIVATE!: good experience April 7, 2010

Posted by Kyung Eun Park in : Exer4: Best and Worst of ACTIVATE! , add a comment

Critically review the Best Overall and Worst Overall project from the whole ACTIVATE! event.

The project that caught my attention out of all the projects was the fact machine, the one that located beside our Chaordic Collaboratorium. It was an interesting piece because the outside appears to be a circus tent, but the inside was something not related to the circus. On the visceral level, the exterior, the circus tent, excites the user’s curiosity and it attracts people. Once I go inside, the steps that I should follow was quite clear. The machine wasn’t perfect because it was handmade; however, there was tension while I was pushing the push bottom because I didn’t know what was going to happen next. I was quite surprised when a little envelop was coming out from a slit – it was cute.  Giving out random facts were fun and their project made me come back and try more and I actually brought my friends to try it. There was no long line-up because one person can enjoy the project in a short space of time so it was quite straightforward and simple. Plus, the hosts were very active and friendly.

The balloon popping one wasn’t really attracting project for me because I am afraid of the sound when the balloon bursts. However, I tried it because on the visceral level, it was well made like a garden. After I popped the balloon, the piece of note appeared –it seemed like a fortune cookie. I was quite disappointed because the phrase that was written on the paper was pointless, unnecessary and not interesting. Opposite to well designed project, the writing seemed to be written in a hurry. It would’ve been better if they printed out the phrases.

The worst projects were the ones that were in the room. First of all, many people didn’t know there were more projects in the other side of the room. It would’ve been better if they advertised it more to attract people from the great hall. From what I remember, there were two projects in the room; one was the TV one showing some images, and the other one had two plain surfaces projecting some moving images. I don’t have any good impression of neither project because first, the messages weren’t clear and there were no people that I could ask about the project.  I wanted to get out of the dark room because the atmosphere made me feel isolated and lonely.

Overall, I enjoyed all the activate projects… However, I couldn’t remember any of projects’ titles maybe because I wasn’t careful enough to give attention to them or maybe just they were not just standing out like ours!!

By our powers combined…. ACTIVATE! April 7, 2010

Posted by Calvin in : Exer4: Best and Worst of ACTIVATE!, Proj3: ACTIVATE! , add a comment

I had the pleasure to sample most of the projects in the great hall. Unfortunately I totally forgot there were more in the lecture hall. This review will focus on my overall impression of what worked and what didn’t and use certain projects to illustrate in more details.

What worked:
> Good attraction: Projects that are raucous (the Protest?), had line up (Elbow’s Deep), had good hosts (WTF), and/or visually intriguing (balloon popping), got my attention right away.
> Continued engagement with a human: Elbow’s Deep (the one where you put your hand into a box while blindfolded) has a host talking to you throughout most of the experience. Human interaction often is quite memorable. This is not to say installation type that is purposely isolated (ex. Emotion Box) are failing. It’s more like if there is a host is she/he attending to you instead of looking around and “abandoning” you.
> Interesting concepts: can be mentally interesting – a random fact (WTF) – or viscerally – popping a balloon.
> Good extension: A take away to show your friends works also as attraction (paper slip from WTF). A record of your engagement also helps keeping the experience in the memory. For example, it just so happened I cut myself the next day and I used the Band-Aid from Elbow’s Deep, who knew!

What didn’t work:
> Bad host (unmemorable attraction and engagement): Some project like the cross-word one had very lazy hosts. I stood there for a while looking for someone to explain what to do and no one was there. I ended up walking away without trying. The balloon one is interesting enough that I asked around myself for instruction, but then the host just talked and left – I felt slightly “abandoned” and the human interaction was incomplete.
> No Attraction: several projects seemed to be content of not advertising itself in anyway (for ex. The Diary and the cross-word one; I tried neither).
> lubed condoms: my hand smelled nasty after touching them! (Elbow’s Deep) (Technically this worked great for a memorable experience)

What can be improved:
> Short experience that are relatively linear: most of the experiences did not require long attention span and are very straightforward. You pop a balloon, or you press a button and receive an envelope, and you are done.
> Entry and Exit experience is mostly sidelined: If there is some sort of narrative so there is a more thought out beginning, middle, and end of an experience (entry, engagement, and exit), and if they are linked together coherently, the experience will be stronger. It’s possible with the short time frame we had most teams only have enough time to think of the engagement.

It’s interesting that a lot of the ideas in the great hall came up in some form during our class’ brainstorming and prototypes! (knowledge booth, fear box, emotion box, maze)

My 2 cents.

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