Alternative Guides, Iapsis Residency: An investigation into different ways of navigating a museum collection. In collaboration with design studio Medium, we spent a month in Stockholm's Nordiska Museum exploring and researching the museum's permanent collection and the People's Archive project.
Out of this came a series of alternative guides which we presented to the museum as a speculative proposal. A new set of guides would sit alongside their regular guide to the museum, offering visitors new ways to view the collection.
The alternative guides were devised around ideas connected with people, colour and narrative. The people's guide was created by following (or, if you like, stalking!) people of different ages and groups of different sizes around the museum. Visits were observed, recorded and turned into a script to be offered back to new visitors. So, in theory, a visitor in his thirties may find himself reenacting the visit of a child, or two teenagers might view the collection as if they were a couple in their fifties.
The colour guide to the collection mapped all the artefacts that were either yellow or blue - the colours of the Swedish flag. This relatively simple device, driven by the inclusion and exclusion of certain objects during one's visit, resulted in two revealing new ways to view the collection. Yellow, for example, is more frequently found in objects made from plastic, rather than wood or metal. So on the yellow route, more time was spent looking at modern objects from popular culture, e.g Tupperware, rather than antique silverware or furniture from past royal residences.
The narrative guide fused fairy tale with artefact: popular Swedish author Elsa Beskow (the lady on the Swedish 20 korona bank note) was combined with artefacts from Swedish history and culture. Beskow's children's story 'Peter's Adventures in Blueberry Land' was stripped of its nouns before new objects from the collection were inserted in their place, creating a new story and guide to the collection.