The Curiosity Engine

Director of Interaction Design
McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton, Canada

The Curiosity Engine is an AR based ­concept connecting the physical art pieces in the exhibition space to a online based database of contextual knowledge about the artist and the work. 

The Curiosity Engine treats the artwork like a Google search engine where related content is woven into a tapestry of media assets. The associative material aggregated by the Curiosity Engine is accessed through 5 lens categories.

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The lens model is designed to create a relational system for uncovering associative rich media content spawned by the artwork. In this way the system feeds a dialogue and inspires curiosity as the visitor decodes the layers of interpretative meaning gained by viewing the artwork from multiple perspectives.

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The Curiosity Engine works in two modes: the 'avatar' mode and the 'fabric' mode. The fabric visualizes and maps all the associative material related to a given artwork whereas the avatar inspires you and feeds into your curiosity. The avatar lives in the fabric as a part of the interface making you aware of related associations.

The fabric mode

The fabric works on both a macro and a micro level. The macro level creates a visual pattern reflecting the major influences and movements in contemporary time of the creation of the artwork. The depth of the experience is determined by the richness and complexity of mind threads in the fabric.  

The avatar mode

The avatar inspires you to discover the art through the 5 lenses. A cheekily animated Greek muse points the user to undiscovered clusters of associations.

3 “muse-modes”: RANDOM: The avatar will appear randomly to let the user know about particularly interesting associations. ON: the user summons the avatar to find connections. OFF: Makes her disappear.

Developed for MacMaster Museum of Art at PWLabs. 2012