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Seeing and Being Seen: The Multimodality of the Museum Spectatorship

Christidou, D; Diamantopoulou, S; (2016) Seeing and Being Seen: The Multimodality of the Museum Spectatorship. Museum and Society , 14 (1) pp. 12-32. Green open access

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Abstract

This article argues that museum visiting and the act of ‘spectatorship’, both of which are often assumed to be ocularcentric, are multimodal events. Anchored in Goffman’s dramaturgy and frame analysis theory, as well as Kress’s multimodal and social semiotic theory of representation and communication, this article presents an apposite interpretative and methodological framework to account for what has not been widely addressed by museum studies; that is, the multimodality of the museum experience. By drawing upon audio-visual excerpts of museum encounters, this analysis brings to the fore the embodied visiting and viewing practices of visitors in museum galleries. Specifically, this article highlights the range of modes of communication and representation, beyond gazing and looking, which are employed, negotiated and regulated within the social context of the visit. The article suggests that visitors’ experiences are embodied and performative interactions with the exhibits and other visitors.

Type: Article
Title: Seeing and Being Seen: The Multimodality of the Museum Spectatorship
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Publisher version: https://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/museumstudies/mu...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Embodiment, multimodality, museums, social interaction, visitors
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10045194
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