Museum as Interface Metaphor

Here’s another thing about gamification: It doesn’t work.

Courtesy EPOCH Gallery

“I want to make buildings which have the capacity to be loved, that’s all,” said Peter Zumthor in a 2017 interview about his design for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. By capacity, he meant the potential for being loved. But it’s the meaning of capacity as suitable for holding and storing and as the limits of containment that provided the central themes of Catalyst.

In a wonderfully rich reversal of institutional hierarchies, the virtual exhibit comprised an immaterial yet navigable LACMA building, which was then used to host an in-game exhibit of seven artists, placing their work in the museum’s “permanent” collection. At Honor Fraser, located just three miles from LACMA, a few headsets were arranged in a gallery delineated by white, flowy fabric hung from the ceiling. The gauzy veils emphasized that the installation was temporary, reversible, a witty visual counterpoint to the whole idea of permanence and monumentality.

The c…

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