Slowing the visitor down: the ping pong theory

I have been thinking a lot about ping pong lately.  Why?  Well a recent trip to the Outpost exhibition at Cockatoo island that finishes up this weekend, (definitely worth a visit) has had me thinking a lot about the ping pong tables that were one of the activities provided to visitors at this art from the streets exhibition.  The tables were provided in a fairly central location to many of the artworks featured in internal gallery spaces.  They were all being used and many people were just hanging out in the space, taking their time and enjoying participating in this social game.  So why think so much about the ping pong, well it provided an opportunity to slow down the experience of viewing the artworks and I wonder why Museums don’t think about slowing down their visitors more.  Museums generally provide an experience that should follow a path and certain direction through an exhibition, but what if there were more experiences that allowed visitors to just sit, converse, enjoy a space that’s mission may not even relate to the subject matter of a particular exhibition..  I’m calling this the ping pong theory.

Although we didn’t get to see all the works featured at this great exhibition, mainly due to the horizontal rain that was causing us some serious umbrella issues, there are some great works at this exhibition.  One that I want to highlight is Next-a fantastic display of T-shirt culture featuring hundreds of t-shirts strung from the ceiling in colour co-ordinated lines above large and very graphic portrait photographs featuring the artists that created the works and the origin and story behind the brands.

Photos CC BY-NC 3.0

Outpost finishes this weekend and it is worth a visit.

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2 thoughts on “Slowing the visitor down: the ping pong theory

  1. I like it! I am definitely the type of visitor that would really enjoy ping pong spaces.

    I think we saw a bit of this when we had the 80s exhibition and the retro pac man games that were scattered throughout the Museum. They were ALWAYS busy, often with a parent (even grandparent) and child playing.

    Ive also seen it work with very simple big round lounges. People just sitting, looking around, resting, contemplating their next move.

    Here, here, for more ping pong spaces.

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