Art(ing) + Curating + Designing : Toward the Collaborative Creation of Art Exhibition

Presented by: Dr. Joori Suh

The blended nature of contemporary culture promotes dynamic collaboration among different disciplines and practices. In today’s art museums and galleries, the interior designer’s role surpasses the traditional responsibility of providing a neutral backdrop for display of artist’s work. The term, co-creation refers to a collective effort of two or more people in production of creative work (Sanders & Stappers, 2008). Among many benefits of co-creation, a number of researchers highlight the potential of innovation especially because of the process that fosters innovation through dynamic interplay among members of multidisciplinary teams (Meinel & Leifer, 2013). In co-creation of art exhibits, artists often collaborate with software engineers to create digital art; in few cases does an interior designer collaborate with artists in the creation process. The traditional concept of designing interior space has shifted to designing for emotion (Sanders & Stappers, 2008) and interior designers have the potential to play a prominent role in the process of the creation of contemporary collaborative art as well as the design of an exhibition space. In this poster presentation, I propose a process for collaborative creation using computer software that may stimulate active collaboration among artists, curators, and interior designers focusing on exhibition design for art museums and galleries. The French phenomenological philosopher Merleau-Ponty (1908-1961) stated that experiencing art requires people to use all sensory faculties (Crowther, 2009): Creating the whole spatial phenomenal zone using form, light, shadows, color, texture, body movement, sound, and viewing position is critical in experiencing art. Interior designers as space specialists understand the interplay among all components correlate in creating perceptual characteristics that affect viewers’ appreciation of art. The proposed co-creation process starts with a brainstorming session with an artist, a curator, and an interior designer to discuss the kind of aura in which the exhibit will be delivered and a basic spatial setup that complements the intended aura. Once a preliminary direction of artistic phenomena is set, the collaborative team initiates the creation process using a software system, IGATY (Suh, 2016), developed to aid ideation of museum display aesthetics. The software system especially helps an interior designer suggest various display aesthetics concepts based on museum interior archetypes, such as wunderkammer, poetic light, and spatial drama by visualizing three-dimensional space with default sample objects. The collaborative team can test variations of each archetype and view the display in a virtual environment via a head-mounted display (HMD). The system also allows the team to combine multiple museum archetypes while suggesting variations of selected archetypes. The collaborative team can review, discuss, and test various potential options in a short period of time. During the process an artist can suggest new ideas for different objects, and if a digital example is available, the new objects can be added to the system for visualization. The form can also be manipulated for further exploration. Once a preliminary idea is set, the interior designer saves the initial design as well as the exploration process images for refinement and production of final design. The examples in the poster presentation will demonstrate how the proposed process and the software could aid interior designers in facilitating collaboration with artists and curators in a way that blurs the boundaries of the traditional definition of art, creation process, and presentation. The proposed process may foster synergetic ideation and innovative creation through a dynamic interplay among the three practices.


  • Crowther, P. (2009) Phenomenology of the Visual Arts (even the Frame). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
  • Degnegaard, R. (2014). Co-creation, prevailing streams and a future design trajectory. CoDesign, 10(2), 96-111.
  • Meinel, C. & Leifer, L. (2013). Design Thinking Research – Studying Co-Creation in Practice, in Electronic Colloquium on Design Thinking Research, Report No. 2
  • Sanders, E. B. N., & Stappers, P. J. (2008). Co-creation and the new landscapes of design. Co-design, 4(1), 5-18.
  • Suh, J. (2016) An Interactive Generative Abstraction system for the archeTYpe-based ideation process (IGATY). Manuscript submitted for publication.
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