Enhanced Critical Curation

While reading “Enhanced Critical Curation,” I was reminded of the question we discussed in class regarding museums conveying clear messages to the audiences. It is interesting to think about how it’s not only the collection of artifacts that can tell visitors what the museum is about, it’s more about how the works inside are curated and organized.

The comparison the author makes between museum curation and data compression seems really intriguing to me, and I am convinced that there are many noticeable similarities between these two tasks. For museum curation, a large chunk of information comprising the huge amounts of artifacts and their stories needs to be compressed into something more accessible and digestible for the visitors. There is this encoding-decoding process. Curators choose how they want to encode the exhibition, and the visitors decode the message using their own private key, adding a personal touch to how they interpret the visit to the museum and thus personalize their own experience.

While data compression is an effective tool for transferring messages, there are certain limitations of it, and I wonder if museum curation also faces such limitations. For instance, data compressed might not be able to be converted by certain software because of lack of features. Similarly, the information compressed by curators and presented to the public might be hard to interpret for certain groups of people, such as those who have basically no previous exposure to the overarching topic or message. Curators are like experts in the field of the museum, so they might not be able to realize how their message can not be easily perceived by others and need more specificity and context. Another issue in data compression is that devices receiving the message might have limited processing power, which also applies to museum curation. The audiences also have limited capacity in the amount of information they can memorize in their brains. So I wonder how curators can find the balance between trying to present as much information as possible to the audiences and avoiding overwhelming them with too much data.