Unmixing African Art (view fullscreen)
Digital unmixing is a research and curatorial strategy that transforms static works of art into interactive, exploratory workstations. It allows visitors and curators to visually explore and share their interpretations of an artwork. Educators and critics isolate elements they wish to highlight, reinforce, or question, and a user-friendly digital interface mediates exploration within and among these shared elements. Unmixing involves the location and digital separation of visual elements for interactive analysis and reconfiguration. By removing, inserting, and isolating semiotic elements, audiences gain a deeper appreciation of stylistic components and the way in which these components combine in the communication of the displayed work.
Unmixing innovatively suggests that guided remixing of an artwork produces deeper artistic appreciation. It suggests that the digital manipulation of an artwork need not diverge from the structure and communication of the original piece. Responses to unmixing prototypes have been positive with gallery visitors becoming both critically and creatively engaged. Digital unmixing workstations transform the gallery terminal from a conduit of curatorial expertise to a shared space of knowledge creation, which is accessible audiences and curators alike. By introducing a visual component to forman presentations of art history and criticism, unmixing empowers audiences to concretely display and discuss their interpretations and experience of an artwork. This experiential process promotes both the engaged viewing of displayed artwork and engaged discussion among visitors and curators in a shared gallery space.