L’imaginaire des dispositifs numériques pour la médiation au musée d’ethnographie

Abstract : This thesis observes and explores the imaginary of digital devices when the latter are introduced, in the form of tablets or augmented reality browsers, to support mediation work in ethnography museums. The thesis examines how museum professionals position themselves in relation to the growing presence of digital devices in the exhibition space, which is underpinned by a technophile promotional narrative spun by the media and politicians who present the introduction of these technologies as highly desirable. An ethnographic study in two museums faced with the imposition of such technological agendas – the Museon Arlaten in Arles and the McCord Museum in Montreal – allows for an analysis of the expectations towards and imaginary of these devices by museum professionals. The concept of triviality, as defined by Yves Jeanneret, is used to compare the accompanying discourses on digital technologies with the discourses of professionals in the two ethnography museums, in order to highlight how discourses circulate, as do the imaginaries underpinning them. There were three stages in this study. First, the various accompanying discourses on digital technologies in museums – from both inside and outside of the institutions – and the agendas they carry were identified, so as to understand what was dictated to the professionals. Besides, the museum professionals were interviewed in order to identify what their imaginaries of technological devices were, which allowed for an understanding of their expectations and fears regarding these devices. Finally, asking the interviewees about their concrete practices when effectively devising the devices made it possible to observe processes of adjustment, from opposition to adaptation to invention. The comparison between the professionals’ discourses and the accompanying discourses offered by the media and politicians revealed a discrepancy between the accompanying discourses on technological innovation in museums and the way in which the professionals from the cultural institutions talked about this issue. The narratives describing these technologies as revolutionary were not taken up by museum professionals; rather, they were significantly qualified by reasoned, adequate imaginary of technologies, alongside with an ambivalent perception of innovation, questioning the symbolic dimension of technological changes affecting mediation work in museums.
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Eva Sandri. L’imaginaire des dispositifs numériques pour la médiation au musée d’ethnographie. Architecture, aménagement de l'espace. Université d'Avignon, 2016. Français. ⟨NNT : 2016AVIG1165⟩. ⟨tel-01513541⟩

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