Creative Voucher Scheme
Heidi Hinder and Victoria and Albert Museum
Heidi Hinder, Heidi Hinder
Irini Papadimitriou, Victoria and Albert Museum
Money No Object
Artist Heidi Hinder worked with the V&A Museum to re-imagine museum donation boxes by introducing a more playful and socially interactive process for considering and exchanging value within an arts and cultural institution. The project explored the use of wearable technology and human contact through social gestures (such as a handshake or hug), as a method by which visitors can make a financial contribution to cultural organisations like the V&A. At the same time, the novel process of donating aimed to re-engage audiences with the broader value of the Museum, build connections between people, and strengthen social cohesion within the Museum’s visitor community.
The concept for the project initially developed from a line of enquiry that focused on how it might be possible to articulate and sustain cultural value in a commercially-driven digital society, and began by exploring research questions such as how will we perceive and assign value in future and what role digital technologies and design practice might play in shaping future systems of value exchange, including financial, social, material and cultural values. The project also considered how visitors can demonstrate the value they may perceive and enjoy when experiencing the Museum, its environment and collections and how the Museum can capture and quantify visitor experience.
The artist worked with an independent electronic engineer, visual programmer, photographer and tap-dancer to develop wearable digital prototypes including gloves, badges, shoes and a ring that enable a payment transaction to take place at the point of social contact, through a handshake, a high-five, a hug or a tap-dance. Once the gesture has been exchanged between two people using the wearable technology and the transaction has taken place, the donation immediately appears and is recorded on a colourful interactive info graphic, displayed on a nearby screen.
The work involved several events and ways to explore and share the evolving project process including round table discussions, writing about the work on the V&A blog, setting up a dedicated project website and proposing and installing three different design interventions on the Museum’s current donation cases. The wearable donation prototypes were user-tested at a Digital Design Drop-in session, held in the Sculpture Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the project was launched at the V&A Digital Design Weekend, a large Museum-wide event open to the public and part of the London Design Festival.
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