Hugemongous mind map, day 1

February 21st, 2011

It took us a while before we got to start work on the hugemongous mind map, what with all the HQ decorations and that, but it’s starting to take shape…

The hugemongous mind map. (Before it started getting hugemongous.)

Here’s the scenario we’re using as our starting point:

It is the year 2019.

Museums and art galleries have mostly survived the funding cuts of the early part of the decade, yet things are still turbulent. The buildings are as they were, but the staff are restless.

Ongoing industrial disputes have resulted in museum and gallery assistants throughout the country refusing to go to work. Whilst the places they used to work in remain open, there are no longer members of staff in each room to enforce rules such as “do not touch”.

What might happen as a result?

Our first wave of responses all felt that this would be not-so-good, with people worried that all the museum artefacts might get broken.

Mind map and ideas getting bigger

After a later wave of activity, not only had we broadened our range of first responses to include some more positive reactions, but we’d also started building some interesting chains of ideas.

I made a note of some of them before leaving for the day:

  • All the lights might get switched off.
    • You could get up closer to the pictures and smell them as well.
    • You could feel the paintings.
    • Children could play in the dark (but they might bump heads).
  • If things got broken
    • Museums might switch to being places where you looked at things from the inside, rather than the outside.
    • Who would fix the exhibits?
    • How would engineers know how to fix ancient things – especially if the instruction manuals were written in hieroglyphics!
  • You could have lots of children on the bouncy castle (Mungo Thomson’s Skyspace Bouncehouse).
  • You could look at the art whilst talking to your friends.

I think we’re going to take our cue for tomorrow’s activities from that cluster of thoughts about experiencing museums and galleries through different senses…

I’m not yet 100% sure of how we’ll structure the day, but we might switch from a drop-in format to some hour-long sessions with a fixed group of Inspectors. Something will be happening between 11am and 4pm (with a lunchbreak somewhere near the middle) – come to the MoR headquarters at the back of the Play Ground gallery to find out what the situation is.

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Sneaky signs

February 21st, 2011

For Monday’s afternoon session we made some signs for some more creative rules and instructions that we thought we’d like to see in museums and galleries instead of the usual “do not touch”.

Everything is Made: a book cover designed by Bob and Roberta Smith.

We took some design inspiration from the Bob and Roberta Smith paintings in the gallery and produced our hand-made signs on thick cardboard (we didn’t have any wood).

Once we’d made 20-30 of these signs we challenged ourselves to find homes for them somewhere in the New Walk building. We didn’t know if the museum assistants in the other rooms would be on our side or not: would they help us or try and stop us? We decided the best approach might be to try and be sneaky and not be seen by anyone.

Sneaky sign in situ

Reminded of our Inspector’s promises a) to not cause harm to any thing, b) to not cause harm to any one and c) to be AWESOME! we spread out around the building.

Apart from a few of the Inspectors reporting feeling “a bit weird”, all went smoothly and soon Inspectors were challenging each other to find their signs, or to find as many as possible (one team reported finding 20!).

Secretary Lucy and I went for a wander after the MoR had shut for the day. Here are some of the sneaky signs we found:

Hop past this art work

Look up!

Skip on the spot

Please touch me. Don't be scared!

Skip past this picture


Good work, Inspectors!

We left the signs where we found them, so if you’re in the museum over the next couple of days keep your eyes peeled in case you can find some too!

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Setting up the MoR headquarters

February 21st, 2011

We can’t be expected to do some awesome investigations without an awesome headquarters, so we spent Monday morning getting our space set up the way we wanted it.

Our first Inspector decided we needed a proper place to put photos of all the MoR staff, so he kindly set about making a sign for an Inspectors’ Gallery. This got filled up through the day as more and more people decided they had what it takes to work for the MoR.

New recruits for the Ministry of Rules proudly showing off their ID badges having successfully taken the MoR pledge.

By lunchtime we had also acquired a variety of signs, instructions, a clock, an investigations van, a secret code and much more…

Inspector-generated stuff!

A team of Inspectors work on a sign.

MoR HQ full of Inspectors working industriously.

By the end of the two sessions we’d pretty much filled all the wall space… Someone described the HQ as feeling like a laboratory – as good a description as any!

MoR HQ at the end of Monday

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Welcome to the Ministry of Rules

February 21st, 2011

Welcome sign

Welcome to the Ministry of Rules. The MoR is looking for Inspectors to help with its investigations. Step inside if you think you've got what it takes...

The Ministry of Rules is now in residence in The City Gallery’s Play Ground Exhibition at the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery.

Sound like a lot of organisations involved? It is! However it gives us more to investigate, so we’re happy!

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