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Corrections: IDSA conference

It seems that with my hurried notes, I misquoted Doris Wells-Papanek on her presentation. Below is a corrected version. Thanks Doris.

Doris Wells-Papanek, Tailored Learning Tools

She started with a video young man doing exercises, jumping off of objects. She then asked the audience:
What were you thinking as you watched the movie? The movement
How did the imagery and music make you feel? Awe
What did you want to say? He is making his environment his own.
How did it make your body feel?

What did the imagery & sound mean to you?

Her talk focused on the 5 different types of learning systems:

She talked about design using learning systems to engage the working memory and the long-term memory in order to do better at "Retain, recall, transfer, and apply knowledge" or understand. She took us through her background. She is married Victor Papanek’s second cousin. She is into learning, developing Tailored Learning Tools to consult with students with learning challenges. She works with designers, building tools and strategies. Her son had learning struggles which got her into the field of learning.

Product environmental design is background,. She has worked with Xerox, Apple, Lotus, etc.
Interviewing users, looking for patterns in think, learn, experience
Work with kids with autism
Working with middle school and high school students learning ID

Designers can engage, motivate and empower by understanding how the brain works. With all humans, the brain works the same, but the experiences and environment are different. How do you get into the head of many different users?

Last 10 years, more known about how we learn than in the last 100 years. Designers as educators as well, but (USERS) students attend the school of life. Need to bring design to life within their context.

Main points:
Make choices wisely because (USERS) students are counting on you.
Increase your awareness of how users think, learn, experience, and feel.
Actively engage with the user.

EPIC conference 2006

I just returned this morning from the EPIC 2006 conference. It was really amazing this year, with so many new faces and a more international presence. I gave a presentation yesterday morning entitled, The Yin and Yang of Seduction and Production: Shifting Social Transitions between Productive Force and Seductive Play in Industry.

This year I produced a performance piece of me interacting with the video and reading the paper. The reception of the piece was very life affirming. The reviews by people who came up to me were that my presentation was "lyrical, poetic, fresh, transporting." One woman said that she was so moved by the piece that she cried. My impression from a couple of people was that the audience stopped following my words and just rode along with the pleasurable experience of the words and music. This was great because it was partly what I wanted to accomplish in terms of creating a seductive environment for internal contemplation. Most importantly, people said that they began rethinking the way they approach communication and tools of ethnography in terms of exploring more uses of video, performance, and poetry.

For me, it confirmed that I am beginning to live and more effectively guide my theory in terms of this Yin Yang balance between emotional and wisdom minds, passion and direction.

So here is a very compressed version of the presentation. The quality is not very good, but it gives an impression of what I was trying to achieve. Its in Quicktime format and about 28MB.


IDSA 2006 Final day notes

IDSA Day 3

Bill Moddridge, sneak peak at ICSID and IDSA design conference in San Francisco CA, October 17-20, 2007 IDSA
October 11-14, 2007 AIGA
Masonic Center on Nob Hill. Call for papers in November.

Uday Dadavante, Sonic Rim

What is design? Design is an act nor an artifact. Act of bringing dreams alive. Cannot design an experience, people can have it.
Experience design – manipulating behaviors and emotions
Experience of design is the moment.

Where is design? Practice of design research. Only looked at design in MOMA, when into people homes and traveling around the world. Found things that were not like in the magazine. What makes the home a home, design as I learned to practice.

How can our design become a part of their experience? Understanding comics, give more detail see face as person, if give less detail see themselves. Own the meaning and experience the design. Creating tools for experience.


MP Ranjan, National Institute of Design
Lorraine Justice, Hong Kong Polytechinical Institute
Bruce Nussbaum, Businessweek
Klaus Klippendorff, Annenberg School of Communication
Doris Papanek

M.P. Ranjan: The Post-mining economy.

Design is changing. Role of design is expanding from materials to ethics, etc.

Sustainability “Space-ship earth” Bucky Fuller. Space-bubble earth is finaite tragile and fabulous. 800 miles diameter, 10 feet thickness of soil supports all life.

History of design from human intentions to create value. I love this definition of design. Fire 2 million years ago was a act of design. Mayan civilization designed the foods we eat. Need to put a new meaning to desing.

Electronic voting machine in India. 1988, understanding. Did usability testing of the electronic voting machine. Took 10 years for politics to say usable and reliable.

Projects at Indian Institute for Design
Bamboo for development; local production, consumption 1998
Bangalore, home composting system. Work for terracotta production, clean

Design as a human activity and empowerment needs to be "Hands on and Minds on" You need knowledge culture and sensibility.  He is currently working on cataloging the crafts of India. Handmade in India. 600 craft clusters.

Its about design for society. Bringing skills back to people. Giving design back to society: post-mining economy.

Note: This presentation will change my life forever. I have the true definition of design that resonates in praxis with what I believe about the relationship between anthropology and design. Dr. Ranjan and I had a long talk and I have found another kindred spirit and will work with him in the future trying to define the space of Design Anthropology.

Doris Papanek
She started with a video of young man doing exercises, jumping off of objects. She then asked the audience:
What were you thinking as you watched the movie? The movement
How did the imagery and music make you feel? Awe
What did you want to say? He is making his environment his own.
How did it make your body feel?

Her talk focused on the different types of learning systems:

She talked about design using learning systems to engage the working memory and the long-term memory in order to do better at "Retain, recall, transfer, and apply knowledge" or understand. She took us through her backgroung. She is married Victor Papanek’s nephew. She is into learning, developing Tailor tools to consult with students with learning challenges. She works with designers, building tools and strategies. Her son had learning struggles which got her into the field of learning.

Product environmental design is background,. She has worked with Xerox, Apple, Lotus, etc.
Interviewing users, looking for patterns in think, learn, experience
Work with kids with autism
Working with high school students learning ID

Designers can engage, motivate and empower by understanding how the brain works. With all humans, the brain works the same, but the experiences are different. How do you get into the head of many different users?

Last 10 years, more known about how we learn than in the last 100 years. Designers as educators as well, but students attend the school of life. Need to bring design to life within their context.

Main points:
Make choices wisely because students are counting on you.
Increase your awareness of how users think, learn, experience, and feel.
Actively engage with the user.

Lorraine Justice, Hong Kong Polytechical School of Design

7000 students applying for 30 positions
80 full time processors, 50 part time

1/3 European (love to discuss), 1/3 US (focused on the goal), 1/3 Asian (react more passively)

Managing global teams, you need to think how people are. We are now doing multicultural teams and it is fabulous.

By 2010 the PRD will surpass Taiwan’s economy with growth rates in the double digits.
Hong Kong 80% family owned. Have money but risk adverse.
China mostly government owned with party people. So have money for risk but no innovation.
Taiwan is mostly structured like the United States.
By 2001, Hong Kong was the largest overseas investor in the PRD, which total US$79 billion.
Innovation is key to growth. China throwing money innovation and engineering. 400 product design schools are a reality. Building industrial parks for industrial products.

Europe is positioning itself to do high end luxury goods and hand craftsmanship.
China is positioning itself with high end product runs and focus on design and innovation. Raised R&D to 2.5% of GPD.

Main points:
The US needs to maintain superiority as innovators, its in the DNA.
It years to build a good design research culture, we have a head start.
Organize industry and education teams to lobby Washington for design education.

Klaus Krippendorff, professor of Anneburg school of the communications

Studied communication and cybernetics in the US. Two solid legs in communication and design. Stayed in touch with design and coined idea of product semantics. Product is outgrowth of industrial area, when users did not matter. Shifted to idea of meaning, in which people in it. Now we talk increasingly about human beings.

Still preoccupation of objects. Technology has moved away from objects to interface, interface is the relationship. What people interact with or make with. Organizational design. If the design community does not capture the occupations, we end up just talking about beauty, aesthetics. Worried about: Design is dominated by creative geniuses which is a problem. We do not talk about teams. We do not talk about participatory design. The real issue of design is to denigrate design and give it away. The fashion is jump on the bandwagon for movements and then its dead. Talk about usability then its dead. We talk about sustainability. What is to be sustained the culture, nature? Using environmentally friendly. Emotional design? Are we emotion managers? Same as experience design. Do we design experiences? Or do we create the conditions for certain experiences? Jump on the bandwagon of fashionable concepts.

Adopting the criteria of other disciplines: production is not the other material. Marketing defines design as value added. Design is subsumed under marketing. Like there is not other value than selling value.

Design is cultural. There are lots of people involved. Involved with people doing things with each other.

Design has always been culturally insensitive. If defined object without cultural understanding. There is an insensitivity to cultural particularity.

Myopic focus on the user. Personas and the user are convenient props to argue with other people. When send students out. There is a distribution of users. Clients are users and stakeholders. Usability is a particularly bad concept, because it has opposite concept is not usable.

There is a blindness in the language of design. Framing things have implication of actions. Framing of an event is of considerable importance to action. Advertising does the same thing for design, by categorizing things as an intelligent objects.

Using of artifacts have something to do with the acquisition of meaning. People use objects because they mean something. Human beings do not respond to physical qualities of things but what they mean. Design is not focused on functionality. Design is making sense for other. Design needs to shift to others things, which is lost by the focus on artifacts.

Designers can be experts and making things meaningful to people. Can define new criteria.
Can develop on indigenous knowledge base and methodology. Can develop text books.

Note: I disagree with his statement and believe that anthropology can provide the knowlege base and methodology. Everyone there has this archiac notion about anthropology being about observing and not changing the future, but there is a historical context to that posturing, due to the self-reflection coming out of the discipline's relationship to colonialism.

Bruce Nussbaum, stories about cultural change

Grandmother looks and sounded like Frank Gehry. Be careful of what you wish for. At BusinessWeek, wished for greater coverage about design. Started in the 1990s, crashed in 2000s. There are six people writing about design. There is a greater emphasis and no longer have to push and sell. Big huge arms are coming out to embrace design. Now it is up to design. Business community doesn’t know what it wants. Afraid of the word design so prefers innovation. Innovation implies metrics and measurement. Has a techy root. More than half the time they are talking about design thinking.

Very difficult to change cultures. Tried to create innovation gym. Turn space into gym. Had to fight business week secretaries. Got okay for a couple of months. On the walls on all the walls, covered with series of photographs of inspiration CEOs. Changed the images and people started coming by and asked “Can you do that?” Others came by and said, “Can you do that?” We should run the whole staff of BusinessWeek through the conference room and fire those who say “Can you do that?” In three months, it was closed down by the secretaries and the art department put back the old images.

Great challenge is how to introduce design to schools.

These were really excellent presentations. IDSA is such a great place to be as a researcher. It felt more empowering and inspiring to be here that at the AAAs or AIGA. So I will go into EPIC next weekend with a renewed sense of purpose and a drive to really articulate the Janus faced relationships between anthropology and design.

IDSA 2006 Day 2

There was no morning sessions. My afternoon was spent at a session on Design for the other 5 million. These panels uncover an ambivalence that I have with the most priviledged "saving" the economies and cultures of the underdeveloped, poor, etc. Here are some of the notes from the session.

Design for the Majority, the other 5 million, those who make less than $30K per year

University of Washington program developed by Sergio Palleroni's Basic Initiatives of sustainability have fieldwork programs in:
Africa (AIDS)
American Indian

Fieldwork preparation: coursework, policy, case studies, seminars

Service learning – Dewey
Participatory action research
Reflective learning

The have done waste treatment plants, zoological stations, worked with indigenous groups and mostly women’s groups. Students interact with community who have their own ways of working.

Example of global studio: Solar kitchen in Mexico in squatter communities

Built in the 1990s, place where people can provide food and learn about cooking and nutrition. Women provide food and sell at cost to the kids. Solar kitchens become part of the schools and become part of community. School becomes part of the community, used at night.

Solar condensers made of bicycle parts and vanity mirrors from the local markets. The building has to leave of the immediate resources. Use local resources and have the smallest resources. No building should have to have its lights on during the day. Collect solar energy and have lights at night.

32 thousand vanity mirrors to super heat water for cooking. Footprint of building is small. The café below is cool. The building is trying to mimic the grandmother tree. How can learn from tree in terms of evaporation and energy.

Project in Taipai Taiwan, 2nd largest density. 60% is national forest. All live compacted in smallest space. Event, people protested the destruction of their space. Did intimate portaites and families.

Redesign kilometer of university. Did the ecological thing. Drilled out the bathroom water and put it in gutters and skinning. Put green space on the top of the building. Graden cascade down green wall. Out of wall that separated university and community, rain water captured and build green houses. Created series of ponds and buildings off the grid. Reimaging an interior space. Showing that you can recreate the city.

Starting for zero, and think about your way of thinking, where the facts don’t matter. Hope to create better and more engaged citizens.

Speaker Mimi Robinson, Bridging Cultures through Design

She works in sustainable micro-enterprise and getting artisans work into the market. Worked for over 15 years. bridging cultures through design.

She talked about two projects: one in Cahlucanam Peru and the other in Lake Atittlan Guatemala.

Guiding principles:
Culture matters, behind product person, familu, community, and cultural values
Source matters, use local sources and local creativity
Story matters, eaise public awareness about critical issues to raise voice and awareness
Most people still make things with their hands. Lot of informal markets.

Artisans are under pressure, unable to break into international markets. Offer product development and design and business advice about how to break into new markets.

Chulucanas, Peru. Innovation in design. Selling smoked gorditos, but market was saturated. Tools wooden paddles, bamboo, metal drums, mango leaves

Process, spend two weeks looking and legacy and doing costing and pricing. Looking at skills and leadership qualities. Going from drawing to initial prototypes. Going after the modern handmade look. Initially there for 10 days. Artisans created own designs with the sketches. Took to the NY shows and had a hit. How do we go to 200k pots within 2 months. Developed more efficient production process.

5-6 families come together to develop. Continue to innovate and stay ahead of the curve. Continue to develop new products for clay. Nelle is exporter.

1996 $5k in sales with 2-3 exporters
2006 $3mill in sales with 20 exporters

Guatemala, educating future designers from RISD

Contacted three villiages with textile traditions and exporters
Spent four weeks doing research (cultural identity, free trade, market research)
About collaboration and shared dialogue.

Reuse/recycle of traditional fabrics
Social (married and unmarried men are distinguished by embroidery on the pants).

Tried to weave on a back loom. Artisan helped students develop pompoms. Created a bundle bag. Student gave the design to the artisans.

Done in 2006.

Each project raises new questions.
What is success?
How can we measure it beyond economics?
What common values can we share?
How can designers be of service?

Culture, sources, and story matters.

William Gordon: Reflections on a mission to the Philippines.

Started at Kohler. Wanted to be part of the making process. Looked for opportunity to use design. CITEM, government organization that coordinates projects and shows. Bring in foreign and local designers. Design is the defining factor of success, differentiation in market place and for high margin.
Designed 175 products in 7 weeks.

Most manufacturers design based on materials around them. Made of “waste” products that are transformed into fashion and furniture commodities. CITEM employs over 100,000 people. 5 members per family.

Visited factories, documented products and process, designed on computers, relied completely on the individual skills and intuitions of craftspeople. Try to bring designers up to international level yet still be Filapino. Did controlled drawings and used to communicate directly with makers. Sharing and interaction btw designer and maker.

Raphaels legacy, used stone work. He would do computer model and they would intuitive interpret his drawings. People still make things with their hands.

Robles, lighting.
40% of Filipinos live below the poverty line.
Locsin: woven furniture. Line designed to bring Filipinos outside of their share.

There are just as many sex workers as factory workers. $5 is living wage. One thing learn, same times economy of scale. $5 is a pretty good job.

Resing and fiberglass with natural materials, labor intensive but able to use up surplus labor.

Natures Legacy: factory owners have grate respect for their workers.

The FAME show, April and October. 3000 buyers, 500 exporters, $64 million in sales

Design is about people who make the stuff, not just those who buy the stuff. Need to tackle shame of exploitative labor.

Go visit where products are made.

IDSA 2006 Day 1 afternoon cont.

The second afternoon session I attended was led by Naomi Gornick, of University of Dundee, "Read all about it: contextual studies in academic design curriculum."

Dr. Gornick is one of the grand dames of design and was joined for questioning by Lorraine Justice, the main grand dame, and Rita Sue Siegel, a global headhunter for design management. She framed her discussion around the book The Support Economy: Humanizing Business Practice by Shoshana             Zuboff and James Maxmin and how design is having to change because of the new business context.

She did interviews with Richard Seymour of Seymour Powell and Sohrab Vossoughi of Ziba Design about where design is heading and how designers are or are not being prepared for it. She talked about the new design professional:

Understand design holistically and are boundary crossers
Capable of extended creative ideas
Motivated leaders with enhanced communications
Long term ambition for social improvement
Exhibit contructive discontent

This was very heartening to hear because that is the skills that I am trying to bring to my students and class co-participants at UIC, but I am afraid they do not see or sometimes appreciate it, yet. The main premise of the Support Economy book is the people change more than the organizations they depend upon. I feel that this is especially true of the university and particularly design education. So did Dr. Gornick.

In 94/95 when they were trying to establish a Master of Design Managment at Royal College of Art, they could not use the term management because it was owned by the Business School. There was fear of creating a new class of people in between design and the client. Now ID at IIT is the model for what is happening in Design Managment in the US, with their MDes/MBA degree. Her talk made me appreciate ID more, although I think my interest lies elsewhere in terms of govenment and non-profit.

What I appreciated was here discussion on Metadesign education because that is where I live. It was good validation that the path I am taking in terms of developing multidisciplinary students, working in interdisciplinary teams, addressing corporate and organizational issues, as well of global social and economic concerns, is the right one for preparing my students for the future of design. I just hope that they see the value in it.

IDSA 2006 Day 1 afternoon sessions

The afternoon sessions were more diverse in topics:

I attended a hands-on interactive experience of multisensory design with users led by design researchers (Justine Carleton) and designers from Lextant (Jooyoung Oh) and P&G (Joshua Norman). It was a fun activity doing "card" sorting participatory design activitiies, but instead of cards they used objects (stuff) to stimulate feelings and reactions from users.  "What kinds of soft do you desire?" They use it cross-culturally in a user-centered design process and they use large enough sample sizes to quasi-quantify their qualitative techniques for people who normally love quantitative data. . If they have 100 people, then 56% have to say theme "energize" the same way for them to use it as an insight. In answer to the smallest and largest number of participants, they answered the best, "its based on who you have to convince."

It mostly seemed tied to gaining brand expectations. They showed how it led to the development of the POM tea bottle (earth friendly because reusable).

More later have to run to set up for my presentation.

IDSA 2006 Day 1 general session

Morning presentation at the IDSA National Conference and Education Symposium focused on the human element.

Stephen Wilcox went through a brief history of the "human" element in Industrial Design. It is basically a movement from design based on intuition (Christopher Dresser in 1885) to seat-of-the-pants methods (Henry Dreyfuss in 1929) to enter the psychologists (1980s) and then the Anthropologists in 1995. It is the amount of human variation that makes designng today more complex.

Although his history was Western-centric in its history, what I liked about his presentation was that he talked about the combined strenght of Design and the Social Sciences. He says that the Social Sciences are strong on rigor and Design is strong on relevance. (Arc WW called it Accountability and Creativity.) Like Yin Yang, they complement each other, which is the argument that I have been making about Anthropology and Design.

Next Bill Moggridge, co-founder of IDEO spoke about the complexity of design.  Like all IDEO presentations, it was visually stunning and based on interviews for his book, Designing Interactions, to be released next month, which I will make all my design students buy for the DVD. He talked about in the 1960s all you needed to know was the sizes of people, now chips that allow feedback, the internet, screens the size of phones, environmental sustainability, and nanotechnology, and globalization has made designing interactions complicated.

Bill Green, emeritus from Canberry University, gave a presentation on inclusive design. His arguments for why it should be called inclusive design and not universal design was powerful, "I never liked universal design. Universal has connotations of one size fits all." The reframing of inclusive design to who are you excluding has interesting implications for the design of personas. He said inclusive design should be based on four questions:

The key question for any designer is: by designing product or service in this way, whom do I exclude? Students don’t like going to tables. Design the table then plug into system and it will tell you whom will it exclude. Do I want to exclude these people? How do I change the design in order not to exclude? Do what you do, but think about who are you excluding. Why should I care?

He gave two sets of examples of inclusive design innovations:

  1. Those based on mainstream products that are accessible to specialized communities (ex. Oxo Good Grips, Sandbugger)
  2. Those which are specialized products that have mainstream appeal. (ex. all of his examples were from the automotive industry especially work going on with Toyota i-Unit and Welcab)

Jamer Hunt was the last presenter of the session. I am not the only anthropologists. He supposedly has a Ph.D. in Anthropology. He focused on the incorporation of technology into the human body. His presentation was the most scholarly in terms of tying the meaning of prosthetics to ideas of Western humanism (the notion of the mind contained within the body). He thesis is that with the movement from ornamental, instumental, to enhancement prosthetics there are momumental social shifts taking place:

  • From mass to information (disintergration)
  • From force to connection, how fast can you connect
  • From the body as the seat of self to plastic material
  • and the Ego (mind) is just another node in network

The questions are what wil be the ethics, institutions, and implementors of these new form of post-humanistic humans. I did have a question about his use of Western Humanism, because other cultures do not have that way of thinking of the human, so if they developed enhanced prosthetics is it not a rupture but continuation.

The morning was cool. As an anthropologist, I feel recognized that we "belong" in Industrial Design, which is cool. More on the afternoon later.

IDSA National Conference

I heading today to the IDSA National Conference and Education Symposium, where I hope to be blogging about presentations and people that I meet. It is the first time I will have attended so I am excited about seeing what it is all about. So keep posted as I document my impressions and images.

I am presenting with Stephanie Munson on Monday from 5:30-6:30 pm. Lorraine Justice is part of our panel about Finding Niches in Design Education. I am looking forward to meeting Lorraine; she seems like a design powerhouse.


Wantads Black Female Emerging Leader seeks Established Black Female Leader for long term mentorship possibilities

In the past, most of my mentors have been men. In fact, they have been mostly white men with the exception of one latino. Some this has to do with the lack of males and females of color in the mostly white societies that I inhabit. Now, I have found that those white male mentorship relationships never last very long, about 1.5 years average. The pattern is constantly the same. In exchange for my intellectual labor as thinking catalyst, my emotional labor as confidant, and my ego-boosting labor as quasi-sexual temptress, I get the "privilege" of being made over into their image as leader. This goes back as far as white male mentors redefining my speech patterns in 7th grade to those who seek to reshape my behavioral choices today.

My natural openness and performative non-judgmentalism encourages this attempt at penis and skin grafting. My perspective had been that if the model of power is white male power, I wanted to understand and empathize with it. And perhaps this empathetic movement is my downfall. Because eventually the "grafts" don't take, my black female mind/body/spirit rejects the foreign tissue. In other words, even if I wanted to I cannot adopt "white male styles." Not that I am incapable of being an assertive, independent, and decisive leader. Its just that it always gets warped by others into being "controlling,"  "impatient," and other negative characteristics "having too much energy, being force of nature" that because I am a black woman are not acceptable. When I try to articulate that my experiences mean I have to reject the models they are creating for me,  they respond with shock of my arrogance to have a mind of my own and the will to make it manifest in the world. So when they realize I won't be their "mini-me," they withdraw their support, although still wanting to extract my labors.

My relationship with a male Latino mentor went better to some extent. There was less attempts at grafting in general. And as a person of color, his skin was not as foreign to my system. It lasted longer (about 5-6 years), but eventually ended, mostly due to my expectations for more active encouragement. He was very encouraging, but mostly due to removing obstacles in my way (an important form of encouragement) but not the same as actively and directly engaging in the furthering my intentions. To put it metaphorically, I wanted him not just to remove the logs in the swollen river, but to actually help me construct a raft to navigate the river. This was too much of an investment for him, and I withdrew from the relationship in disappointment.

I have been summoning lots of white women lately, but they tend to follow the essential female powers ideology which didn't work for me after Junior year at Bryn Mawr College. The exception is my current female mentor, who is also a secular Jew, which is one of my few non-dysfunctional mentor relationships. She has definitely suffered discrimination in the academy and professionally and her experiences are very valuable for me.

Yet, I've never had a black female mentor and that bothers me. Right now, I desperately feel the need to have someone in power who really gets me: my intelligence, intensity, dedication and discipline, and drive to make the world a better place.  I need someone to understand that I have good instincts that have served me well and when I follow those instincts and persuade others to follow with me that its not being controlling or inflexible. Its knowing that if I don't have the courage and confidence to follow the path, which I've already scouted; others will not trust the young black woman actually leading them.

So I am seeking an EBFL, because my soul is scarred with penis and skin grafts that it knew better to reject.

King Tutankhamun at the Field Museum

Yesterday, I visited the King Tut exhibit at the Field Museum. It was an interesting experience in blockbuster exhibitions. It was produced, which I mean in the broadway musical sense, by Arts and Exhibits International, a company made up of former heads for Clear Channel Communications.

It demonstrated to me how so much has changed about museums in the past 10 years. The exhibit felt less about the "gold" and more about how these funerary objects fit within royal life during Tutankhamun's era. It contextualizes the experience within his dynastic family, Egyptian ideas about the afterlife, everyday objects and uses of them by royal households, the tomb itself, and, most interestingly, the new knowledge made from the CAT scans of the body. One thing I had not be aware of was the what would now be considered racist depictions of the Nubians. Images of Egyptions trampling Nubians (and Syrians) abound in the exhibit. There is one walking stick of a captured Nubian, that was completely reminiscent of the black lawn jockey's.

The exhibit itself was well designed by Arts and Exhibits international, with signage all around the top of the cases written in larger type, mood music in the background, combinations of intimate and group spaces, and a nice flow. It took 1.5 hours to tour the exhibit, but at no time did I feel bored, overwhelmed, or restless. It may help that it was narrated by Omar Sharif, whom I adore.

But it also is an indication of the infotainment quality of today's blockbuster exhibits, where I felt I was at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. There is something different about the expectations of the museum which is in transition, but unresolved.