uRemark / Highland Exposure
an exhibition concept for encouraging
interaction between makers and audience members
Joëlle Bitton, Matthew Karau, Andrea Taylor, Stefan Agamanolis (Distance Lab); Calum Davidson (Highlands and Islands Enterprise)
Traditional exhibitions often display images
and artifacts in a one-way fashion, limiting contact with or feedback
to the original artist or maker. uRemark (aka Highland Exposure) aims to reduce the
distance between author and audience in the context of a photography
display. A physical exhibition is combined with a novel digital
interface that provides the ability to leave voice messages for the
creator of a photograph and encourages dialogues to develop within the
Highland Exposure was conceived as a competition and exhibition for
digital photography. Amateur photographers and ordinary people were
invited to submit their most stunning and inventive expressions of
"distance" in the contemporary Scottish Highlands and Islands.
Submitters were asked to give information about their photos, such as
place and date taken and a general description of content.
About 800 photos were submitted between February and May 2007.
Taken together, this pool of submissions formed a high quality and
comprehensive portrait of the modern Highlands and Islands. Winners
were chosen, but a decision was made to include every submitted photo
in the final exhibition, which took place in Inverness in June 2007.
The exhibition consisted of a large array of physical photographs
arranged on two white walls. Each photograph had an identifying
number and barcode printed at the bottom, but no other information to
distract the viewer from browsing and enjoying the myriad of visual
If interested in a photo, a viewer could select it using a barcode
reader available in the space. This caused the photo to be projected
on a large screen, together with the textual information describing
the photo that was included in its competition entry form.
The viewer could then pick up an old-style phone handset and record
a voice message that would be digitally attached to the photo. If the
photo was selected again at any time later in the exhibition, this
audio message would be played back on speakers in the space. Further
messages could be recorded, resulting in a dialogue about a photo
between audience members who may be present on different days. These
messages were also delivered to the original photographers via the
The use of voice for messaging was chosen in an aim to support a
more personal and less anonymous dialogue than is possible in
web-based photo sharing applications like Flickr. Just as the photos in the
exhibition captured a portrait of the Highlands, these voice messages
collectively formed a rich portrait of the audience flowing through
the exhibition space.
Distance Lab is interested in building on the ideas in this project
and applying them to other scenarios in which this kind of dialogue
and involvement could enhance the impact of a theme or initiative. In
particular, we are interested in exhibitions that may run over an
extended period of time or that would involve multiple sites. Please
contact us for more information.
High resolution project images
Highland Exposure competition
Innovation Exposure competition