Centre Pompidou launched a special Tumblr a few months ago : people are invited to post pictures about a theme linked with the Centre Pompidou schedule. The picture represents a Paper Toy, a paper character customized by the user. Even it’s a game, with 3 special prizes (catalog, album and bags of the Roy Lichtenstein’s exhibition), what is the point of this project regarding to the Centre Pompidou strategy on social medias ? And how does it work?
A quick presentation :
The game takes place on Tumblr. We chose this platform because It was possible to use a personalized template for the design – we created one with responsive design, which is important to allow usage from anywhere, anytime, anyone… It wasn’t simple to develop it, but we had a talented developer! For example, it was important to understand how it’s possible to create a participative interface, and adapt the design and functions: Tumblr seems to be a regular website, but it’s very different and there are many limits during development. So, it’s possible to create an interface for the contribution with Tumblr, and it’s interesting for Centre Pompidou having this on the social media, because it’s one of the most interesting community about graphic culture.
So, the Centre Pompidou purpose is not to push some official content from the institution, or content from artists: it’s to let people say their interpretation of the contemporary creation. For example, the first theme related to Le Nouveau Festival, a transdisciplinary festival of which the theme was « languages », this year. So, people sent pictures of characters talking, singing, watching TV… or with a QR code!
Now, the new theme is about Roy Lichtenstein. Thinking of his practice of engraving, I looked with colleagues for an artist with a special technique: drawing with a pen. It is a more popular practice than engraving, but it can be linked to the exhibition’s theme : artist’s experiments.
I asked Isabelle Kessedjan to create the first character and imagine the first story, and we filmed her with the time laps system to create a teaser. This short film was used to promote the game and to explain it.
Why create such a blog ?
One of the important points of this blog is obvious: to create interaction between audience and Centre Pompidou. This interaction is based on the Centre Pompidou schedule, allowing users explore different themes and communicate about exhibitions, festivals, and so on. But, why realize that through this kind of Tumblr?
The digital project of Centre Pompidou is focused on involving people in the creation of content. A lot of projects are designed for a textual approach of the creation, like the Centre Pompidou experience on Twitter or the partnership with Wikimedia France I already talked about here. But, words are just one way to communicate! Pictures are a strong and unexplored means to do that for Centre Pompidou.
Why can’t we use pictures as much as we want? Simply because of the complicated aspect of the French copyright ! It costs a lot (for a short time) and it’s necessary to ask a lot of authorizations (from the artist of course, but also from collecting societies which are very strong…); there’s no fair use! So I have always regretted not using pictures on social medias. Letting people create pictures and share them through this type of project is an original way to be on Tumblr, a platform is largely dedicated to design and graphic creation. And it’s really necessary for Centre Pompidou to prove that themes which are treated with words for a part of the audience could be treated with pictures for the other part of the audience.
How does it work?
People had to use the paper toy’s pattern by Tougui, a French artist. It’s the same each time, blank and after having downloaded it, ready to be customized. The base of the model is a geometrical shape, able to be used in different positions to imagine different kinds of legs. And the trunk (or the head… it’s the same part) is also an ambivalent geometrical shape. There is a large surface to draw on : the character had to be designed for newbies and easy use.
Each theme suggest a new type of character. For the moment, it’s about imagining a story to explain why a Roy Lichtenstein’s character is crying. The first step is to think about a funny, artsy, special or true story, then to invent a way of describing it with this character: in which background? With an accessory or not? Will he say anything? There are a lot of decisions to make, it’s not easy to write a scenario in a unique comic strip box!
Then, it’s the time for glue and scissor.
Or you can delegate this to your child, your nephews, or anyone else.
Then, it’s time for the picture! I already know that a participant built just one paper toy and preferred to duplicate it with Photoshop to create a situation with tow paper toys… why not, but it’s not necessarily easier for anyone. Anyway, when you have a picture, you can post it on http://centrepompidou.tumblr.com and tag it with the key word of the moment : #Lichtenstein. I will receive a notification and validate it. Now, you’re in the running for the prize!