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How Curatorial Arrangements Effect Art Reception in a Fine Art Museum.

The ubiquity of the term ‘curating’ in the last decade stands at odds with the minor amount of concrete research that has been conducted concerning its effects upon museum visitors. Within the framework of the Swiss national research project eMotion – mapping museum experience, we have investigated how curatorial and spatial re/-configurations affect visitor attention. Methods such as visitor tracking, physiological measurements, empirical social science as well as the experimental set-up itself, have been developed in a complementary new fashion to demonstrate curatorial effects on museum visitors. The amalgamated data was translated into visitor mappings. As a comparative, analytical tool, the resulting cartographies indicate differing spatial behaviors and visitor experience, with respect to the various exhibition re-hangings. This article also demonstrates how the institutionalization of exhibition spaces can pre-establish viewing situations and evoke “aesthetic conditions of perception”. Our findings offer a series of unexpected insights in the fields of curatorial studies, museum management, visitor studies and art reception.