From the mass media museum to the social media museum: Investigating the museum space in the era of mobile devices

By: Aluminé Rosso


Volume: 09
Issue: 02:Winter 2023
ISSN: 2459-2943
DOI: 10.18680/hss.2023.0024
Pages: 165-187
Lic.: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
Model visitor
Museum visiting contract
Interactional linguistics



Eliseo Verón has defined the museum as a mass medium whose discourse is materialized through the body of the visitors: their spatial appropriations manifest not only the gap between the spatial proposal and its reception but also the bonds they establish with the institutions. Applying to the museum the notion proposed by Verón to refer to the bond between media and audience, these bonds crystallize different types of visiting contracts. Nowadays, the idea of a contract is central in visitors’ consolidation of the museum experience: it is no longer a matter of merely visiting exhibitions but of sharing content on Instagram, sitting down at the café to study, or frequenting the esplanade to walk the dog. Thus, the bonds branch out into direct contracts (commercial or educational) and distinctive agreements (e.g., allowing the transformation of the esplanade into a park). This bifurcation enables us to rethink the notion of museum visits and analyze contemporary visiting practices. Following Verón’s methodology and based on a seven-year-long study of museum visits, we present some conclusions regarding the practices developed on the esplanades and in the entrance halls of Centre Pompidou and Museo Reina Sofia. In these places, visitors and museums maintain their bonds. We also reflect on contemporary technical possibilities, such as the 360° audiovisual recording used in interactional linguistics and the necessity of studying the links between virtual and physical museum experiences.


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