Exhibit design at Jemez Historic Site, New Mexico

A class of 15 Media Arts students from New Mexico Highlands University, in partnership with NM Historic Sites and the tribal governors at Jemez Pueblo in Jemez Springs, NM completed a full redesign and installation of the visitors center at Jemez Historic site during a semester intensive. The goal was to shift the focus to a pueblo/indigenous perspective, rather than the just the Spanish conquest. Using scalable digital media, the students designed, developed ,and installed extensive large-format projection mapping, screen-based interaction, responsive exhibits in restrooms (it is a small building and we had to maximize gallery space!), and a lasered/CNC floor to illustrate a map of yet-to-be- excavated native ruins.


Unknown Speaker 00:00
We're good to go. Hi, everybody. Welcome to exhibit design at hemas historic site New Mexico. I am Miriam Langer. And I am the chair of the Media Arts and Technology Department at New Mexico Highlands University. And hit the slide, Becca, and I'm here to talk about a project we did in beautiful hemas, New Mexico at our State Historic Site. It is a gorgeous Red Rock Canyon, it's a really old old place a very important place in New Mexico. And we have a program at my school called pick the program and interactive cultural technology. It is a every other year, full spring semester class the students apply to be in it. And then that's pretty much all they do. That semester, we do an exhibit for a cultural organization, from start to finish, and four months. So this is the class at the end of our install with the members of the staff at hemas. Historic Site, along with some of the staff and faculty that worked on the project. So what we're going to do is you're going to hear from for people who are involved in the project, and then we'll hopefully have time for questions, and you have a chance to talk to the students. So we're gonna start with Ethan Ortega from New Mexico historic sites.

Unknown Speaker 01:22
Hi, everyone. All right. So I'm here to talk about the relationship between New Mexico historic sites, which is an entity of the state of New Mexico government and New Mexico Highlands University. So I first started working on the pick programs, the first year that I worked for historic sites in 2014, I believe. And the reason that I started working with them is because they told me, You're the only person on our staff under 65. And you need to do this technology thing, and we don't know what it's going to do. And so, that project that we worked on, was primarily exhibit work. It was a lot of design work. And so this is an example of one of the cases that the students helped us redesign. But it was really more physical than digital. And one of the interactives, that was a spin off of this project was this, it's called sim pueblo. And it was a physical digital interactive. So visitors could place 3d prints on this mat. And then there would be projections on top of those 3d prints, allowing them to build and bring to life in ancient Pueblo village. But that was about the extent of our digital applications. And so we lost picked for a year, they abandoned us and went to work for an organization in Los Alamos, New Mexico. But fortunately, we were able to secure funding and draw them back in for the 2019 year. And this is a photograph of the site that we decided to tackle. Now we have eight properties in New Mexico historic sites, and most of the exhibits are from the 60s and 70s, maybe early 80s. So you know, the work that they did with Coronado historic site was amazing. And we just knew we had to get them back. So this is famous historic sites exhibit before picked helped us out with it, most of the components are from the 1960s, you can probably tell based on the colors, I don't think they've quite come back into style yet. And we were able to actually pair this with a community project that we were doing at the same time. So we were working with him s Pueblo, which is an existing tribal entity of about 6000 members. And they're the descendants of the village that the historic site is focused around. And so these are the three tribal governors, and they're actually breaking ground on an archeological excavation that we did at the site. We worked over the course of several months leading up to the pick program to excavate one room out of the ancient village. And we produced about 20,000 artifacts. And we use that to inform our narrative, as well as populate the exhibit with content and objects. And so throughout the whole process, it was involved by the Pueblo people. And that was really a focus of the students and their work is to allow the Hemis voice, the tone of voice to be the main voice in the space. And so this is a recording, you'll actually get a little clip in a second of Marlon who's one of our staff members, but also a KMS tribal member giving his basically 5000 year history in the Toa language. It only took him about 20 minutes. So and then this is another interview that the students did inside of one of the historic structures. And this is the cultural, the cultural officer for this for the Pueblo of hay mess. And so the students were able to mix all of this stuff together, whether it was you know, artwork created by people, oral histories, designs, and really produce a beautiful product that allowed us to start tackling stories and tackling subjects like decolonization. So by allowing the Pueblo people To have an outlet to tell their own stories. For example, in this panel, we're able to talk about continuity through time that even though the toe toe, people were colonized and converted, they were still able to keep parts of their traditional culture. And they still exist today. And so that's really at the forefront throughout the entire project. And so this is the grand opening of the exhibit, I'll talk with the students talk more about the details of all the projects that they worked on. But this is the tribal governor. And he was cutting our Grand Opening ribbon with an obsidian blade that was a an artifact that was actually excavated during the project. And then this is a quick sneak peek inside of the space. And it shows some of the some of the components, but it shows visitors interacting with the with the space. Now, we really enjoy working with Highlands and the pic program. And we've already got them pinned down for 2021. So we're not going to lose them this time. And so our next site is actually Los Santos Historic Site. It's New Mexico's newest state historic site that was just designated by our legislature. And it's a completely blank slate, it has about 13 historic buildings, most of which are fully furnished, and there's just it's it's crying for someone to implement some digital, you know, interactives in those spaces. So we're looking forward to continuing to work together.

Unknown Speaker 06:27
Hi, everyone, I'm Becca sharp. I'm an undergraduate student. And for this project, I was one of the project managers, as well as I worked on the multimedia team. And so I am going to be focusing on our laser engraved floor that we did, but I do want to talk about two other projects we worked on. These were both interactive touchscreen, experiences created in Blender and unity. One allows you to visit the blind among the ruins event, which happens once a year. And you're able to place your own luminarias around the around the church and the trails. And then the other event. The other experience allows you to look at the 3d models and zoom in and get more information. And but today, I'm going to be talking about our laser cut floor. And this was a super exciting project. And it was actually very challenging for many different reasons. But it was also very special because when none of us had ever done this before, including the wood company that we worked with the wood was from the hemas was him as pine, which made it very special as well. And then this was designed with tribal members. And we really wanted to embody this site. And we wanted to work with the tribal members too. And because this was, this is their community. And this we were giving to them. And so we went with this design. And we had to give this to the wood company, the different colors or the different cuts we had to work with this was a lot of experimentation. But this was also like one cut one go kind of thing. So there wasn't a lot of room for error or anything. So we went to work. And we decided to do everything fully ourselves. We glued the floor, we fill it with red dirt, and then we then we sealed it with resin. And so while this was a little bit scary, because like I said, we had never done this before, and it was totally new. We watched YouTube, some of us went on Instagram. And today, this floor sits beautifully in the center of the historic site where visitors are able to walk on this floor, because it's very strong. They're able to walk in this floor to see this trail that they had just observed. And it really creates just a beautiful moment with the visitor in the site. And with that being said, I'm going to pass it over to Ali, who's going to talk about the graphic design soon.

Unknown Speaker 08:46
Thank you. Hi everybody. My name is Ali and I am getting my BFA in media arts islands University, I was a part of the design team. And the big goal main goal of the design team was to create a cohesive modern update while still staying true to the site and utilizing as much space as possible. So we create we recreated a takeaway trail guide. And this leads you through the trail. The back of it includes a poem that's very special to the site and to most of the visitors. And on the right side you can see the poem as it exists in the space. We were also in charge of making physical panels as well as digital panels, which turns we'll talk to you about in a little while, and wayfinding materials. I personally was involved with creating a volcano wall that was to represent the bias Caldera, which is one of three of the largest calderas in the United States and sits in the hemas Mountains. Again, a lot of YouTube tutorials and videos about Prop making. We decided to go with foam insulation sheets, carving out sanding down lots of work. And for lava flow. We used spray insulation that was dremeled out and painted, so that NeoPixel could shine through, there's a little video of that. And then we have the actual texture that we were able to achieve, and a video or a steal of the final product as we installed the NeoPixels and lit it up for the first time. There's a steal of the lights off position and a video. And with that, I'll hand it off to Terrance, who's going to talk to you all about the video team.

Unknown Speaker 10:39
Hello, my name is Terrence Garcia, I am a master student at Highlands. And I was the project manager of the project at him as so before the class even started, we knew that we'd be working with projection mapping, a Visiting Professor Craig Winslow came down and he showed us the mapping software and its capabilities. So before the class even started, we knew that we wanted to use map mapping software. After that I took a trip to the actual site to take some photographs and really get an idea for what the client was all about and what they wanted. And what was interesting about the site is because it's very historical, and it's a native site, there are lots of things that we cannot film or show, for instance, the Kiva we cannot go into the language, you can only hear it spoken, you cannot read it unless you're a tribal member. And so that really kind of forced not forced us. But it gave us the opportunity to think about how to incorporate these technologies with this content. So for one of the ideas we had is since the building is so small, we could create projected wall panels that have text and images talking about the history and some of the information about him as and we can use projection mapping to do this. So another interesting idea we had is, since the toy language can only be heard and it can't You can't see it written unless you're a tribal member, we could have an origin story set by Marlin which we spoke about earlier, giving the history of him as I'm gonna show you a little clip so you can hear the actual tolling Sheila que

Unknown Speaker 12:01
Quassel Oh, 136, you want to say, Oh, we walk with you, oh, I want to shoot in the sea.

Unknown Speaker 12:14
Now, unfortunately, I can't show more because I don't have enough time. But so once we had our ideas, which was the projected wall panels and the oral history that would be projected on the opposite side of the wall, it was really a matter of how do we actually succeed in creating this. So we started immediately looking at ultra short throw projectors. short throw projectors are the only projectors that are really right for this installation, because you could put them right up to the wall, they have a very big coverage, and people could get very close without casting shadow. Now the wall in the sight was also had a curve on it. So this would create an even more immersive experience. So once we had all of our hardware and our software, we also had to find a computer that would run the software as well as all three projectors. For that we decided to use an Intel milk, which is a small about an $800 computer, as well as an Internal SD card so that it can actually hold and store the projects once the design team delivered them to us. So once we got all of our stuff, and we set it up on our building, it worked. But then we had to install it in the site and start like you know, running logistics on how everything was going to fit. With short throw projectors, we had to make sure that they were mounted properly, that they were mounted precisely the right amount away from the wall that they had the right overlay. For this, we created kind of animations in unity that had the throw of these projectors as well as where they'd sit on the ceiling. And it was a lot of math, more math than I'm accustomed to doing and filmmaking. But it was really awesome when we got it to work. And so finally, when we were finished, we had projection wall panels, which were also on a timer so that they wouldn't confuse the visitor. And it would also say what was coming up next. And so before we started, you all saw what the exhibit looked like before. And now we can show you what the exhibit looked like after. So what was really interesting is that when it was all said and done, when the projection mapping was done on the floors were done, when the panels were done on the bathrooms were done, our exhibit literally covered the entire area from floor to ceiling, and we were able to put about four buildings worth of information into the small building. It was also interesting working with him as historic site, because we're incorporating new technologies with a very old and very important culture in history. And with that, before we leave, I'm gonna hand it back to them.

Unknown Speaker 14:26
All right, and so one thing that I didn't mention is just like the significance of the panels being digital, that allows the Pueblo and the researchers at the site to change the content almost immediately. So as archaeology is done, or the same as people, you know, explore their own culture and sharing their own culture. It can be updated right away. So before we go to questions, we have something we'd like to share a little piece of New Mexico with you guys. Since we can't give you dirt from the historic site because it'd be illegal. We have some some dirt that is from the from the air Yeah, and it's the red paymaster. So we'd love for you guys to take a little part of New Mexico home with you. Now we'll open to the floor for questions.

Unknown Speaker 15:11
I think I have to do the microphone.

Unknown Speaker 15:16
Hello. I was wondering if you, some of you, project managers could speak to the process that you went through in, in sort of gathering content from the hemas people that you were working with. And then and going back and forth in terms of getting, getting things like approved and ideas, approved concepts, approved things like that.

Unknown Speaker 15:45
Everyone, in this way.

Unknown Speaker 15:48
So with with this project, we were actually very fortunate to be working with Ethan, Ethan had worked with pick before and was familiar with the department, we really just had to be key on communicating though it was a lot of back and forth, it was a lot of travel, we visited the site dozens of times just to make sure that we are getting everything right. And fortunate for us to tribal members were also employees for the historic site. And so that we can work closely with them, making sure that we're being culturally sensitive, but also doing everything that they they were wanting.

Unknown Speaker 16:24
And so this was a unique situation to compared to other sites that we've worked at, because the Pueblo of CMS actually has an MOU with the state government. And so they're partial managers of the site. So without having to go through a formal review process we had on site, people that were able to, you know, go ahead and give approval right away.

Unknown Speaker 16:50
First of all, amazing DIY effort, combined with skill and talent, great work. Can you talk about the creative process? And how you worked together sorting through ideas? How did you get to the decisions about what to represent here?

Unknown Speaker 17:07
So I had worked with picked before on a different project. And when we first you know, meet the clients, and we know what kind of technologies we have available to us, we have brainstorming sessions. So when we do brainstorming, again, we consider what we have available to us how much time we have and what the clients need. For instance, when the video team started to pitch ideas, we were thinking about, like some Pepper's Ghost stuff, some holograms, maybe some projection mapping that projects onto other objects. And so once you go through this whole process, you take these ideas, and you kind of filter those and some of them I've noticed become amalgams of each other. Like the projection wall panel, it was basically we had the idea to project images on the wall, and then the wall panels, were just going to be separate. So we put them together. And so it's really just a process of just being, you know, brainstorming, thinking of anything, there's no limits. We have an idea. And if we agree that that's what we're going to do we find out how to do it. And it worked. So that's good.

Unknown Speaker 18:13
Yeah, well, we in working together, luckily, we have like a really close knit department, because this was all done within one semester. And by the time we actually started, it was probably around midterms. And the time we ended, it was probably about two minutes before they cut the ribbon.

Unknown Speaker 18:36
And so just like every other exhibit.

Unknown Speaker 18:40
And so the Teamwork was super key. And it was super important. But thankfully, we just have really like working together. And we have a really cool building that we can stay in as late as we

Unknown Speaker 18:49
want. And I could just add to that real quick. Well, we were giving a presentation from some of the tribal members and presenting our ideas. And we had finished and one of the members stood up and said, So what year is this going to be finished in? And the due date was like two months away from that presentation. So modem, yeah, it was very interesting.

Unknown Speaker 19:10
I have a quick question, actually. So obviously, you had been working together to work on this particular exhibit. But have you guys, what have you learned from this exhibit? And are you hoping to iterate and use that in other areas along the side as well? Are you working on other spaces? Currently?

Unknown Speaker 19:30
Yeah, actually, um, I think the biggest takeaway for me from the site was how important it is to tell people's stories the way that they want to be told. So in looking at other projects, I personally am really trying to recognize these places where stories that haven't been told or have been told incorrectly need to be told the correct way. I think another really inspiring, inspiring piece of this project was just the fact that this is a situation that not only gets young people in the door and involved it's a Unity Center as well. So they can still use this space for those kinds of things.

Unknown Speaker 20:08
This was my second time working on this. And again, like, I think the biggest lesson that I took away is that you must be sensitive to the needs of your clients because you really need to represent them properly. And also doing studies, you know, that doesn't happen a lot. And so it was really gratifying to make sure that this content was not only really awesome and use modern technology, but it was also very in line with what they needed from the onset of the project.

Unknown Speaker 20:35
I'm interested in how you decided or how you negotiated who would represent them as people and approve your designs. Because often, in these historical collaborations you end up with like, I represent the group No, I represent the group no with somebody else. And, and I'm amazed that all went so smoothly with two people who worked at the center and nobody else came forward and said those aren't the right people to be approving. I should be approving.

Unknown Speaker 21:02
So we we invited the they do several meetings throughout the process. And we invited the whole tribal governor, governor's, so that's three governors at any given time at Amis pueblo. And they represent kind of the different ethnic groups within the village itself. And those people are selected by the Pueblo. So I think that they felt like those guys thought that it was good that everyone thought it was good. And then by us drawing in the the individual stories like Marlon and Brenda, and you know, I think the work that they did so good. So well to draw in all of these diverse perspectives from the village is kind of what made everyone say like, yeah, that's, that's good stuff. But again, hey, this is a unique situation, because we have eight properties and this, like, they don't go that smooth in terms of consultation, so that it was a really, you know, fun thing to work on.

Unknown Speaker 21:58
I have a couple questions about the floor one, is that a single sheet or was it paneled? And the second question is, if there was one go for printing? What was the prototype? Like? What did you prototype with?

Unknown Speaker 22:12
Oh, that's great question. So I'll start with, that's actually those are separate pieces that we mapped out together. The really tricky thing about that floor is that those polls aren't even either, and they're not, they're not aligned with each other. And so the floor was actually a little bit tilted in our design. So it's not an even line either. But it looks beautiful. And prototyping, we actually have a laser, we're fortunate to have a laser cutter at our school. And so we did laser cut laser engraved in house for prototyping. And that was what we brought to the community. And then we just really met with the company that we worked with, and we really, we had the greatest help from Lauren Kinzinger from old wood and we just worked really closely and we've measured a million times, many times. It's just a little bit different.

Unknown Speaker 23:17
A couple of things. The if you want to come to him as I'm talking to Eric Longo right now he's like about MCN in New Mexico and 2021 so if you want to Hassey MCN in New Mexico get your voice heard. There's a lot to see and we'd love to host everybody there on site at him as or any of our other historic properties and whatnot. And then finally we really want we really do want to share a piece of New Mexico with you so for you leave if you want to take a little bottle of red hair, Mr. Great and also our students, Becca and Ollie and Terrence are here. If you want to talk to them anymore about Project