We wrapped up our second M+ Hackathon in March, and, like our first, it was refreshing, vibrant, and inspiring.
This time around, we were pleased to add onto our existing open dataset and share over 4,000 records. These records encompassed over 5,000 objects, and included archival items for the first time. We also expanded the data fields that were released and included colour metadata. All of these records are viewable on our new Collections Beta website at collections.mplus.org.hk.
Some firsts and some seconds
Even if you’ve held a hackathon before, you never know exactly what’s going to happen at one. In this edition, which was hosted at Eaton House, we experienced some new and exciting differences, including:
- Our first remote participant, giving us ideas on future potential editions
- Participants who were interested in contributing amazing ideas, but not necessarily interested in presenting
- One of our returning participants joining us as a judge (👋 Andrew)
- Not one but two (!) of the final projects used game elements in their designs
We also saw more:
- Serendipitous connections forged through the event *I call people exchanging numbers a win📱*
- Live coding by our facilitators, this time by Dan Catt, who created a version of the Eaton House cushion patterns by using colour metadata from the API
- Interesting data visualisations and ways of viewing the M+ Collections
Gamification and the M+ Collections
The winning projects of this year’s hackathon had two things in common: they were geared towards helping people explore and understand the collections, and they added a gaming element to facilitate this.
The runner-up project was by the team HK Nova, who created an M+ version of the popular board game, Codenames. This playful online interactive is meant for a group — where one ‘captain’ describes objects to a team that has to guess which ‘cards’ to flip over. If you flip over the assassin or an agent from the opposing team, you lose. This means that you have to carefully describe what different artworks have in common. See a clip of us playing it live at the event below.
Steps, the M+ Collections, and Cantonese Slang
The winning project by Team Cloud was a play on the ten-thousand-step challenge, helping future visitors explore artworks and objects in the soon-to-be finished, enormous M+ building once it opens. This thoughtful engagement took into account the fact that sometimes visiting a museum is an overwhelming experience.
How can we make big museums easy to access, fun, and family-friendly? Team Cloud created a series of playfully themed walking tours of the M+ Collections that helped break down the museum experience into different journeys inspired by Cantonese slang and idioms:
- People Mountain People Sea / 人山人海 (yan saan yan hoi）
- No Money No Talk / 冇錢冇得傾 (mou chin mou dak king)
- Cat Slave / 貓奴 (maau nou)
- Single Dog / 單身狗 (dan san gau)
During each of these walking tours, visitors would intermittently reach an ‘Infinity Passport’ stop where they would be prompted with a question about an object in the gallery and could collect a sticker for their passport. They would then be able to select one of two options for their next stop. At the end of their journeys, there would be opportunities for further engagement via workshops to create art, help with interpretation, and the ability to share their experiences online.
A wealth of creativity
These weren’t the only amazing projects that were presented at the hackathon, though. The variety of projects in this hackathon edition were all extremely impressive, and our judges had a hard time in selecting our winners. Here are some other highlights:
- A colour-driven detective journey through the M+ Collections
- A geographic exploration of artworks in the M+ Collections
- A ‘build-your-own’ collection experience of artworks
- An interactive 3D visualisation of artworks in our open data set
- A series of posters showing the primary colours of each decade in the M+ Collections
- A mobile app that included a chatbot and personalised data, visualising an individual’s journey through M+
Until next time…
Serious props to everyone who participated in the event. There was a lot of critical thinking about how to create meaningful projects, and that really came through in the end presentations.
Special thanks to our facilitators, George Oates and Dan Catt, and our venue sponsor, Eaton House, for helping us deliver such a fantastic event. Thanks also to our panel of judges: Hester Chan, Curator of Collections at M+; Andrew Crowe, Technical Director of Metaobjects; Lara Day, Senior Manager, Digital and Cross Platform Content at M+; Jane Pong, Data Visualisation Journalist from the Financial Times; and Ashley Lee Wong, Artistic Director of Metaobjects.