Emma’s Arty July News and Views
In my May News and Views, I looked at how major retail chains are using digital media to engage shoppers and entice them back on to the high street. Museum and gallery spaces are also following suit.
Visitors to the Natural History Museum's Darwin Centre can now pick up NaturePlus cards, which allow users to record highlights of their museum visits that can then be accessed online at home. The NaturePlus cards operate using a barcode function; so if you are particularly keen to learn about polar bears, you’d swipe your card against the barcode next to this feature, and once home enter your NaturePlus card number online to continue your learning.
The NaturePlus cards are free, and allow users to set up their own NaturePlus account. Here you can join forums to discuss the latest nature related topics. Most of the forums seem to be concerned with subjects such as parasitic wasps...check them out here.
These cards are effective in that they offer visitors an increased sense of engagement both in and out of the museum, and they are perhaps particularly useful for school teachers and children, to encourage interactive learning online.
Another great example of technology enhancing the museum experience can be found in the Museum of London’s ‘Dickens in the Dark’ app. The museum launched an iphone and ipad app to coincide with their ‘Dickens in London’ exhibition that ran from December 2011 to June of this year. Users who downloaded the app were taken on ‘a dark journey through London’ as Dickens knew it, in an interactive illustrated graphic novel. Issues of the novel were released monthly throughout the course of the exhibition (to reflect how Dickens released his work), and all editions were placed on an 1862 map of London, allowing comparison with the London of today. Check it out here.
And now on to a not so great example of technology within the museum space. In 2011 The Suckinenne Museum (one of the oldest in Poland) offered its visitors the chance to view its artworks in a different light, through the screens of their smart phones. After scanning their phones against QR codes on the museum walls, visitors were able to see the paintings as pieces of ‘augmented reality’, coming to life as actors played out the ‘stories’ behind each piece in a video format. I’m not sure that this use of technology actually enhances the viewing experience; rather it distorts the original meaning of the work, and seems more of a ‘gimmick’ than a learning experience. Just my opinion, but view the promotional trailer here and make up your own mind.
To round up this Digital art and museum special, I’d like to talk about s(edition), a new website which is offering it’s users the chance to set up their own digital art collection. Working in conjunction with artists such as Tracey Emin and Matt Colishaw, members can browse the collection for free and then purchase their favourite pieces to display across a variety of platforms and devices. The idea is to make high resolution digital art affordable and accessible for use in the office or home.
Find out why the artists have chosen to get involved here.
I’m a big fan of this idea and think that it makes sense that the art world embraces all things digital. Can we purchase a 'piece' for the Futureheads office?