The days of the old, stuffy, and pretentious museums are slowly becoming a relic of the past.
You might view the museum as a place for the wealthy to spend their yearly bonuses on overly minimal paintings that will be placed in storage, never to be seen again, except when the work appreciates and is up for auction. Yet, this is not the case anymore.
Ironically, the new technological landscape has demystified the world of art, making it both more accessible and engaging for onlookers than in previous decades.
Museums are remodeling their existing approaches to art, incorporating technology not just as a way to improve exhibitions but to expand and even breakdown the notion of what is art.
The Museum of 2019
A museum is not just a place to hang art. With almost 55,000 museums across the planet, the museum is where visitors go to experience new perspectives, to be challenged, to commemorate important moments from history, or simply a place to be awed and inspired.
From the emergence of new user interfaces to the trendy adoption of virtual reality technology, each of these technologies has pushed museums to change drastically; not just aesthetically but financially too.
With these new mediums at their disposal, curators and owners have tackled three major challenges in the exhibition art world; how to get people inside your museum, how to keep people in your museum, and how to embrace new artistic technology.
In short, museums have become fun, engaging, and memorable experiences for people of all ages. After this article, you might even want to go check out the latest art exhibition.
The New Museum Interface
Museums used to be the place of “no touching”. Do not touch the pieces, just look at them.
Yet, new technology and developments in user experience and user interface has completely flipped this notion on its head with some modern exhibitions encouraging to visitors to stay and even play with exhibits.
Art is no longer just a one-dimensional experience.
How do you keep visitors in your museum for the day? Have them play around with your exhibits all day.
In New York’s Metropolitan Museum, visitors may get the treat of interacting with a touch screen that provides historical information, or a gesture centered exhibit that requires you to move your body for it to even work.
Hand movements, steps, your touch, and even your voice could trigger a full audio-visual experience that will dazzle you with information and tell a narrative.
The experience design company Local Projects are experts at blending the physical world with the digital to create and to tell engaging stories.
In their commemorative museum for the tragedy of 9/11, the agency utilized various modern UI technologies to help enthrall visitors in the moving stories of those who suffered in NYC during September 11.
On the other side of the planet, in Japan, the ‘ultratechnologists’ teamLab have created a fully digital museum that engages all five of your senses, creating fully immersive experiences, that at times takes you into a completely different world.
The Internet of Things
An IoT ecosystem can be a godsend, in the world of museums. Whether through your own smart device or via technology provided by a museum, the internet of things helps curators not only tell more cohesive stories, but it also provides insightful data on visitors and exhibitions.
Dubbed the smart museum, the IoT interconnected gallery can do a host of things, including gaining insight on visitors by collecting data about their behaviors and interests, as well as, measuring a collection’s performance, moving beyond the number of visitors and revenues.
In short, a museum may be able to tailor an exhibition to your likes and interests. What you may see during an exhibition and what your friend might see could be two entirely different things in the museum of the future.
Though being slowly adopted in places like the Louvre, the IoT helps exhibitions and curators properly structure the flow, feeling and work on display in a gallery.
Artificial intelligence and art may not be something that you believe that coexists already, but it is here. Aside from using AI to improve the overall gallery experiences, curators are even looking to AI as the next artist to watch.
Just in 2018, a painting completed by GAN (Generative Adversarial Network), an AI entity, sold at the world famous auction house Christie’s for nearly $500,000 attracting the attention of the world.
AI has proven that it can create art that can rival some of the artistic greats. Even more so, the appeal of AI-generated art is tremendous, attracting fans from across the globe.
Who knows? Maybe your next favorite artist will be some AI system rather than Van Gogh.
Though it is still somewhat of an anomaly, AI in museums and in art is part of a bigger growing trend. Curators are hungry more than ever to find artists in this new digital frontier who are using technology to wow audiences.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Technologies
One of the most obvious new forms of new technologies, that will be infiltrating your local museum will probably be either virtual reality, augmented reality or a bit of both. VR and AR technology is already widely popular and is being incorporated into exhibitions.
Augmented reality is an excellent tool for museums interested in bridging the gap between the digital and real, displaying landscapes, data, and animations in real time.
Places like the Pérez Art Museum in Miami or the Kremer Museum have encouraged artists to use VR to provide unique full sensory experiences to on-goers.
While in more historical museums like the metropolitan museum, VR is used to transport people to different times and places for the ultimate immersive experience.
Ready to check out a few museums this summer? Do you have a favorite exhibition? Leave your comments below.