Our new normal underscores the importance of curated virtualisation of exhibits to cultivate engagement, while art galleries go quiet, museums close, and retail spaces limit gatherings.
Some common challenges to achieve a virtual gallery experience include optimising digital technology to share collections, scale-up, reach to target audiences, and providing all-around coverage without losing authenticity.
Photograph by: Igor Miske
How will digitalisation expand the definition of the gallery experience?
How will online galleries broach the grander art landscape and embody the objectives of its institutions? Can an online gallery ever be an acceptable replacement for a physical visit to walls of paintings, corridors of artifacts?
To unpack the concept of a gallery itself within the context of art displays and museums, the conventional definition is inextricable from a location-based, spatial experience; it is to enter a building wherein valuable objects of expression are housed, curated, and showcased to an audience.
An online gallery breaks the fifth wall of what an audience expects to experience within the boundaries of a physical gallery. Virtual galleries amplify the impact of an exhibition by expanding access to visitors anywhere to experience compelling stories.
Without the limits of location or constraints of space, curation can utilise digitalisation to create a personalised connection between artefacts of institutions and visitors.
Photograph by: Stale Grut
Photograph by:Juan di Nella
How could an online gallery help to present the exhibits better?
Galleries mustn’t be distracted by novelties of emerging technologies, in order to focus on their core purpose in using an online medium to bridge a meaningful connection between exhibits and the audience.
In the long run, galleries nurture wider spectrums of experience through the appreciation and preservation of important cultural moments in time. To align with this objective, key features of digitalisation include measurement and personalisation.
Engagement metrics that can be captured, aggregated, and analysed are useful to design future iterations.
While respecting personal data regulations, we can develop a more personal, curated story for the audience. For example, narratives can be adjusted to the demographic profile of the viewers; students, tourists, and even connoisseurs of art will appreciate a personalised experience attuned with their interest in the gallery.
By addressing multiple audiences, we showcase more customised language to engender learning and engagement.
Photograph by:Kari Shea
Creative ideas abound to digitally connect galleries to their audiences via online content such as: web-based interactive content, artifact virtualisation, experimental microsite, Virtual Reality (VR)/ Augmented Reality (AR)/ Mixed Reality (MR) content.
Some engagement ideas: Tik Tok/ Instagram campaign, Zoom storytelling, Facebook live events with live Q&A, YouTube interviews with the curators/artists themselves, or virtual gallery tours hosted by exhibition curators, online workshop, etc.
To prevent medium fatique, the only options are to stay creative, keep innovating, and brave some form of experimentation.
Social Media Live Event
The Uffizi, Florence
Photograph by:Adrian Deweert
Here at EXD Lab, we are excited about experimenting and developing innovative ways to expand the spectrum of possibilities to develop meaningful storytelling, preservation and amplification of the gallery experience.
Let’s have a meaningful discussion for collaborative opportunities; together, we can create impactful and meaningful portraits of an amalgamated online and offline world.
Photograph by:Liza Rusalskaya, Graphic by: EXD
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