Technology is transforming how people interact with history and heritage, providing unparalleled insight into our past. From deciphering ancient manuscripts with image processing and machine learning, right through to the recent 3D modelling of priceless artefacts and creating interactive exhibitions. Museums are remodelling their existing approaches to art, incorporating technology not just to improve exhibitions but to expand and even breakdown the notion of what is art in a time of easing lockdown measures in the UK.
The digitisation of documents, for example, is playing a key role in preservation; with museums, libraries and private collections around the world using technology to enhance their capabilities and ensure that historic documents will still be accessible in decades, even centuries to come. There is a mass digitisation across the world and an example of this can be seen from a handwriting recognition technology known as Transkribus. This image processing and machine learning processing software helps produce transcripts of hand-written archival material. With more than 22,000 users worldwide, Transkribus showcases how tech can have an enormous impact in this field and simplify previously arduous, time-consuming processes.
On a deeper level, however, technology is helping to open cultural heritage to new generations, with people from around the world now able to draw upon resources to gain a clearer understanding of the world they live in.
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.
The Internet of Things
An IoT ecosystem is important in the heritage and arts sector. 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 behaviours and interests, as well as, measuring a collection’s performance, moving beyond the number of visitors and revenues.
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. 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.
Digital Products in the Museum and Gallery Space
London has a fantastic art scene, but finding temporary exhibitions while on the move can be difficult. Many exhibitions are only around for a short time meaning art fanatics often miss out, as they don’t know when or where various exhibitions are occurring. Our team at Borne collaborated with gowithYamo to create a free app which connects inspired art lovers with the best nearby exhibitions in all major cities. Built with user needs in mind, the app was designed to help users discover art galleries and exhibitions around their specification and all over London.
The app was designed to help users discover art galleries and exhibitions around specific locations and all over London. The focus was to ensure users could discover exhibitions they otherwise may not have known about. Our team at Borne are currently collaborating with gowithYamo in exploring virtual exhibitions for people that cannot may not have access to these exhibitions, especially as lockdown measures are gradually lifted in the UK. By museums and galleries incorporating tech into their marketing strategy, these spaces will become more accessible. Capitalising on rapid technological advances will be key to cultural heritage preservation in years to come.
Through the adoption of emerging technologies, the humanities will be a key component in shaping the future of society. By enabling people to immerse themselves in the past and the arts, we can gain a clearer view of our present and future.