FRIDAY Fast Five: Admiring from afar - art and the web

Long weekends mean many good things (sleeping is probably the most important) but it also means that I have time to do things like spend endless hours on the web. In an attempt to rationalise this as a highly productive thing to do, I've dedicated a bit of that time to looking at some interactive arty things online. 

1. Peabody Essex Museum's Turner's Mood-o-meter

If we could eliminate Kiwimeter from the equation, I actually really love a good pointless/meaningless personality quiz. Ones that I have yet to discover but would very much like to include - Which 90s Sitcom character are you? (I would be super effed off if I didn't get Uncle Jesse) or Which Hair Metal song are you? (a friend once declared that, at that moment in time, he was No more Mr Nice Guy). So Peabody Essex Museum's Turner's Mood-o-meter really put a smile on my face. The interpretive team "wanted people to think about Turner’s power to communicate emotion and how the paintings made them feel.  We created  a visual quiz that diagnoses people’s “mood” and then “prescribes” them a Turner painting to suit that mood with the encouragement to explore these works on a deeper level. Moods were derived from the four temperaments (which were being used during Turner’s lifetime to describe moods): sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic, melancholic and also added sublime and joyful."

My result. A beautiful Turner AND a new word for the day. 

My result. A beautiful Turner AND a new word for the day. 

2. Art UK's Art Detective

Art UK shows the nation’s entire oil painting collection in public ownership, photographed by Art UK (working as the Public Catalogue Foundation) over a ten year period. Working closely with collections up and down the country, Art UK completed the digitisation programme in late 2012, by which point it had recorded over 210,000 paintings from over 3,000 collection venues.

Art Detective is a kind of crowd-sourcing platform - it invites the public to engage in discussions with each other and 'experts' about the digitised works: "These discussions are assigned to Groups with a specialist interest. Groups cover subject matter such as portraits, maritime history, Scottish art etc. Each Group Leader has an established reputation in the subject area, who will be responsible for leading discussions through to a conclusion. Firm or qualified conclusions will then be sent to the respective collection that owns the painting. Collections may decide not to accept this recommendation. Art UK will post the final conclusion, informing everyone whether or not the Art UK website will be amended."

Crowd-sourcing is an increasingly important tool for busting open cultural organisations and flipping the tradition visitor/organisation power relationship by essentially relinquishing ownership of knowledge. I really dig Art Detective's kaupapa, but I would be really interested to know if it is successful in engaging and encouraging new and diverse visitors...judging by the discussion threads I would be inclined to think not...

3. Tate Britain's After Dark

This is such a future, cool thingee and something I'm would love to experience, not just for its techie appeal but because I've never visited the Tate . Basically it was a live stream after hours tour courtesy of a bunch of robots with cameras attached to them accompanied by live commentary from a bunch of IRL human experts. To add to the coolness, a few randomly selected viewers were given control over some of the robots, dictating where they roamed and what they saw. Madness. 

4. VanGo Yourself 

I've never actually heard of the term 'Cultural Selfie.' Apparently the term was coined by the media to describe the act of recreating a painting and uploading it to social media alongside the original. Enter VanGo Youself. The site first asks you if your 'tired of just looking at a painting?' And then encourages you to 'channel your inner artist' by selecting an image from the site (over 100 paintings which vary in levels of difficulty), recreate the scene, upload it to VanGo Yourself and they will 'twin' your picture with the original, when you will join the VanGo'd Gallery and the VanGo Youself Tumblr. We probably all know by now that looking isn't enough. As the Instagram, selfie-loving creatures we are today, we actually need to become. We've also learned that this can be really, really contentious territory a la Boston Museum of Fine Art's "Kimono Wednesdays." I am yet to hear of a VanGo Yourself controversy...

Oh  - and there is a work included by a New Zealand artist - Zena Elliot's Guy with car.

5.  Minneapolis Institute of Arts ArtStories 

“ArtStories invites you into an interactive, in-depth conversation about great artworks, from hidden details to secret backstories. Zoom in. Dive deep. ArtStories is a web app. It’s available on iPads in the MIA galleries, and it’s also optimized for your smartphone or computer. Try it on your personal device as you explore the galleries or from the comfort of home.”

What they said. It's a pretty cool tool. They don't seem too far along in the project but I definitely had a deeper engagement with the works I looked at than I do with most online collections. There are multiple tabs for each work which feature extra information and resources about the work, the artist, the culture etc. Even videos of curators talking about the works. Definitely life-giving and that's pretty cool.

On that note, PHEW. I'm finally off to enjoy the long weekend after a somewhat trying day. This song is completely unrelated to the above content but eff it I do what I waaaaant. And cos Rihanna, right? Happy Easter folks x