The times when museums were static, dusty, tedious places that intimidated visitors are now long gone. The rule of keeping away from the artwork in galleries and respecting them in near-religious silence has been increasingly questioned, particularly in the field of contemporary art. Many artists want people to touch their installations; they want them to make noise and be involved as vital pieces of their art in a broader context specially designed for them. 

Interactive art wants to go beyond the limits of having viewers, transforming them instead into active visitors. Their intervention becomes an integral part of the artwork, reshaping the idea of art as something merely created by an inspired, lonely individual. In so doing, art becomes a collaborative work that refuses the stereotypical, alienated position of the isolated artist. Works of art become participatory and engaging. Interactive art challenges the authority of institutions; it is an explicit attempt to democratize this form of creativity. It reminds us that it exists to be seen, used, and experienced by people.

Once again, it’s easy to find similarities and intersections between art and technology. Interactive art and technology are both driven by the same urges and intentions. Like the tech world, interactive art installations try to reach as many people as possible. All of their efforts are centered on people in order to provide them with the best user experience. They are calibrated on the public and they change with them, mostly because they are products inspired by users’ needs. Furthermore, just like in open source software, the strongest aspect of interactive art is collaboration. This relational approach reminds us of the noblest motivation behind art and technology: connecting people.

This is why the creation of digitized, interactive environments is a powerful tool to make museums more fashionable, updated, and engaging spaces. Interactive art includes guests, immersing them in three-dimensional works of art like rooms covered with screens. They interact with exhibits through sound, cameras, personal devices, and even the internet. New technological discoveries are integrated into interactive art in different ways. One thing is certain: They help break the barriers between life and art. 

In our work, Technical Arts supports this collaborative and interactive idea of combining technology and the arts. We help museums improve their digital online presence and choose the tools to create the best digital offline spaces as well. 

In this article, we will introduce 3 interactive installations that have been created by contemporary artists for museums, art galleries, exhibitions, and art fairs. We want to be inspired and inspire you to use the best cutting-edge technologies for your museums. 

  1. The immersive Borderless Museum of teamLab collective

TeamLab, a pioneering interdisciplinary Japanese collective, creates authentically immersive spaces, where rooms are no longer divided by walls. Composed of engineers, CG animators, programmers, mathematicians, and architects, teamLab founded its personal museum in Tokyo in 2018: the Mori Building Digital Art Museum: teamLab Borderless. Here, visitors are immersed in a visionary, colored world, created through digital technology and graphic design. They can swim in a virtual pool, touch blooming digital flowers, and activate a forest of lamps just entering a room. The effect  notishing to envy compared to the more famous installation by Yayoi Kusama,  Infinity Mirrored Room – Filled with the Brilliance of Life, where viewers walk in a corridor of mirrored tiles. In these mesmerizing spaces, everything adapts according to human interactions.

  1. The interactive installations of Rafael Lozano-Hemmer 

Lozano-Hemmer creates participative spaces and interactive installations using technologies like computerized surveillance systems, computer-controlled lights, telematic networks, media walls, and robotics. As a scientist with a degree in physical chemistry, each of his installations becomes a sort of experimental platform that involves the audience. 

For example, in Zoom Pavilion, created in 2016 for the international Art Basel fair, the artist recorded images from 12 computerized surveillance systems pointed at the public and projected them on three walls. Visitors were detected by facial recognition artificial intelligence and projected in the room as art through disorienting zooming and close-ups. 

Everyone present was involved, questioning the actual relationship between their presence and the surrounding space. Each person was mapped and tracked by the controlling art installation. The environment of the art fair was completely transformed using these technologies and playing with the temporary passage of the public in the room.

  1. Augmented Reality and Museum Environment 

Museums can create interactive opportunities and improve relationships with visitors through augmented reality (AR). Artists know the potential of this tool, and they have used it on several occasions in cultural institutions. The collective MomAR, for example, created an app that uses augmented reality to transform the artwork on display at the Museum of Modern Art of New York, challenging the usual experience of this institution through technology. 

Tate Britain collaborated with Spark AR to create an Instagram filter that, when used while viewing works of art, reproduces a video that tells the story behind them. AR can also be incredibly useful for archaeological sites, recreating the original aspect of ancient spaces without being invasive. Technology then reshapes the traditional experience of a museum visit, transforming it into a multisensory event.

Investing in the digitalization for museums means enhancing the experience of the visitor while also enriching the artwork by increasing their didactical and historical value. The possibilities abound: mobile applications on smartphones, QR Code technologies, immersive holographic spaces, virtual tours of exhibitions, interactive devices installed in the halls, attractive websites, etc. 

Technical Arts has the right expertise to guide you through this important choice. We can develop the best digital strategies to improve the conservation, archiving, management, and guest experience of your art collection. A digitized space is an entertaining, inclusive place for all. We believe that museums play an active role in our society. Why shouldn’t their visitors also be active? This is what art and technology are made for.

Ideas Public Domain Images

teamLab: https://unsplash.com/s/photos/teamlab

Tomàs Saraceno interactive installations: https://unsplash.com/photos/R84Oy89aNKs