Museum technology: New Links to Interpreting, Presenting and Creating Art

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Session Title:

  • Facets of Electronic Art

Presentation Title:

  • Museum technology: New Links to Interpreting, Presenting and Creating Art

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Abstract:

  • ABSTRACT

    This presentation will discuss a university research project on contemporary art that is developing hardware and software solutions for critical problems in hypermedia computing, in particular navigation and interface design, authoring languages, and database development. In addition, the project seeks to examine and further the relationship between the visual arts and computer science by investigating the role of hypermedia in art education.

    Museum curators and exhibit designers are using interactive computer programs to present information about art. With the adoption of this technology, the curatorial philosophy of museums is shifting from an object orientation to an information orientation, and this shift will effect the way we interpret and define art, especially electronic art. This paper traces the evolution of computers in museums and discusses the impact that high-tech exhibits and the changing philosophical role of the museum will have on the endorsement of electronic art. Technological advances in museum exhibits, presentations, and research facilities will alter the aesthetic criteria for defining art and initiate important changes in the way we evaluate and market art. In the end, a new awareness and sensitivity to the creative and aesthetic dimensions of electronic media will emerge, along with a personal approach to interpreting art that redefines the relationship between art and ‘commodity’ and enhances the relationship between art and technology. For 25 years museum administrators have recognized the important role that computers can play in museums. Beginning in 1965, museums ranging in size from the Smithsonian Institution to small college museums began using computers to catalog their collections. From there, interest in exploring the potential for computers in museums led to the establishment of the Museum Computer Network (MCN) in 1967. Since then hundreds of museums have adopted some form of computer technology for museum management, research, or exhibit presentation. International conferences such as the Conference on Automatic Processing of Art History Data and Documents (Pisa, Italy) continue to provide support for the expanded use of technology in museums.

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