April 13-17, 2010
Denver, Colorado, USA

Demonstrations: Description

Modular Perspectives: Scholar | Explorer | Dreamer: Tate Online's Collection Concept

James Davis, Tate, United Kingdom

This demonstration explores how an online database of art has been reconceived as a rich, flexible and dynamic experience. Using an approach we call 'modular perspectives' the collection database has been reimagined as a powerful, personalizable vision of art.

Collections of art hold a prized position in the cultural pantheon. Emotive, beautiful, offensive or priceless, viewing great art for the first time is rarely forgettable. But online collections of art have to date merely been database references to the works, simple snapshots or academic analyses. They do not cater for taste or variations in knowledge, unknown gems remain relatively rare to encounter, epiphanies even more so.

We base our solution on the following 3 issues:

  1. Visitors differ
  2. Collections are untapped
  3. A reference is not enough

    Tate is repositioning its online collection offering in several ways:

    Firstly by allowing for tailored views on the collection. Those who wander in physical galleries benefit from certain non-linear freedoms, but are still bound by architecture and curation. Online we can change shape, idea and the window you look through.

    Secondly by generating contextual enquiries from data about works and artists. By inferring useful sets of related information from a given context we maximise serendipitous encounters with unknown and rare works and artists.

    Thirdly, by giving greater credence to media of artworks. By actively rejecting the assumed difference between a physical work and its online form, we are promoting the possibility that a visitor can experience the work in a way more profound than a previous database reference.

    Our solution therefore takes these 3 assumptions:

    1. You can choose how you see
    2. You can encounter the unknown
    3. You can experience art online

    Demonstration: Demonstrations - 1 [Close Up]

    Keywords: art, collection, gallery, database, context, module, perspective