In 2018, Culturespaces was one of the forerunners to pick up on the trend and opened its Paris digital art center, Atelier de Lumieres. In less than a year more than 1.2 million visitors flocked to the museum, and the immersive factory-turned-art space even starred in the Netflix hit show Emily in Paris! Its popularity has allowed Culturespaces to expand to South-Korea, Dubai and soon also New York with new immersive art experiences. And there are more similar digital exhibition projects popping up around the world.
Here are four reasons why you too should embrace the potential of technology in your exhibition.
1. New exhibitions at the flick of a switch
Repeat visits are one of the main targets and at the same time an important challenge for tourist attractions and destinations managers. Museums are cultivating memberships and committed visitors through various ways, one being the renewal of their content and exhibition offering on a regular basis. The promise of a new unique experience every time they visit, can be a key motivator for visitors to return to your destination.
Now, imagine you could completely reinvent your museum in an instant. No expensive re-modelling. No need to close for weeks while you move in and set up new collections. Just flick a switch and you have an entirely new exhibition. That's exactly what happens in the before-mentioned Atelier de Lumières. Using the Barco projection technology, the digital art museum in Paris can effectively reinvent its space with seasonal exhibitions, focusing on a different artistic master each year, each quarter or even each month if desired, to encourage repeat visitors.
2. It's a new generation
According to MuseumNext, a leading online magazine for the sector, "technology can act as a useful conversation starter and marketing tool (...) [encouraging] people to experience the depths of what a museum has to offer." This is applicable to the concept of recurring visitors, but also when talking about new younger audiences like millennials and Gen Z. Last year, these two generations made up over 60% of Earth's population. That's a lot of potential museum visitors... if you know how to reach them!
Museums that thrive in the 21st century understand the needs of these younger generations, speak their language and sync with their interests. The power of social media is certainly worth mentioning as a vital element in the museums' journeys to stay relevant to the audiences of tomorrow. (If you want, you can find more details on this in this e-book e-book.) Since millennials and their younger counterparts are more tech-savvy than any other generation, leveraging visualization technologies to exhibit art can be an extremely useful way to engage with these digital natives and to make museum visits more appealing. And who knows, the digital art experience might even be a trigger to go and see the original works.
3. 2021 trends: 'Artainment'
If I really want to see the mysterious smile of the Mona Lisa right now, I could just Google it or take a virtual tour in the Louvre... When everything is readily available online to be watched at any time, museums should think about what their added value is. Art is not only the object; it's the experience. People often come to museums because they just want a fun day out, hence, the museum visit should be a unique entertaining experience.
And so one of the biggest global trends for visitor attractions in the coming years is 'Artainment': the combination of art and entertainment. It's technology-enabled immersive experiences that allow you to do more than just watch the paintings; you can walk through the landscapes, breath the atmosphere and really interact with the works. The technology can help tell stories behind the creations, give us a glimpse into the lives of the creators and stimulate our emotions.
The trend is closely connected with the fast-growing experience economy driven by the younger generations. In a Euromonitor survey, 78% of the Millennials and Gen Zs said they'd choose to spend money on a desirable experience or event over buying something desirable. And according to Bruce Peterson, Founder and CEO of Grande Experiences, an Australian company that creates multi-sensory art installations and immersive experiential gallery concepts like the Barco-powered Lume, "this next-generation digital art gallery (...) is perfectly positioned to serve the world's growing appetite for authentic and meaningful shared experiences".
4. International accessibility
To conclude, using technology to digitize and showcase iconic works also makes them more globally accessible. (And even more so, if you combine it with the trend of travelling exhibitions.) By using technology to visualize art, visitors get the opportunity to explore the masterpieces, while the original works can stay in their home base. A larger number of people get to experience the art, simultaneously in multiple places.
In March of this year, Exhibition Hub launched a brand-new project, Gustav Klimt - The Immersive Experience, in the Brussels Horta Gallery, Belgium. The most famous works in the oeuvre of the Austrian Art Nouveau painter are for the most part exhibited in different Viennese museums. But thanks to the wonderful world of immersive technologies and Barco visualization, the Belgian people can also experience Klimt's works in all its splendor. Exhibition Hub's concept is to move their exhibitions to different cities around the world, so keep an eye out for one coming to a place near you.
Potential challenges & conclusion
Last year we sat together with four museum experts to discuss their views on the future of museums. Arnold Van de Water, partner at Factorr and acting as general manager of the touring Meet Vincent van Gogh Experience, indicates that there's a difference in museums in terms of being open to new ideas: "Science & natural history museums have the drive towards innovative technology, it's in their DNA. Whereas, art museums traditionally tend to be more conservative." Still, we see technology playing an increasingly important role in establishing (art) museum experiences in the future.
But before you start your Musetech adventure, there are some things to keep in mind. In this article we summed up the experts' three tips to include technology in your museum.
In conclusion, when used correctly, new visualization technologies are a great way to enrich the visitor experience and increase the success of your museums. Check out the Barco portfolio for more inspiration, or reach out for more information.