Technology has a way to change the way we interact within public space, even if it doesn’t change our behavior. Or wait– I think I have that backwards. Maybe I should just say that technology does stuff while we do stuff in public. Well that doesn’t really say anything. Regardless, one thing we do in public is learn about the art and artifacts housed inside museums. Launched last year, the Google Art Project now allows us to virtually explore acres of gallery space all over the world, but it doesn’t feel as unique or exciting as the experience of seeing an artwork in person. It feels like we’re just looking at technology. But the Local Projects’ recent work for the Cleveland Museum of Art creates a new and more nuanced relationship between artwork and viewer.
There are fun moments where the most absurd face you can make will be matched with faces in the museum’s collection, but also robust ways to organize your visit with the help of an iPad app or 40′ touchscreen. It happens to the the largest (microtile) touchscreen in the United States, an exciting technological feat. But all the technology embedded in the museum isn’t just a glamed up CES, it’s fostering new interactions between visitors and the works that the museum collects. And even if I’m not sure I would flail myself around like a marionette in public, I would definitely make absurd faces and let the museum find my doppelgänger.