DreamPortThe international Institute of Antiques was invited to the Hermitage-Kazan center for a seminar-presentation» Museum of the future». Its main content was the presentation of innovative museum technologies. Chief curator of MIA Elena Vlasova discussed with the event organizer Maxim Makhmutov (Yekaterinburg, [DreamPort company]) the problems and coexistence prospects of traditional and innovative technologies in the Museum space. As practice shows, virtual modules are most in demand in memorial, technical, local history, etc.museums. Maksim Makhmutov explains this by the relatively small
number of Museum exhibits and the rare turnover of expositions.

–Maxim Valeryevich, who do you think virtual museums: are aimed at: remote visitors or real tourists who want to get more deeply acquainted with the Museum’s exhibits, look into the storerooms?

– I think that the virtual modules, firstly, are aimed at all those you have said, and secondly, they will combine these categories, that is, those who come will discover new facets of the Museum, get to know them from a new side, which will increase the influx of young people to museums. For people of the older generation, this is absolutely something new and incomprehensible, which is also great, since the Museum can provide an opportunity to get acquainted with innovative technologies through its collections. And if we talk about dividing people into those who came and did not come, so to speak, remote visitors, then with the help of new tools, the Museum will be able to turn remote users into real ones, show that it is worthy of coming to it, and there is something to see. Also, those who have objective obstacles to visit, for example, they live on another continent, will still be able to welcome to explore the collection, touch something worthwhile and beautiful. So, I think these technologies are for everyone, and it’s a very universal thing.

–Will it be possible to use innovative Museum technologies to create virtual reality not so much for the exhibition itself, but for items from storage facilities? After all, as practice shows, most of the art objects do not find their place in the exhibition areas due to their, for example, deplorable exhibition condition, which requires restoration intervention.

– Well, first of all, I think that yes, it is possible, and secondly, this is a great benefit of these technologies, because the exhibits that are somewhere in the storerooms, and which can not be restored for financial or other reasons, can be placed either in virtual reality, or apply augmented reality technology to them, retouching their appearance. Also, many museums suffer from a lack of exhibition space, putting up for demonstration no more than 10-15% of the collection. A virtual module can display all collections without taking up physical space in the Museum and without keeping its employees busy. The advantage is that the expositions will be absolutely flexible and universal in content. In addition, each Museum faces the problem of preparing a temporary exhibition for a certain date, their duration is short, and they take a lot of effort, and here again the virtual module is the most optimal. In addition, with the help of gadgets, a visitor to a virtual Museum can take Museum objects in their hands and move them in space, which, according to the authors of the technologies, contributes to a deeper perception of information.

– This work should be preceded by a detailed survey of each object from all angles, so that we can rearrange them, like pieces on a chessboard?

– You don’t need any special actions with them, just a specialist photographs the object, takes a panoramic video from all sides to get a three-dimensional image, and then during the modeling process, an analog of it is created, and you can work with it.

–But it will still take a long time?

– Yes, of course, but it is much faster, first of all, than to transfer the exhibit to restoration, to find a place for it, to include it in some kind of exposition. In addition, this is not the concern of Museum employees, but of technical specialists who implement the ideas of fine art experts and create a digital «product» for them.

– How will traditional and innovative museums coexist?

– – I think it will be very good, because, first, it is a huge field for cooperation, collaboration, new sponsorship, then I say this as a commercial tool, and secondly, they will be able to share categories of visitors, i.e., those who prefer a virtual exhibition can be invited from virtual modules in any real museums, and Vice versa. You need to understand that a virtual tour to the Museum does not replace a physical visit to the Museum, it just gives new facets for «living» this experience. Finally, for those people who are not ready to go to a Museum for physical or economic reasons, the virtual module can become a «window» to the world of art.

DreamPortAs you noted during the presentation: you watch the trailer about the Museum, find what is most interesting there, and then you really want to visit this Museum to see everything firsthand…

–Yes, this applies to those people who, roughly speaking, «do not get». Now museums are very modern, most interesting «communication hub» where a lot of interesting things happen, but the challenge, I think, is that the youth audience today receives information through digital means. The development of a new means of communication – virtual reality – will allow museums to talk to a young audience in the same language, proving that «we are interesting, we are cool, we сare and it is important». The older generation can understand this, but they will see an opportunity to switch to virtual reality, to understand that Museum does not stand still, and offers more interesting things.

– How do you see the introduction of technology in fine art museums, because computer graphics are not able to convey the skill of the artist, the texture of the painting and each stroke in particular?

– Yes, it is virtual, but thanks to virtual reality, we can create «collections» of masterpieces of great artists in our museum, develop the depths of their creativity. This will not be plagiarism, since digital copies of the same format with the same style of writing are as close as possible to the original and at the same time do not mislead visitors about their authenticity. At the same time, they can set off some paintings from the museum exhibition that belong to the same author, or written on a similar subject, etc. In addition, museums can create expositions that combine objects located in different places, which will allow the visitor to get more complete information, and museums to arouse interest in themselves by the fact that their space contains works by artists who adorn the Prado, the Louvre, the Hermitage, the Tretyakov gallery, etc.

Elena Vlasova

The source of publication: Information portal «World of Arts» (Moscow Kazan)