17 museums around the world are now representing the ambitious Google Art Project, launched on the 1st of February 2011. The idea of the project originated in London, where most museums have no fees, and therefore the project may be regarded as part of a culture of free global sharing. For more, see the official website http://www.googleartproject.com/ .
The Bosa Bosa Review also recommends a recently published article, Carly Berwick, Up Close and Personal with Google Art Project, in Art in America (April 2011, pp 23-24).
What participating museums and virtual visitors enjoy about the Google Art Project :
● Free access: it is free for participants and free for users (According to Carly Berwick, “during the first two weeks after Googleartproject.com launched, 20,000 new visitors arrived at MoMA’s website via the Google site. (Average weekly traffic is 310,192.)”).
● High-resolution: it brings Google’s gigapixel image-capturing capabilities and Street View technology into the museum.
● Integration of social networking: online visitors can make a personal gallery from the participating museums and share it with others.
Matters of possible concern in Japan:
● Availability of virtual tours discouraging visits at the museum and payment of fees.
● Copyright issues: getting permission for sharing is not always likely to happen.
● Lack of demand on the social networking stage, as virtual interaction is better defined by a culture of short-texting than by one of sharing images.
In order for art in Japan to go locally educational and globally available, fresh energies ought to be channelled into:
● Encouraging free online interactive access to collections and galleries of a diverse, local and international audience of all ages. This sort of initiative can only be launched by firstly engaging into discussion with decision-making institutions and contemporary artists on the issue of free sharing.
● Allowing local high-technology to contribute to the art scene.
● Agreeing to the equal importance of sharing messages on viewable images.
The Bosa Bosa Review is looking forward to hearing about further developments in Japan, and hope that the Japanese art institutions will consider the Google Art Project and join it ere long.