Mobile technologies are becoming a must among art museums from all over the world. A huge variety of devices are regularly offered to visitors for an enhanced experience of their on-site visits
Cell phones, iPods, PDAs, etc. are the very new substitutes of the not so old museum audioguides. Users find some advantages using their own devices: they can use them at any moment and place, in other words: not only in the museum physical space and opening schedule. Besides, museums can save a huge expense in maintenance and updating their technology. Museums only have to provide contents suitable for being downloaded from their websites.
But can these technologies substitute on-site experience? Listen David Lynch’s opinion about seeing films on a cell phone and try to remember your own daily experience with art museums.
I personally agree with Lynch’s opinion and with Steven Spielberg’s dislike about seeing films on the screen of a computer. However, thanks to these alternative ways of experiencing art, sometimes I could have that (incomplete) experience that otherwise never had been possible.
Who said internet and e-learning systems were necessary for museums of only Contemporary Art? See on the photo (if you are able) ‘La Gioconda’ at the Louvre Museum, Paris. If you want to meet her in person, surely you will thank some extra help.
The Louvre offers virtual tours on its website, but the one devoted to La Gioconda is even more frustrating than on site. Although the extremely famous painting appears without visitors, the software does not allow getting closer to the art work. Despite this fact, what is probably the most visited museum on the World only offers traditional information systems.
In addition to check the text and the images on the website (with very good quality,) the only supplementary information option to visitors provided by the museum is audio guides. After having to queue during long time and over on receipt of 5 euros and an ID deposit, visitors will be allowed to carry an uncomfortable portable cd player model during their visit. The other option is hiring a guide tour, which because of the amount of visitors, the noise and the real movement difficulty; includes a headset service to be able to hear guides’ explanations.
Maybe the logical alternative to this entire nuisance would be an additional podcast and/or vodcast service on the website of the museum, so people would arrive to the museum provided with their respective explanations to enjoy at the same time they appreciate art works or, who knows, they queue listening to some music customized by the very Gioconda.
Couple at De Young Museum of San Francisco (USA) using the audioguides-podcast service the museum offers. A cutting-edge image that however, closely relates the deepest tradition of American Art: see the similarities with the very famous Grant Wood’s painting American Gothic.
More information about De Young Museum podcasts at our Wikispace.