Virtual Reality technology is increasingly more sophisticated and powerful, and it’s predicted to fully hit the mainstream within the next year. In the performing arts VR has been adopted slowly, most commonly used for immersive experiences. However, there may be a lost opportunity: institutions can use VR simply to grow audiences.
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Shifting audience interests towards interactive and shareable experiences has led many museums to explore the potential of digital engagement tools. Given the costs and changes typically required for successful digital integration, museum staff must first ask themselves why their institution should consider investing in emerging technologies and what they hope to achieve from such an investment.
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Japanese startup Amadeus Code, an “artificial intelligence-powered songwriting assistant,” is the latest app that is riding the wave of A.I. art-generation. The algorithm scans a diverse database of popular music from the past 500 centuries (in theory - the earliest song this reviewer discovered was Schubert’s “Ave Maria” from 1825) and allows the user to specify the note range and length, drama, familiarity, and era. The app then creates a unique instrumental harmony based on these specifications, drawing inspiration from songs that have similar characteristics.
There are a lot of options for how people may choose to allocate their time, attention, and financial resources. To an extent there is competition in the cultural sector between museums, theaters, and other similar organizations, but external options, such as other forms of entertainment or educational technology, present a plethora of choices for the consumer. With that in mind, as we start the year let’s take a brief scan of what was hot in the tech world through the 2018 holiday season, and what appears to be on the horizon.
Heading into 2019, we find ourselves on the precipice of what some call Web 3.0 with other technologies extending far beyond the web. Technological change is advancing at quantum speed, with notable technologies likely to impact arts institutions significantly.
Public art in commercial and recreational structures is a means to bring communities together and directly connect people with the physical space around them. Typically, public art is presented in the form of murals, sculptures, architecture, and environmental art. In addition to social bridging, public artworks can serve as identity-markers for particular locations, mediums to express distinct points of view, and vehicles to inspire personal and social change.
Technical innovations are increasing opportunities for patrons who have low or no vision to engage with the arts. There are four dominant approaches for serving these members of the community: seeing through touch tours, beacon technology, audio description, and applications on personal devices.
Image credit: National Park Service
There is a significant distinction to be made between the traditional model of AI-generation - where an algorithm simply produces a piece of art - and a more interactive form of generation, where the algorithm is actually part of the art. The question then becomes, how can artwork that requires ongoing AI generation and adaptation can be integrated into the traditional marketplace?
Image source: Philip Beesley Architect Inc.