From thoughts on Google Art Project to my final project

After talking to you about my final paper topic, I started to think about when a specific technology is used in the museum or mixed with other media and technologies in the art history, how the way people interpret an artwork changes due to the technology’s affordance. Technology as a blackbox, is also interacted with other technologies and become a certain level of interface, through which people may interpret the artworks in a new context. Take Google Art Project as an example, like Procter mentions in the article, the gigapixel scanning is used for Google Art Project and makes it possible for people to engage with artworks in an intimate way and may see the details that can not be seen in the museum because of the place where the artwork is hung. Also, people use digital devices to avoid crowds and any other physical fatigue.

However, to use gigapixel scanning technology to mimic the interior spaces of different museums on a widespread scale also has its drawbacks and limitations. Scholars query what kind of understanding and interpretation people may have in the new context. Museum as a physical place for exhibiting artworks has its own institutional function, thus endows the exhibition many other meanings that are not included by the artists in their original artworks. Does digitalization process of a museum try to reflect the meanings that were given by the true physical museum or does it want to differentiate its function with physical museums?

Also, the Google Art Project also face many difficulties. The gigapixel capture technology itself costs a lot and high reproduction fee of some modern artworks is also an unavoidable issue. How much progress the medialization of museums, or, in other words, technologically representation of museums will have, and how similar projects or other technologies can be better used for people’s interpretation process remains to be uncertain.

Based on the mentioned thoughts, I decided to divide my final paper in the following structure:

  1. Raise the common interpretation question, for example, how do people interpret an artifact in a context.
  2. What’s the affordance of AR technology. How the AR technology can better specify the meaning of artwork and help people’s interpretation process from a certain perspective.
  • Introducing AR’s history or deblackboxing
  • Current application of the AR technology- (how many museums are using AR, what kind of artworks is using it, is it temporary or forever, tracing any database? )- use different museums as examples.
  • how can AR technology can be better used for different interfaces for the interpretation of artworks – suggestions for different museum cases (Art history, label, context)
  • Reality:What are the problems for the application AR technology in museum facing, what are the drawbacks?
  1. Conclusion and suggestions.


Kim Beil, “Seeing Syntax: Google Art Project and the Twenty-First-Century Period Eye.” Afterimage 40, no. 4 (February 1, 2013): 22–27.

Nancy Proctor, “The Google Art Project.” Curator: The Museum Journal, March 2, 2011.