Updated: Nov 3, 2018
Cultural Heritage in Digital Age:
The digital age has played a major role in globalization, accessibility of information, source of new techniques and possibilities of how we want to preserve our 'Cultural Heritage'. Institutions that are collectively considered as a part of cultural heritage are libraries, museums, archives, historical sites and historical societies (Nwegbu et al. 2011). According to Kaul (2012 ) the advent of digital innovation in society has modernized the individual lifestyle and perception. The above image shows a vintage camera which has now been replaced by digital slr cameras and smart phones.
As a visual artist, I work in the digital platform on a daily basis and understand the true power of its potential. When I initially started my painting journey as an artist, I was able to create an online space for my work and reach to the audience in a much easier way than traditional method. The availability of social media has propelled the recipient awareness and opened new doors of opportunities to its users. One of the most beneficial aspects of the Internet, apart from vast array of information is the varied and newfound ways people can now connect.
It has empowered the society to embrace new innovations and to become a part of the new paradigm shift.
Today, the art institutions and museums are adopting new technologies to keep pace with the rapidly changing digital trend. An article in The Digital Trend talks about the adaptation of the new technology due to the digitization at ‘The Metropolitian Art Museum’ in New York City. The 145 year old museum houses one of the greatest art collections. Even being one of the most visited museum in the world, it is facing challenges to retain visitors in the age of ubiquitous smart phones and digital gadgets. This is why, many major museums along with Met are exploring new digital innovative methods to enhance the museum experience much more interactive and engaging for its visitors. Technologies such AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality), where people can engage and experience a whole new environment with actually not being present at the venue. With Wi-Fi access visitors can avail the mobile app for more information and audio guides, while at the same time uploading images to Instagram. The digital-media team is developing special digital content that talks about how the museum repairs damaged art.
Experiencing Augmented Reality (AR):
Recently, I have visited 'The Other Art Fair' organized by Saatchi Art 2018 in Kensignton, Melbourne. The exhibition housed many talented Artists. The most exciting experience for me was to see how creatively various Artists have incorporated digital media into their artworks. Its amazing how Artists are merging new media with traditional art techniques.This new aspect of digital innovation in the art industry is very refreshing to see.This digital innovation adds value in terms of the art experience and takes it to an entire new level.
Lets talk about the amazing global digital innovation in art restoration
Today, specialized innovative 3D technologies are also used to assist restoration of damaged and fragmented artwork and artifacts in the museum. Such one great example is the restoration of the Madonna of Pietranico, a terracotta statue that was severely damaged in the 2009 earthquake in L'Aquila, Italy (Arbace et al. 2013). The statue, fragmented in many pieces, has undergone a complex restoration performed by a multidisciplinary working group. The Statue has been given new life as a gift from New York's Italian American Museum. This is a great example how these new digital phenomenon is not only changing our perception of digital adaptation but also helping to restore and document cultural heritage.
Government Initiatives on Cultural Heritage in Australia: These innovations not only help to restore, archive and document cultural heritages but also helps to create a global awareness. The Australian Government’s heritage protection plan is also a great initiative that is being initiated by the Australian Government. It includes and creates community awareness on cultural heritage and restoration projects. The Community Heritage and Icons Grants Program is a key component of heritage protection that is incorporated through a digital portal. This digital portal not only helps to give an overview of the cultural importance, but also creates a scope for keen individuals to get involved.
The ambiguous potential of this digital phenomenon is imbricated and creating great opportunities to reach out
In the recent days, the user-generated environment and easy accessibility of information has become an internet-saturated culture. The extensive use of social media and the greater participatory environment in the cyberspace, may have risked the redundancy of the cultural heritage institutions.
If we take the example of the Google’s Art & Culture project it is a portal archiving a huge art collection from various artists and museum. A perfect example of digital innovation and cultural institutions merging together to bring a new experience to anyone having access to internet. People today find it comfortable to browse through the work without standing in a busy queue in a museum and skipping to pay an entry fee. This digital phenomenon has some how made the traditional museums experience seem uninteresting. But as mentioned before the cultural heritage institutions and the museum today are adopting new innovative methods to bring new change and adding value to the visitors experience .
If you look at the broader perspective-people today are much more aware, engaged and enlightened of the cultural heritage due the exposure of digital technologies.
The proper utilization of digital technology would not only help to embrace the cultural institutions, but also initiate new possibilities for future innovative experiences.