VR in community-based museum
— Dr Emily Scott-Dearing (@RaisingGinger) June 3, 2019
In Street Art Museum Amsterdam I learnt a few important benefits about virtual reality. I wanted to take the time to see something out of the box, so I came to experience Amsterdam and to do a one-month project work at Street Art Museum Amsterdam to learn about community museums.
When looking for a place to be the keywords for me were virtual reality and community museum. SAMA is a community museum who are working with virtual reality technology as a way to digitally preserve their collection. I had a little bit of previous experience about virtual and augmented reality. I’m happy that I got into those two themes during my stay and I learned about both.
Working at SAMA, I’ve now gotten hands-on experience in how to write a script, block out, film and edit the video from scratch and all the variables that need to be juggled for a VR project.
VR with big artworks or objects
Before SAMA, I was excited but skeptical of the real value and use of VR content, but this experience made me to think that it is valid format when there’s a proper plan for how to use VR. Content is the king – again. I don’t know what other kinds of technology can restore and reproduce better the feeling of standing in front of a wall-sized mural after the mural is gone other than VR. This is one of the great uses of VR or 360°, because with murals you really need to twist your head to get the proper feeling of it.
I also learned the uniqueness of the collection management in street art museum. Think about any other museum where it would be normal that one day few artworks are gone forever without warning. That has happened recently in few places in the world, but in this kind of museum the thought is present and ruling management and planning all the time, it’s in the nature of street art and of SAMA.
Tell the story with VR
Working with the community and using art as a tool to interact and collaborate was interesting. There were many different kinds of levels of understanding the meaning of one artwork: the experience of the locals living with the piece every day, the stories of the professional artists and by the artistic value each piece holds itself.
If you have a museum like this, you really want to tell the story behind the artworks, neighbourhood, artists and the museum itself. We are used to being alone in VR world, but now it is time to change that. With the glasses on you don’t see only the big colourful murals but also the guide and the people with you on the tour. It is a completely new experience and you’ll forget the clumsy glasses. The story happens around you.
Laboratory for rebels
It was a very interesting experience for me to follow how the community-based eco-museum is working. While most museum can’t function the same way as SAMA, which is highly agile but at times unstructured, there is a need for bigger and smaller museums, traditional and experimental ones.
This kind of smaller contemporary museums have ability to be laboratories for new and crazy ideas, make them happen and take risks, when bigger ones are moving carefully. Not all ideas are helpful, but creating an environment where all ideas can be shared in order to bring the best ones to daylight is necessary.
I got to know all the main parts of the museum: a great team with very diverse backgrounds, guided tours in different languages, internal and public workshops, openings and cooperation with the guys from Impact Hub.