June 9, 2015
Theater at the New Museum, NYC
Historically, art museums have been physical spaces—typically, buildings—devoted to preserving artworks and making them visually available to people who walk through their doors. In the past few decades, technology has increasingly transformed museum spaces, affecting everything from how we care for and interpret objects to how we conceptualize exhibitions. The most profound shifts, perhaps, relate to audiences: unbounded by physical geography, digital technologies make it possible for museums to share experiences and information with people around the world. Yet what is being shared? Websites, apps, and even collections databases are spaces with physical, aesthetic, and cultural logics of their own. For users, they may function as surrogates for or complements to physical visits to a museum; in either case they provide new ways to present content. The panelists examined the unique possibilities of digital engagement, reflecting on existing and potential relationships between digital and physical space.
Piotr Adamczyk, Program Manager, Google Cultural Institute
Lauren Cornell, Curator, 2015 Triennial, Museum as Hub and Digital Projects, New Museum
Jennifer Foley, Director of Interpretation, Cleveland Museum of Art
Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Steven Mann, Associate Director for Exhibitions and Programs, American Federation of Arts
“Digital Space/ Physical Space: Mapping the 21st-Century Museum” was organized by the American Federation of Arts in association with the Association of Art Museum Directors and the Arts & Business Council of New York. Generous funding was provided by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the Leon Levy Foundation, and Agnes Gund.