Tate’s ambitious digital strategy was highlighted this week at the launch of a pioneering new project called Bloomberg Connects. This will enable members of the public to show their own interpretation of the art at Tate Modern. Seventy-five screens in total, over half cascading in a spine on the walls throughout the building, will display visitors’ ideas and comments. A digital drawing bar will allow people to respond visually to their visit and see large-scale versions of their art works projected on the wall. Tate’s collection will be used to stimulate a conversation between Tate and its visitors by using the Bloomberg-supported digital space as a fresh canvas for creativity. Through Bloomberg Connects, visitors will become participants and co-creators, exchanging ideas, images and experiences.
In Global Studios, a further element of this Bloomberg-supported project, international artists will, at regular intervals, invite visitors on virtual studio tours and respond to questions via online video. Meschac Gaba, whose work Museum of Contemporary African Artopened at Tate Modern in June 2013, launches this programme. Gaba’s tour takes visitors around the streets of his home town of Benin, which he considers his working space and inspiration.
The various elements of the Bloomberg Connects programme have been designed by the acclaimed Jason Bruges Studio who has married technical innovation with outstanding design.
Nicholas Serota, Director Tate, said:
‘In the coming years we need to devote as much attention to the digital as we have given recently to the physical expansion and improvement of our buildings. Bloomberg Connects encourages the creativity which exists within each one of us and recognises the importance of dialogue. We are grateful to Bloomberg for building on their support of pioneering digital interpretation at Tate Modern and for making possible the next vital steps in our digital journey.’
‘Engaging with the arts can happen in any number of ways, and technology has the capacity to make the museum experience more personal and powerful than ever,’ says philanthropist and Mayor of New York City, Michael R. Bloomberg. ‘I’m honored to support Tate — and other major institutions around the world — in their efforts to expand digital engagement and creatively reinterpret the experience of visiting a museum.’
Bloomberg has partnered with Tate Modern on interpretation material since the gallery opened in 2000 creating innovative ways to enhance visitors’ experiences of the collection displays and exhibitions. Successful collaborations have included:
TateShots – Launched in 2007, TateShots is a series of short films, ranging from interviews with artists to performances and exhibition highlights. In 2009 Tate began to make longer documentary-style films about artists who were the subject of major exhibitions at Tate Modern. Over 1.1 million people downloaded Bloomberg TateShots podcastslast year.
Multimedia Guides – Tate was the first gallery to deliver hand-held digital tours in the museum and gallery sector. These offer audio commentary alongside images, film clips, games, opinion polls and other visual aids with which to uncover ideas behind the works in Tate collection. The guides have been a source of continued innovation being the world’s first wireless guide and the first to be offered in sign language. They have also won a BAFTA for technical innovation and a Museum and Heritage Award for Excellence. The guides are now available in five languages and for 2013 we have started a straight-to-handset downloadable version to further support self-guided visits. More than 280,000 visitors have used the guides to date.
Mobile Gaming – In 2007 a new strand was added to the partnership using gaming strategies to educate and inspire. Tate Trumps was the first and won the Guardian Media Innovation Award for Arts and Culture.