In case you missed it (how time flies!), Michigan State recently opened the doors of the Virtual Broad Art Museum—a virtual space that, according to a MSU press release, “mirrors the architecture of the Zaha Hadid-designed museum, and provides an innovative and globally accessible venue.” When completed (construction setbacks have already delayed the opening date from April until fall of this year), the 46,000-square-foot museum will serve as teaching institution and cultural hub, housing a collection containing 7,500 objects from the Greek and Roman periods through the Renaissance and the Modern era. Eli and Edythe Broad provided the lead gift of $28 million.
Intermedia artists IDIA Lab Director John Fillwalk at Ball State University and associate professor of electronic art and intermedia Adam Brown at MSU created the virtual space in anticipation of a fall opening for the (the museum was originally scheduled to open in April 2012, but construction setbacks have pushed back the opening).
The VBAM includes several component installations, described by MSU as follows:
“In this interactive digital installation, visitors shape the construction of a sculptural and sonic composition as they move through the virtual museum. The work progresses to
Screenshot from Flickr Gettr, John Fillwalk, 2012 construct in relation to the museum itself, eventually integrating into structural support for the building and becoming one with the virtual museum environment. When multiple users are in the environment, their avatars interact with one another to create a collaborative work.”
“Flickr Gettr connects the social image web service Flickr to the virtual museum environment, allowing visitors to “curate” a spatial and dynamic cloud of imagery by entering a search term of their choice, which will bring related images from Flickr into the museum space.:
“An immersive landscape simulation, Survey uses real time weather data from the physical location of the Broad Art Museum in East Lansing, Michigan. Representations of surveyor’s tape, flags, and clouds are superimposed onto the virtual landscape in accordance with the real-life data, which informs wind speed and direction, time of day, and cloud density in the digital environment.”
“Participants in con|FLUENCE may create pathways based on reactions to both social and spatial relationships. There is a virtual response and persistence to interactions, as the routes are drawn and sculpted in the three-dimensional environment, forming nodes that are created via visitors’ proximity.”