Google’s Cultural Institute opens its Lab in Paris

   |  10 December 2013  |  AMA  |  Tweet  |  LinkedIn

Paris, 11 December 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA).

In Paris on 10 December, the headquarters of Google France in the Opéra district opened the Lab for its Cultural Institute. Through this new space, the American company demonstrates its commitment to a closer connection with the cultural world.

Launched in London in 2011 under the leadership of Amit Sood, Google’s Cultural Institute is equipped with 340 m² space of cutting edge technology (including giant interactive screens, 3D capturing tools, Gigapixel cameras), and highlights Google’s aim of developing partnerships with a greater number of institutions. The new Lab is to be directed by Laurent Gaveau, while the team of 23 engineers is under the supervision of Anselm Baird-Smith. The team’s objective is to continue the development of Google’s online applications, as well as to collaborate with artists and institutions, in order to create a more digital approach to their work. “The Lab is not a virtual museum, nor is it a gallery, or an exhibition space. It is a work space which serves as an invitation to those working in the cultural sector to come and find new solutions using new technologies” explained the Lab’s director.

Google announced on 10 December that 34 partners are joining the Cultural Institute, 25 of which are to offer their first online exhibitions, with the other 9 adding new content. The idea which the American company is supporting is the possibility of being able to zoom extremely closely onto works, revealing details which escape the naked eye.

Currently there are 6 million documents available online on the Google Art Project, including artworks, monuments and archives. Thanks to 400 partners from 50 different countries, 53,000 works are visible on the site, including 67 in very high definition, while 80 museums are now offering virtual visits thanks to StreetView.

Regarding the rights linked to the works offered, at present Google does not intend to pay for the works. Modern and Contemporary artworks are therefore excluded from the platform, which is only offering works which are now in the public domain, which happens 70 years after the death of an artist.

Google also announced that it is to regularly hold seminars, workshops and a range of events in Paris, as well as offering residences to young artists, over periods of one to three months, with the aim of creating a developing artistic projects alongside the Cultural Institute’s engineers. The artists to be offered a residence are to be selected by art critics Hans Ulrich Obrist and Simon Castets as part of their 89plus project, which brings together a generation of artists and creators born after 1989.

Another important project has also been launched, Google Open Gallery, which offers an interface for putting up pictures and creating exhibitions on the Internet. This application is designed not only for artists, but for art lovers, archivists, historians and galleries.

A dampener on Google’s presentation was the last-minute boycott of the French Minister for Culture, Aurélie Filippetti, who, whilst emphasising the quality of the project, indicated that she wished to “practice caution” against the company, which is still in discussions with the state regarding a certain number of issues surrounding taxation and data protection.

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