National Gallery

National Gallery and King’s College R&D project explores ‘gallery of the future’

Article: David Styles | Image: Sir Tim Berners-Lee addresses attendees at the NGX launch © The National Gallery, London

The National Gallery has teamed up with King’s College London to initiate National Gallery X, a collaborative research & development programme that aims to explore the potential role of emerging technologies in galleries of the future.

National Gallery X, based at the new NGX studio next to the National Gallery, has been established to explore how technological innovations can be applied to collections and exhibitions in the coming years. The ultimate goal of the scheme is to inform and facilitate new kinds of cultural experiences over the next decade.

To achieve its primary goal, the project will play host to a series of residencies and short-term interventions from artists and thinkers throughout the year.

Large screen video, digital projection, audio, motion capture and virtual reality are among the immersive technologies which will be interrogated throughout its work.

NGX residencies

The first NGX residency, which will begin in early 2020, has been awarded to art collective ANALEMA group. In situ the group will explore how the colours used in gallery works can be turned into sound, drawing on mathematical and technical research carried out by King’s academics.

The second residency is with MIMA, with the Middlesbrough-based gallery exploring how emerging mobility and telecommunications technologies might create new kinds of physical access to museums for diverse, disabled and neuro-diverse audiences.

“National Gallery X will allow us to explore these fascinating and fundamental questions with some very smart partners, academics, artists, curators and technological innovators,” noted Dr Gabriele Finaldi, director of the National Gallery.

The Gallery has also announced an open call, launching in November, for residencies that will develop work using responsive environments, tactile & kinetic engagement, Natural User Interface and Brain Computer Interface.

Alina Bzhezhinska performing as part of the immersive audio response at NGX's launch © The National Gallery, London

Culture Secretary, Nicky Morgan, cited National Gallery X as “an excellent example” of a project encouraging more collaboration between culture and technology in order to attract new and more diverse audiences to the arts.