Sunday, 5 January 2014


recently experienced something new within the realms of the 'gallery experience' at Pop Art Design, the Barbican.

Wandering around the exhibition I became aware that many of visitor's attentions were focused on their mobiles phones rather than on the art….

More surprising was my own response to this. Rather than seizing this opportunity to bemoan the intrusion of digital technology into every crease and fold of our lives, I felt contrarily compelled to approach the gallery attendant in order to discover exactly what it was that I was missing out on...

The "exhibition app" was the answer. 

Simply scan the QR code (assuming that you have already handily downloaded a scanner app, that you have a phone of the smart variety and that you have not exceeded your data roaming quota that month) displayed on the wall next to the exhibition statement and enjoy an enhanced viewer experience... 

Check it out for yourselves Pop Art Design App  

I got it, I gave it the quick once over in the gallery, I put my phone away and only returned to it once later on to find out more about the exhibits which were of most interest to me - ceramic works by Carole McNicholl, Peter Blake's Babe Rainbow and an interesting neon piece by an artist who's name I didn't know. Regrettably none of these pieces were featured on the app, and so that's where we parted company.

The experience left me a little cold and pondering questions such as, who then curates the app content? and how technological advancement will affect our engagement with art consumption in the future?

I first imagined an empty gallery space totally devoid of any tangible works of art, with visitors roaming around staring at the virtual exhibits on their mobile devices, then I thought, actually... why bother getting off the sofa to do that?


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