As the pandemic grew, art lovers were lasting for an interactive experience that would entertain them from the comfort of their own homes. Gradually adapting, the art industry started reacting, realising the potential of virtual reality technology, galleries started triumphing more audience members and, as a result, saved their business during uncertain times.
The question remains, is virtual reality and art a marriage that’s here to stay or is it yet another Covid-19 related phenomenon? Considering tech has become (and remains) a lifeline for arts and culture during those difficult times, let’s look deeper into it.
COVID damaged art galleries, as it did many industries, which traditionally required live audiences. What traditional tools couldn’t provide was made up for by technology, virtually allowing access into retail and art spaces in a safe yet utterly immersive way.
This didn’t only satisfy the current customers but also drew in wider-reach demographics. Organisations and brands saw value in using technology and innovative experiences, and audiences enjoyed a more personal and creative approach.
Although the brick-and-mortar stores remained closed, the virtual stores opened their arms wide. They started welcoming the public in a way that’s transcended all traditional space, business hours and location limitations.
During COVID, multiple exciting experiences surfaced online. Christie’s art auction house led the way with their completely virtual art selling platforms. Art buyers could visit the gallery virtually, browsing through artworks with attached information about the artist and work itself. The completely digital experience leads users around the beautiful space where they can see floor to ceiling windows with a view, antiques scattered throughout the room, and even the chandelier antique dangling from the digital ceiling, allowing them to inspect and directly purchase all art pieces closely.
Addressing the need for art galleries and curators for more control, Emperia launched Apollo’s app, where art gallery owners can design and create their virtual gallery with simplicity and guidance. The app allows users to use a pre-designed virtual space or start from scratch to build their digital world. This includes hanging up artwork on walls and decorating a room the way that fits them. There are no limitations, meaning if you wished for a magical universe to display your art, then that’s precisely what you get. The choice is yours, and it’s infinite.
Immersive technology has no intention to cut out physical experiences in any way. As a matter of fact, the physical experiences are using AR to give normality a pulse after a year of tech-infused experiences.
Experts say that both physical and digital uses should never go against each other. However, they should be viewed as an extension of each other, drawing new audiences to the business. Intelligent companies are using both the power of virtual and physical as the new normal, having two halves as a whole.
Art galleries are interested in using technology to excel their physical experiences and open new doors to online visitors. Accessibility and personalisations are now a leading force that both art and culture pay more attention to, allowing anyone from anywhere in the world to take an active role in visiting galleries and upcoming shows.
At the convenience of one’s own home, a personal connection to an exhibition has addressed a new type of audience, at times younger and well-off, who wouldn’t necessarily be the traditional gallery exhibition attendee- a unique opportunity for the art world to expand into.
Bridging the gap between physical and virtual is nothing new, but using technology to convey a powerful, conversational and immersive experience is a work of art itself.
The art world is transforming into a more immersive and inclusive future—physical and virtual will partner to create a multi-channel experience that up-values the art markets like never before. Art-selling online exceeded itself from six billion dollars USD in 2019 to 12 billion dollars by 2020, and it looks like this uptick trend is only here to stay.
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