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Friday, November 6 • 9:15am - 9:30am
The Bruegel Box: An Immersive Art Project by the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

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Will new technologies offer a viable alternative to temporary exhibitions? That's the question that we'll try to answer through the Bruegel box, an immersive art project by the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.

Thanks to the support of GDF-Suez, an installation of high-performance projectors will be placed permanently in one of the rooms of the museum and short HD animations will be displayed on the walls to introduce some of the key works and emblematic masterpieces of our collections. The one that will inaugurate the series is The Fall of the Rebels Angels (1562) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder - that has been the subject of recent scientific researches.

If The Fall of the Rebels Angels is already available in high definition on Google Art Project, it will again be highlighted through this immersive space. This device will allow the viewer to truly enter into the painting and the world of Bruegel. Its phantasmagorical work will come to life under the eyes of the visitor. With this advanced multimedia device, the visitors will be powered at the heart. He will dissect each element of its composition. Repelled by Saint Michel, he will follow the rebels’ angels into their fall, beyond the limits of the frame.

If for this first painting, the animation is rather narrative, we already can imagine the possibilities that this display can provide us for others kinds of works. We could explore in successive layers the color theory of the French Pointillist, Georges Seurat, or decompose / accelerate the movement of the Italian Futurists and even dematerialize the form by the light in the Impressionists landscapes. Each proposition would be adapted to every highlighted masterpiece. But every one of them would be shown in very high definition images projected on three walls, from the ground to the ceiling.In parallel, a mobile application will be available to guide the visitor through the museum to the original work of art. Links with other works of our collections by the same artist or a similar theme, will complete this visit. Explanations will also be provided to explain why in terms of conservation the physical artwork could not be moved close to the "box".

This project is the concretization of a deep reflection on the changes taking place in the field of museology. In this digital age, the Bruegel box (or any other painter's box) will enable us to explore new possibilities and will become the setting for a new museum space. The technology will serve the art, facilitating its access when physical transportation becomes increasingly binding. It also allows us to expand the museum experience and the meeting with the art pieces, by exporting the project abroad when the work itself can't be loaned overseas anymore.After an introduction of the project, from the original ideas that initiated it to its actual production, we will share our experience with the delegates. We will review both the technical and human difficulties that were faced throughout its production.

Our overall aim is to raise questions on the future of museums in the digital age, opening up a debate. Is it this the future of the temporary exhibition? Will technology offer an alternative to broadcast our collections and enable museums to stay economically sustainable? Will future generations still be more likely to visit museums if we only can display digital or 3D printed duplicated masterpieces in order to protect our cultural patrimony? How to find the good balance between entertainment and scientific researches? And what about the "aura" of the pieces of art (W. Benjamin)? By being the 21st century museums, we need to redefine our fundamental missions.

avatar for Jennifer Beauloye

Jennifer Beauloye

Post-doctoral researcher & Project Manager, Royal Museums of Fine Arts Belgium
Museum professional & Curator at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.Doctor in Philosophy, Design and Applied Arts (PhD).Post-doctoral researcher in Museology and Technologies. #BruegelBox @jennbxl

Friday November 6, 2015 9:15am - 9:30am CST
Calhoun Hyatt Regency Minneapolis 1300 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403

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