n De Arte - Collecting and Curating : views and (re)views

Volume 2008, Issue 77
  • ISSN : 0004-3389
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The digital storeroom: rethinking the Unisa Online Collection is a consideration of the web-based museum as a new venture of access and interactivity. The traditional role of the museum as a centralised repository of art objects is being challenged. Notions of access and interactivity are considered, as the Internet provides new structures for the museum to open itself up towards diverse publics. The Internet-based museum also poses challenges. Problematic aspects of loss of information such as colour, texture and detail, are discussed by means of examples from the Unisa Permanent Collection. A final consideration of this article is the question of the value of the art object and its image. The experience of actual objects is juxtaposed with the informative value of the digital image in a dialogue between the traditional role of the museum and its new function as online gallery. The website is thus considered a supplementary or alternative to the art museum, by offering layers of meaning instead of the experience of the actual artwork. Throughout the essay, the Unisa Online Collection is considered in relation to the concept of André Malraux's 'museum without walls', and an attempt is made to consider the possibilities of the museum that is more open and relevant to its public.

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