Jason Bruges Studio connects museumgoers to The Tate Modern
Art is a way to communicate who we are and how we fit into the world. Museums, like the Tate Modern in London, provide a home for how we talk about ourselves, how we create art, over time. For centuries, museums have acted as the stewards of human history. Until recently, museumgoers have been content to consume that history and play audience to the art that has directed our cultural flow. But now we’re ready to talk back.
The Tate and Bloomberg were looking for a way to engage their attendees in a new way for their program “Bloomberg Connects.” They tapped Jason Bruges Studio to help them do it. Richard Roberts, of Jason Bruges Studio, explains that the Tate came to them to “encourage the public to delve into their [museum] experience in a bit more depth, to find out more about the artwork and what they feel about it – to think about the work in a more intelligent way.”
The question is: How do you do that? Luckily, Jason Bruges Studio was the perfect group to execute such an undertaking.
Typically, for this kind of project, the museum could have just hired an interface designer and slapped it on a canned experience, but Jason Bruges Studio offers a richer, deeper way of creating an interactive space. “We’re an innovative and multi-disciplinary team, and we approach things differently,” Richard explains. Instead of having moving pictures on screens, Jason Bruges Studio’s design has spatial awareness that follows you around the room, tracking your experience, and drawing you into interaction. It’s impossible to be the passive viewer.
The Tate’s initial goal to have, “a series of interactions where a member of the public could comment on an artwork, through engaging in a debate, or in a discussion” was achieved with aplomb.
In the Global Studio participants can submit questions that will be answered directly by the artists from their home country. Museumgoers can snap selfies to document their participation at the museum. And, at the Drawing Bar, the museum accepts drawings in real time that go into the Tate’s archive. Then the Tate can track how people respond to art in a visual and expressive way.
In the nine months since it’s been open, Bloomberg Connects has archived over 65,000 drawings. It’s typical that they’ll get 300 drawings in one day, but 800 on a Saturday afternoon isn’t unheard of. It’s really, really popular.
Richard explains the experience of seeing Bloomberg Connects in action, “Every time I go there and walk down the stairs it’s just nice to see that it’s being used and people are engaging with it. These are simple enough that people get stuck interacting.” In fact, Bloomberg Connects has resulted in so much popularity that it’s turned into a sort of problem, “the pens on the drawing bar are wearing out too quickly because it’s so popular.” The public interacting with art so intensely that the materials are wearing down? Not a bad problem to have.