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Digital platform creates new space for art

One thing right from the start: "Digitalized art should not replace the real experience on site in museums, galleries and cultural venues," the developers of Discover-Culture agree. What the steadily growing platform for the digital enjoyment of art and culture is all about.

Enjoying art and culture at home in front of the screen. What seemed impossible until recently has become a reality thanks to Discover-Culture. The platform for art and culture mediation in virtual space has its origins in Upper Styria, where it was launched by the Benedictine Abbey of Admont and the IT professionals at LightCyde. Two years after its launch, Discover-Culture brings together the offerings of top-class museums, art and cultural venues throughout Austria. Among them is the Bank Austria Kunstforum in Vienna. October saw the launch of “Helmut Newton Legacy,” the next prominent exhibition series in the online format. And that’s not all. This fall, the Vienna St. Stephen’s Cathedral, the Imperial Treasury, Bückeburg Castle in Germany, and the Cathedral Museum with the library of the Diocese of St. Pölten were also digitized.

Creating a close-to-real experience

“We want to offer an experience that is very close to reality,” says LightCyde CEO Thomas Fischbacher. It’s a plan that has more than succeeded. On Discover-Culture, users can walk through the virtual space, browse it, change the direction of their gaze and move around completely freely. “Virtual visitors should get the feeling as if they were directly on site,” is how Mario Brandmüller, Marketing Manager of the Benedictine Abbey of Admont, describes the quality of the virtual tours. In addition to an up-close experience, Discover-Culture also offers insights that usually remain hidden. “Leafing through centuries-old books, exploring secret passages and entering places that are not normally accessible to the public. These are extras that we offer on the culture platform,” says Brandmüller.


Exploiting thematic synergies in the culture network

Completely new opportunities are opening up not only for culture fans, but also for museums. “Large cultural institutions ensure many accesses to our digital offering. This also benefits the smaller art and cultural institutions,” says Fischbacher, citing another advantage of the culture platform. Likewise, Discover-Culture partner establishments would be able to enter into thematic synergies, Brandmüller adds: “Exhibitions with related themes can be optimally combined. For example, if you want to follow in the footsteps of the Habsburgs, you can get from one museum to another with just a few clicks. And they can do so all over Austria.”

Digital coverage through the latest technology

From the Pummerin to the catacombs – digital tours will soon take visitors to all corners of Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The necessary digitization has already been completed. How does it work? “A 360-degree camera takes 3D scans. This creates an exact image of the original, which is rendered on the computer to create a three-dimensional tour,” says Fischbacher, summarizing the process. Video sequences and soundtracks complete the online tour and provide additional background information.

Reaching new target groups

The number of art and cultural institutions that present their offerings digitally on Discover-Culture is growing steadily. Brandmüller says the company is currently in talks with profound, new partners. However, Discover-Culture is not in competition with the enjoyment of art and culture on site, as the CEO of LightCyde, Thomas Fischbacher, emphasizes: “Our digital tours are intended to whet people’s appetites for a visit on site. In addition, this online offering gives museums the chance for the first time to attract an audience they would never have reached due to geographical distance.” The fact that Discover-Culture is a “best practice in economically and culturally challenging times” was also demonstrated at this year’s award ceremony for the Austrian Art Sponsorship Prize Maecenas, with which the project was honored in the same category.

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