Rereeti Foundation with Science Gallery Bengaluru (SGB) has planned an interesting workshop titled Building Digital Exhibitions. In this workshop, both organisations will discuss the various digital platforms available, as well as key the interactivity, immersiveness and accessibility in online exhibitions.
Tejshvi Jain, Founder-Director, Rereeti Foundation explains that the workshop will explore how to not just take an exhibition online, but also ways to design an exhibition for online engagement. She informs us that when the pandemic hit, they realised that museums would be impacted greatly, and there were very few spaces for museum professionals to come together and share their worries and learnings during that unpredictable and unsettling period.
“So, my team and I decided to host a virtual panel session called ‘Talking Museums’. It was designed to be an informal gathering where 4-6 museum professionals could come together to network - something like chai pe charcha. We did two such seasons and connected 27 museum professionals who then took it forward to directly reach out to each other for advice, support, or to collaborate.”
This planning and executing this first virtual event gave them confidence to develop more. “Additionally, we would ask participants during these ‘Talking Museum’ sessions how ReReeti could help them, and some of the most common responses were skill development. This really was what led us to organise this virtual workshop on designing virtual exhibitions!”
Jain says that the space for digital cultural engagement is still expanding in India, “and we are keen to see it grow meaningfully, not merely trying to imitate a physical space on an online medium. Virtual exhibitions have their own merit which we felt was not being tapped into effectively. Science Gallery Bengaluru shares our understanding of what a virtual exhibition entails, as evident in their latest exhibition - Contagion. And so, we decided to partner with them.”
Jahnavi Phalkey, Founding Director, Science Gallery Bengaluru, and a Historian of Science and Filmmaker, says one needs to be mindful of the digital divide while organising an online exhibition. “An online exhibition will only reach people who have access to smartphones and computers. Second, one has to be aware of the audience one is hoping to reach.
It would be counterproductive to design an AR/VR heavy exhibition, if you want a wider reach as most are unlikely to have sophisticated smart phones and softwares to go with it. Third, and this is subjective, it is important to explore what it is that you can offer through a digital medium as opposed to simply trying to replicate in the virtual world what you would have delivered in the physical world.”
Talking about the challenges of organising an online exhibition, she says that the medium has a different potential and you are far less aware of your audience. “If you want to keep your audience with you, one has to work all the more carefully because simply flipping a tab on the browser is much easier than walking out of a physical exhibition.”
The pandemic initially shook the art world, with museums and galleries being shut down and fairs getting cancelled. Digital platforms like Zoom helped us re-connect to a larger audience and facilitate programming that otherwise could not have taken place in these unusual times, says Shefali Somani, Gallery Director, Shrine Empire Gallery.
On: July 14, 4-6 p.m.