Museums represent a major social investment in communities and society.
The function of a museum is more than a repository of valuable objects. A museum is a social and cultural center for the community, providing both a link to the past and a connection to the possibilities of the future. Importantly, a museum can provide immersive, public experiences where the museum visitor is an active participant in the regeneration of cultural legacy – at a local, national, and global level.
The strategic value of cultural digitization is now more critical than ever.
How do museums produce innovative, immersive experiences for the public?
Digitization technologies are opening the door to conservation, preservation, restoration and dissemination of our tangible cultural heritage on an unprecedented scale. New methods give us the opportunity, not only to experience the beauty and value of these cultural assets, but to share and distribute them globally. Today, innovative digital experiences can be an effective vehicle of for cultural regeneration.
Through Museum Experience Design (MXPD) – we can design culturally regenerative visitor experiences which:
The practice of Museum Experience Design has changed over the years, and technology now plays a critical role. But strategically, the job-to-be done has not changed. The following questions help us create a step-by-step experience blueprint:
- How do we capture the attention of the museum visitor?
- How do we inspire the imagination?
- How do we create experiences which educate, inform and entertain?
- How do we enrich the experience to make a memorable impression?
- How do we empower the museum visitor to take a part of the experience home?
- How do we make the experience personal – with an emotional impact?
At artficial, our MXPD methodology was developed with leading experts – integrating the disciplines of experience design, digital scanning, and 3D printing, with cultural and art history, installations, theater and performance art, and digital marketing. Our process demonstrates new digital capabilities in the Italian art market and introduces novel ways to protect and create value via the artclone and through the visitor experiences built around signature objects in a museum collection.
The Artclone Effect: Cultural Regeneration
The single most important development at the intersection of culture and technology in the past 100 years is the artclone.
What is an artclone?
artclone™: noun. [licensed clone of original masterpiece] an officially-licensed replica which preserves the form, integrity, and cultural value of an original sculptural masterpiece.
Artcloning is suitable for statues or busts, and other physical objects. The artcloning process involves:
- high-end scanning of the original masterpiece
- archival of the digitalclone in a secure ARTvaultTM
- museum edition artclone printing using colored plant-based resins
- museum revenue licensing for each print
Artcloning lies at the intersection of history, art, culture, and technology as it combines historical art forms with modern technology.
It allows for the creation of authentic, affordable, replicas of famous works of art that can be shared, viewed – and even owned, by a wider audience. This democratization of cultural legacy was not possible in previous generations.
The “artclone effect” is also a new vehicle for value creation – it creates new revenue streams through experience, digital, and artclone sales. When the museum visitor leaves the museum – they may purchase an artclone – taking a part of their cultural inheritance with them and integrating it into their daily lives.
It has also been found to increase the overall gift store sales – in other, unrelated categories.
The “artclone effect” also increases museum attendance through deeply immersive and memorable experiences.
The artclone creates new possibilities for local and national cultural expression. At artficial, we view our primary purpose as cultural regeneration – to protect, preserve, promote, and revitalize the sculptural legacy of humankind.
- Digital preservation of historical art objects via scanning to capture the digitalDNA of the historic work and store it in our secure ARTvault
- Printing the officially licensed artclone of the object in 3D, which enables the public and institutions to purchase the artclone for installation in their private residences or elsewhere
- Creating a new revenue stream for the owner of the object – either a museum or a private collector
- Designing museum experiences which democratize and promote cultural heritage – both art and history – in the local community
- Expanding cultural education and tourism, which can provide economic benefits for local communities
Finally, we say with clarity: cultural regeneration must be sustainable, and this is the design principle behind the production and logistical processes we use at artficial. For example, the artclones produced by artficial are 3D-printed using a weatherproof, plant-based, fiber material made from organic renewables, with a carbon footprint which is 75 percent lower traditional plastic. The artclone is also bio-degradable – which means it can be decomposed into natural and harmless substances.
Case Study: Palazzo Reale, Palermo
On September 20, 2022 the Palazzo Reale in Palermo, Sicily opened its doors to a new museum experience which integrated classical art and modern digital technologies.
The experience was designed to highlight the remarkable bust of Octavian – Augustus Caesar – discovered in Centuripe (Sicily) in 1938. While it has been exhibited in various venues around the world, including the Getty Museum, it had never made it Palermo. A giant artclone of the original is also displayed inside a 3D printer. The visitor learns about the bust of Augustus, and discovers that the artclone is an accurate, licensed replica of the original.
Upon entry, the visitor is surprised by a unique installation – a “cultural infinity room” which provides a techno-pop introduction to the power of digital immersion. From there, visitors proceed to a dark room where they are scanned instantly, and sent on to explore the remaining exhibit – with a digital download of their very own digitalclone available and shareable on their smartphones.
The remainder of the experience is a journey of cultural education. The visitor views a spectacular “limited edition” artclone of the Satiro danzante ( The Dancing Satyr of Mazara del Vallo), recovered from the sandy sea floor off the southwestern coast of Sicily, on the night of March 4, 1998, in the nets of the same fishing boat that had in the previous year recovered the sculpture’s left leg. Estimates put the statue as far back as the 4th century BCE.
artclone (limited edition): The Dancing Satyr of Mazara del Vallo
The satyr is gazing up at a “museum edition” artclone of the Giovinetto di Mozia (The Charioteer of Motya) originally found in October 1979 in the ancient city of Mozia. The sculpture of charioteer dates back to ca. 480-470 BC.
artclone (museum edition): The Charioteer of Motya
The takeaway: museum experience design (MXPD) has changed forever with the introduction of artclones and the use of technology to create memorable experiences that preserve the cultural and traditional values of a museum, yet expand the scope and reach 0f culture.
Barbara Dal Corso works at the intersection of art and technology. She is the co-founder of artficial, the maker of the world’s first officially-licensed artclone. She is also the founder of The Artclone Review.