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National Gallery and King’s College London launch new research partnership ‘National Gallery X’ to investigate the ‘gallery of the future’

Issued September 2019

Today, the National Gallery and King’s College London (King’s) jointly launched National Gallery X (NGX), a collaborative research and development (R&D) programme that will explore the potential of new technologies for galleries in the future.

NGX is an ambitious project at the forefront of digital innovation. The research partnership builds on a rich and long-standing relationship between the National Gallery and King’s, with both institutions having a strong commitment to artistic, educational, and curatorial expertise. NGX will hold a series of residencies and short-term interventions from artists and thinkers that will run throughout the year.

National Gallery X

Image: Photo © The National Gallery, London

Sitting next to the National Gallery, the NGX studio will explore how technological inventions can be applied to cultural institutions in the future, informing new kinds of cultural experiences over the next decade. It will combine key immersive technologies, including large screen video, digital projection, audio, motion capture and virtual reality, along with access to experimental technologies in development at King’s.

The first of the interventions was unveiled today, in front of guests including Sir Tim Berners-Lee, as the studio was taken over by an immersive audio response to Joseph Mallord William Turner’s Rain, Steam, and Speed - The Great Western Railway, using technology developed by Zoran Cvetkovic, Professor of Signal Processing at King’s College London, and set to music by composer Peter Wiegold.

Dr Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, said:

'What will the museum of the future look like and how will technology been integrated into it? National Gallery X will allow us to explore these fascinating and fundamental questions with some very smart partners, academics, artists, curators and technological innovators.'

Professor Evelyn Welch, Provost and Senior Vice President (Arts and Sciences) at King’s College London, said:

'This is an exciting partnership with the National Gallery; one that builds on our shared vision for innovating and communicating in the arts, technology and humanities. The NGX will build on our creative collaborations at the intersection of culture, the digital creative Industries and King’s research, allowing students and researchers to think differently and critically about art and the ways we access and engage with it.'

Three works from the 'Video Portraits' series by opera director and video artist Robert Wilson, which began in 2004, will also be featuring in the launch. The portraits feature actors Peter Stormare, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Jeanne Moreau in works inspired by classical art. Robert Wilson will also return to NGX for a dedicated event in October 2019.

The National Gallery also announced two residencies. The first NGX residency will feature art collective the ANALEMA Group who will take over the space in early 2020. ANALEMA create immersive, participatory experiences which explore the visual, spatial and acoustic elements of sound. At NGX they will explore how the colours used in Gallery works can be turned into sound, drawing on mathematical and technical research carried out by King’s academics. The second residency is with MIMA, (The Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art), which will explore how emerging mobility and telecommunications technologies might create new kinds of physical access to museums for diverse, disabled, and neuro-diverse audiences. This project will be led by artist Simon McKeown, Reader at the MIMA School of Art and Design, part of Teesside University. This residency responds to the Gallery’s commitment in DCMS’s Culture is Digital policy to help develop the digital capabilities of museums across the country.

Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan said:

'We want to combine the UK's reputation for being the best destination in the world for arts and cultural experiences with our standing as a world-leader in cutting-edge technology.

'The government’s Culture Is Digital project is all about encouraging more collaboration between culture and technology to attract new and more diverse audiences to the arts. National Gallery X is an excellent example of this in action. I hope that this will inspire more museums and galleries to experiment with new ways to reach people.'

The Gallery further announced an open call which will be launching in November for residencies that will develop work using responsive environments, tactile and kinetic engagement, NUI (natural user interface) and BCI (brain-computer interface).


About National Gallery X

National Gallery X (NGX) is part of an innovation lab within the Department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport's (DCMS) Culture is Digital policy programme. This programme was launched in 2018 at the Gallery by the then Secretary of State to stimulate the relationship between the culture and technology sectors.

About King’s College London

King's College London is one of the top 10 UK universities in the world (QS World University Rankings, 2018/19) and among the oldest in England. King's has more than 31,000 students (including more than 12,800 postgraduates) from some 150 countries worldwide, and some 8,500 staff.

King's has an outstanding reputation for world-class teaching and cutting-edge research. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF), 84 per cent of research at King’s was deemed ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (3* and 4*).

Since our foundation, King’s students and staff have dedicated themselves in the service of society. King’s will continue to focus on world-leading education, research and service, and will have an increasingly proactive role to play in a more interconnected, complex world. Visit our website to find out more about Vision 2029, King’s strategic vision for the next 12 years to 2029, which will be the 200th anniversary of the founding of the university.

'World-changing ideas. Life-changing impact':

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