Pearl Scan

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New Project Aims to Digitise Contemporary Art


Forget safeguarding masterpieces with light repellent glass, temperature controlled rooms, motion sensors and screaming alarms. Tech buffs have come up with an innovative new way to archive artwork and it’s inherently electronic.

Supported by an Arts Council England Lottery grant of £250,000, the ‘Art360’ initiative is a pilot programme that explores how cultural heritage in the visual arts sphere can be safeguarded for future generations. The project will see the launch of a publically accessible website housing a curated selection of digitised contemporary art. Featured works will include pieces from the contemporary period spanning from 2000-2014, as well as the ‘Modern British canon’ that covers 1900-2000.

A collaborative effort to digitalise

At its core, the ‘Art360’ initiative aims to create artistic legacies by offering the general public access to Britain’s most outstanding contemporary masterpieces. As well as raising the profile of contemporary British art, organisers also hope the platform will provide an additional source of income for modern artists.

The major research and archiving project was pioneered by the DACS Foundation and brings together the shared expertise of a myriad of organisations, including Arts Council England, The National Archives, The Henry Moore Foundation and Art Fund.

Godfrey Worsdale, Director of The Henry Moore Foundation explains, “A key principle of the Foundation that Henry Moore established was that it should further public understanding of visual art and the Art360 initiative fulfils that ambition absolutely and in perpetuity.”

Future proofing contemporary art culture

With fears growing that contemporary artists are failing to implement hard hitting legacy strategies resulting in the depletion of cultural assets, the ‘Art360’ project has received a hugely positive response. Every year the programme will work with 30-40 artists hand selected by the DACS Foundation. Together with the ‘Art360’ organisers creators will explore how to safeguard visual arts culture for future generations, as well as how to develop sustainable legacy management solutions.

Peter Heslip, Director of Visual Arts for Arts Council England has commended the initiative for addressing the under the radar issue, saying “This initiative addresses the ‘ticking time bomb’ of important artists’ materials which are often fragile and poorly stored.”

Technology is an ever dynamic sphere, and its foray into the world of contemporary art illustrates the role it will continue to play in both our lives, and the lives of future generations.

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