Henie Onstad Kunstsenter
A hidden gem, to be
revealed to the world
The Henie-Onstad Art Centre in Bærum, Norway is renowned for its art collection, sculpture park and architecture – well outside of Norway. Less known is their fantastic documentation of exhibitions and performances from 1968 until today. Stored as photos, sound and video, the collection is no less than one of Europe’s most important collections of national and international music- and art history. So how come so few has heard of it?
A continuously growing collection, now listing over 100 exhibitions, 60 concerts performances and interviews of world-renowned artists such as John Cage, Stockhausen and Jan Garbarek – all only available on 3 computers in the museum’s basement.
To create an interactive experience of the documentation of exhibitions, that is engaging to use for a wide range of visitors, positioning and value adding for the brand, and enabled to grow both in content and areas of use
The Henie-Onstad Art Centre (Norwegian: Henie Onstad kunstsenter) is an art museum located at Høvikodden in Bærum municipality, Norway. Henie-Onstad Art Centre organizes exhibitions and performances. Art center is visited by around 100,000 people each year.
The centre, designed by Norwegian architects Jon Eikvar and Sven Erik Engebretsen, is renowned for its architecture.
The content is today only available to the visitors, but the experience is communicated either within the art centre or externally (i.e. website).
As we learned more about the collection, one thought kept coming back: This amazing material should be shared with the world, not only made available at the museum.
When we first were approached by the Museum, the ambition was to rethink how this “Mediatheque” could be experienced on-site at the museum. With the museum being such a highly regarded institution, and the content being of an international standard, we all had high ambitions for the project – and early on we established that the solution should honor both the content to be displayed and the architecture of the museum.
The museum had been collecting feedback from its visitors for as long as the current solution with the 3 computers had been running, and had found several challenges, including the content being difficult to update, some of the more senior users not knowing how to operate a mouse, and few ways of finding and interacting with the content.
To explore the potential outside of the Mediatheque, we looked into different situations where it would have value, both for the visitors and the museum:
Making people aware of the documentation available at the museum to make visitors go there to explore. A list/stil image/introduction of documentations. An introduction to a subscription service.
To ensure the possibilities of social sharing of content that only existed for subscribers, the parts of the content needed to be made available online as well.
We found several references to build the case and learn from, such as the Anthology Film Archives.
Exploring the content in a limited time (maximum 30 minutes), wanting to come back, or subscribe to the content from home. Several simultaneous users.
SALT WORLDWIDE / German Salt Museum Luneburg, 2010 / © Art + Com
Watching on a device or on tv, resuming when you want, marking favorites.
Independent of the channels, services or infrastructure that is chosen, every project needs a core, and our proposition was editorial storytelling: Inspiring the visitor to explore in new ways through curated content.
Some of the storytelling ideas we explored:
Artists curate content, their favorites (contemporary artists talk about and share their favorites from the documentation archive)
Summaries, i.e.“The 70s in 10 minutes” (create short versions of themes/decades to tease users to explore further). Cut by professional film editors.
Contextual analogue+digital exhibitions (focus on for example decade and build an temporary exhibition around that), curated by an expert in the field.
STATISTICS STRIP / exhibition “Work. Meaning and Worry” Deutsches Hygiene-Museum Dresden, 2009 / © Art+Com
Relations between exhibitions (interactive visualization of how the artists over time relate to each other in theme, movement etc). Invite programmer.
This is only the beginning, and the hard work remains. Currently the project is awaiting funding, and we can’t wait to get started to show you this gem.