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20 September 2019

Launch of National Gallery X will investigate the 'gallery of the future'

National Gallery and King’s College London launch new research partnership.

Woman wearing VR headset

The National Gallery and King's jointly launched 'National Gallery X' (NGX), a collaborative research & development programme that plans to collaborate with Google Arts and Culture. NGX will explore the potential of new technologies for galleries in the future. 

The NGX will build on our creative collaborations at the intersection of culture, the digital creative Industries and King's research.

Professor Evelyn Welch, Provost & Senior Vice President, Arts & Sciences

The forefront of digital innovation

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, supported by Google Arts and Culture.

Professor Evelyn Welch, Provost & Senior Vice President (Arts & 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."

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 at the launch, in front of guests including Sir Tim Berners-Lee, as the studio was taken over by an immersive audio response to J.M.W Turner’s Rain, Steam, and Speed - The Great Western Railway (1844), using technology developed by Zoran Cvetkovic, Professor of Signal Processing at King's College London, and set to music by composer Peter Wiegold.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee at the launch of NGX
Sir Tim Berners-Lee at the launch of NGX

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

"What will the museum of the future look like and how will technology be 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."

The gallery of the future

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. 

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."