Google opens cultural institute in Paris
Internet giant plans to host exhibitions, conferences and artist residencies
By Anny Shaw. Web only
Published online: 23 December 2013
The Google Cultural Institute, which was launched in Paris on 10 December, aims to bring art and technology under one roof. The institute, which is housed at the internet giant’s Paris headquarters, is open to students, artists, curators and other art professionals and will host exhibitions, debates and conferences. A workshop space featuring a 3D camera, printer and giant interactive screen is available for artists to create digital works. The institute is due to establish a residency for young artists, though Google would not confirm when this will happen.
The website for the institute will also serve as a virtual umbrella space for existing ventures, such as the Google Art Project—an online gallery where users can view high-resolution images of works of art in public collections around the world. Launched in 2010 and made public in 2011, the Google Art Project started with 17 institutions and now includes 300 museums, galleries and archives from more than 40 countries. A further 34 institutions have joined the project with the opening of the cultural institute, including the Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India—the first contemporary art biennial to take part.
According to a statement on Google’s website, the mission of the cultural institute is “to make the world’s culture accessible online”. The project is non-commercial; Amit Sood, the director of the Google Cultural Institute, told the Guardian newspaper earlier this month that legally Google cannot make any money from the content and that the participating institutions retain the copyright to all images. “The idea was that we would give the museums the technology, and then they choose what they want to put up online,” Sood said.
However, despite Google’s philanthropic aims, the company has recently met with some resistance from the French government. The country’s culture minister, Aurélie Filippetti, decided not to attend the opening of the institute at the last minute because of Google’s privacy policies and disputes over tax breaks. Google declined to comment for this story.
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