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VR, Museums and Sylvain Levy

VR, Museums and Sylvain Levy
March 12, 2018 Art World Forum
In Editor's Picks

Collecting can make an ordinary person have an extraordinary life.

Admittedly getting caught up in the VR discussion, Art World Forum joined a talk by renowned collector of Chinese Contemporary Art, Sylvain Levy, and his daughter Karen levy, at the London Business School.

Internationally recognised as one of the world’s leading collections, the dsl collection has pushed boundaries like no other and is continuing to adapt to an ever-changing environment. To start his discussion Sylvain set the tone by positioning himself as being “a bit in the past and the present, and my head a little bit in the future,” but encouraged all guests to think outside the box.

Introducing both Chinese Contemporary Art and technology as “tsunamis” the talk introduced the collection, addressed virtual reality and debated museums of the future. To contextualise the collection, the mission has always been to bridge art, science and humanity.

  1. The collection is bound to his family to retain its soul – “If we lose the soul then the collection will just be about dead objects.”
  2. Build a collection of museum-quality Chinese Contemporary Art to define the experience. The genre was chosen on the basis of vibrancy, speed and dynamism after a visit to Shanghai and was not limited by medium. “When you come from a sleeping beauty like Paris and you come to a red bull city like Shanghai you have a shock.”
  3. Introduction of the ‘phygital’ experience (a mix between the digital and physical).

As a leading example of a private collection VR experience the dsl Collection has embraced the so-called 4th industrial revolution (experiences that bind the digital, physical, and biological which provoke internal change) with open arms as it introduces its very own virtual museum. The works continue to be open to the public, reaching a greater audience than ever before as it magically transcends to another realm, equipped with scales of size, colour and available information on each artist.

In the context of museums today, 81% of all guests visit museums for fun. The Metropolitan Museum of Art welcomed 6 million visitors last year, 29 million visitors on their website, and 92 million visitors on Facebook. What is therefore the metric of success and how can the experience be made as digitally relevant as it is physically?

Figures included the approximate revenue generated by each visitor at $3.70 and the book shop and café at $7, yet expenses were valued at $53. Historically, efforts lay in engaging patrons and their donations. Today, patrons are likely to open their own museums and with less help from the State, attitudes need to change. Generating content, curating engaging experiences and financing the online.

“Collecting can make an ordinary person have an extraordinary life. If you don’t only fetishise objects but you look at art through the eyes of the artist, through the eyes of society in which you live, then you richen yourself spiritually. You will also be capable of facing the world as it changes.”

With a rapidly changing environment, a range of new experiences in circulation and VR acting as a mere stepping stone to the next technological craze, it was agreed that the digital world will never replace the real one for the simple reason that is “the symbolic value of an artwork.”

The discussion may therefore be summarised by a quote by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”