The New School + #SXSW: Charles Yust, Design and Technology ’08, Creates New Ways to Engage with Art
San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition of René Magritte in 2018 included more than 20 artworks by the artist that were shown for the first time ever in the U.S. The exhibit also included something else a bit more unusual for a museum–an interactive gallery with six augmented reality interactions that allowed visitors to explore Magritte’s work through a new lens.
Charles Yust, Design and Technology ‘08, is the Principal Design Technologist, AR/VR Lead at frog design, who created the special gallery in partnership with SFMoMa. During the “Art Museums as Spaces of Digital Play” panel at #SXSW, Yust, along with two other digital experts, discussed the ways in which museums are utilizing new technology to engage with audiences, and drive attendance beyond their core patrons.
“We asked ourselves, how can people play with the art, and not just experience it traditionally?” he said. “In certain parts of the gallery, you’d have to collaborate with friends or strangers in order to get a photo.”
Yust also discussed the fact that his team wanted to make accessibility a major component of the special gallery so that all different types of visitors could engage with the immersive experience.
“We wanted to turn visitors into participants,” he said. “You’d be going through these somber galleries, and you’d hear echoes of laughter.”
Another panelist, Sarah Brin of Meow Wolf, ended the discussion by asking the packed audience to explore a set of questions the next time they have the opportunity to bring technology into a museum or gallery.
“What happens when we let artists drive? The next time we bring tech into a museum, let’s consider what are the core values of the project? How do you want people to feel? Who are we inviting to the table?”