Art Maps was developed as part of an interdisciplinary collaborative project between three departments at Tate (Tate Learning, Tate Online and Tate Research) and researchers in Computer Science (University of Nottingham) and Performance and New Media (University of Exeter), funded by RCUK Horizon Digital Economy Research Institute (2012-14). Art Maps consists of a web app that allows users to explore artworks in the Tate collection through a map interface which facilitates their analysis in relation to the places, sites, landscapes and environments that informed or led to their geotagging. The app can locate their user and bring up works in the Tate collection that are geotagged in relation to places near them. Users can then look at these works on the map and/or explore them in situ, reflecting on how what they see in the works relates to their surroundings. Alternatively, through a search function (by artist and by location), users can explore works in any locality. Users may then change the location of an artwork and add a comment reflecting on the reasons behind this change and/or what they think may be the relationship between a place and a work. In this paper we will describe aspects of the research that led to the development of ArtMaps between 2012 and 2014; analyze findings from observations of the user experience during the same period; and present our hypothesis as to the broader significance of this platform in terms of how to interpret and capture how we look at and place art in a world that is increasingly dominated by ubiquitous computing.
Conference presentation, NODEM 2014, Warsaw, Poland