The original VR art gallery

We hope to have a special exhibit in the Museum of Modern Art in the future. Some of our ideas include:

I. A kiosk where users can upload (via wifi, bluetooth, email or card reader) their photos. Once the photos are uploaded, they are immediate displayed on a wall in the MoMA for everyone to see, thus becoming art. This could potentially be real-time.

II. Print outs of each work of art (e.g., all photographs of Warhol’s “Soup Cans” printed up and stuck to the wall) exemplifying the idea that your photograph is also a work of art.

III. A definitive online gallery categorizing every work of art and how it was experienced by each visiting photographer.

IV. A book contrasting how each photographer interacts with the art. Highlights may include the examination of why each photograph was taken (e.g., to remember the art, to record a personal visit or memory, to create new art from existing art.)

V. A moving picture of all compiled photographs pieced together as a virtual walk through of the museum. This could be on a large interactive touchscreen television or even controlled with eye detection software. This could potentially use a virtual 3D version of the Museum (e.g. simulacrum).

We encourage your suggestions, as the entire MoMA Project represents the collective knowledge and spirit of the community. mailto:

PRESS — Flickr: “A Case Study Part 2–The MoMA”
PRESS — “The MoMA Project and the Transformation of the Art Museum Experience”

Why do people visit art museums?

To have an authentic relationship with the work, one that consists of • contemplating its meaning

• engaging the artist through the art

• seeing specific details of the art (e.g. brushstrokes)

• to experience the “aura” of the original work, as described by Walter Benjamin

What is the role of the reproduction?

A reproduction can provide a sense of personal association with a work of art—almost to the point of appropriation This sense of association, however, is not dependent on the accuracy of a reproduction—a quality which is often eschewed entirely in favor of other elements (e.g. posing with a work of art).

The primary factor involved in this relationship is ancillary aura.

What is ancillary aura?

Ancillary aura describes the uniqueness of a reproduction

Affecting qualities:

• Who made the reproduction?

(an unknown person or a known person?)

• How many copies of the reproductions are there?

(is this a unique reproduction or a mass reproduction?)

• How close to the original is the reproduction?

(is this a direct reproduction or possibly a reproduction of a reproduction?) • How is it connected to the viewer?

(did the viewer create it or simply buy it?)

Since digital photography is nearing a point of uniform accuracy, technically speaking, the value of ancillary aura increases for personal photographers.

Why take a photograph of artwork?

A photograph of a work of art is imbued with ancillary aura

• It is in direct proximity to the original aura

• The photographer is directly involved in its production—a factor augmented by personal historicity and capturing the memory


“In all the arts there is a physical component which can no longer be considered or treated as it used to be, which cannot remain unaffected by our modern knowledge and power. For the last twenty years neither matter nor space nor time has been what it was from time immemorial. We must expect great innovations to transform the entire technique of the arts, thereby affecting artistic invention itself and perhaps even bringing about an amazing change in our very notion of art.”

Paul Valéry, Pièces sur L’Art, Le Conquete de l’ubiquite, 1931.
Quoted by Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, 1936.

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