Under lockdown, many of us have turned to exploring the world online. One of the most preferred platforms to do this has been the Google Arts & Culture website and app. We talked to Simon Rein, Programme Manager at Google Arts & Culture to find out how they have increased the accessibility of culture, and what kind of a role VR will play in the future of .
Just a few years back, if you wanted to check out the Christ statue in Rio, or marvel at the 4,000-year-old mummy at Kolkata's Indian Museum (yes, they have that), you would have had to visit the actual place.
Not now. Thanks to Google Art & Culture, you can access them from anywhere. At a time when we are still a tad uncertain about travelling, and planning an international trip remains a pipe dream, technology can certainly take care of our travel itch. And platforms like Google Arts & Culture allow us to explore museums and heritage sites halfway across the world through their specially curated Virtual Reality tours. A pioneer in the field of virtual reality, Google Arts & Culture showcases a wide-ranging variety of artworks using high-resolution image technology.
Their website and app allows you to browse through the archives of museums a breeze. For instance, you could be looking through the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC while sitting at your desk in Kochi. They have everything related to art and culture, even 'cats in art', and their VR function lets you explore the streets of any city.
Outlook Traveller interviewed Simon Rein, Program Manager, Google Arts & Culture about their Virtual Reality platform and how it is transforming travel. Here are excerpts from the interview.
Given that the pandemic has restricted people from travelling to their favourite destinations, how do you think Virtual Reality tours can help the armchair traveller?
Google Arts & Culture's mission has always been to develop technology that gives people access to the world's treasures, and encourage them to engage with art and culture in new ways. Virtual Reality tours in particular are an exciting way for someone to feel like they're transported to a different place, and can grant unprecedented access to special sites for a unique, intimate experience. For example, our tour of the Palace of Versailles gives you access to 21 iconic rooms in the palace, amongst them the world known Hall of Mirrors or the Queen's Great Apartments that were home for Marie Antoinette. You have the whole palace to yourself!