Rijksstudio and the museum’s public mission

Among the guests of Wikimuseums, we are particularly excited to have Peter Gorgels to tell us about the Rijkstudio project. We do not want to spoil the wonder of his presentation, and to prepare you we simply invite you to lose yourself inside the Rijksstudio: 200 thousand works to be observed in detail and make yours in the most creative way possible.

This leads us to reflect upon the changing role of the public function of the museum, their mission and their very autonomy: a debate that this Dutch project has helped take one step further in the most creative way possible, since its appearance in 2012.

As Peter will explain us, the mission of the Rijks’s digital strategy is to connect art and people. Rijksstudio is firstly the development of this idea, to its most extreme consequences. That way, it might seem just a means to an end (you said nothing: an incredibly effective means for a frighteningly high mission), but there’s more.

Rijksstudio has invented an unrivaled autonomy model and force of cultural institution. The personal relationship of re-creating that each user has with the work lives within boundaries and rules established by the institution: as with a good crowd-sourcing, you play, but I draw the field.

Such a defined field is the new public space of the contemporary museum. An enlarged area in which the public is invited to develop relationships with different objects: collections, spaces, events, images. The museum, therefore, has a new public function in the act as guarantor and guardian of this land interaction.

From this awareness to the construction of a new mission, the step is very close: for example, someone might conclude that today an institution can guarantee the truly public nature of its collections only by freely sharing their images and making them availabale to the highest number of people possible and ensuring that this exchange takes place in a horizontal and democratic manner for everyone.

From this point of view there nothing can be delegated: intermediaries, suppliers of high technologies, portal builders, virtualizers of exhibitions, app developers paid: they are all welcome, as long as they play in that recognized field in which the museum has to hold the disclosure of the bar.

In this sense, the Italian museum sector has yet to (and can) learn the lesson of Rijkstudio: the issue is not even to build the content, but overseeing a relationship.

A public museum has to tell us: the field is free. And it’s mine. And it is yours.

At that point, you feel like you have to enter, whether it is a website or a neo-classical villa on the seafront of Naples.

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