Once they were companions in distress with their physical counterparts, exhibits in cyberspace came to the fore thanks to requests to stay at home. But are we and the necessary technologies ready for the revolution?
When COVID-19 forced the world to crash, almost everything moved (more) online. Group meetings, yoga classes, concerts. Unable to welcome visitors to their physical sites, industries in general had to rely on website visits. “We are in the middle of a new digital revolution, we dragged the kicks and screams of COVID-19 into a new reality,” writes Lenox Mhlanga for the Zimbabwean newspaper The Standard. “When innovations like virtual reality have been relegated to a new generation of digital nerds, traditional organizations are madly quick to adapt and catch up.”
Enter the explosion of virtual / online exhibitions. Some have gone so far as to call them virtual reality exhibits, even if what appears is nothing more than a clickable website, with no headsets in sight. This last aspect is understandable, given that few houses actually have a virtual reality headset. Despite technology becoming more accessible and reporting rapid industry growth, the consumer virtual reality hardware and software market size is projected to increase from $ 6.2 billion in 2019 to over $ 16. billion by 2022 (Statesman) – most likely to- Home use by gamers. According to TechJury, 70% of consumers who own a virtual reality headset have purchased a game with it. In an article for the New York Times, Kevin Roose predicted that virtual avoidance would be perfect for a pandemic, only to conclude that “outside of games, there’s not much you can do about a VR headset that you can’t do. more easily on another device. ” This is because the technology is still in its infancy or, as Space Popular’s Fredrik Hellberg describes it, “We are in the fax phase. It is still so simple, expensive, inaccessible. We will look back at this point later and think that it’s fun having to wear these big, clunky headphones. ”
Holding an exhibition in cyberspace isn’t exactly a new concept. The David Zwirner Gallery, for example, opened online galleries in 2017, the same year the online-only Universal Museum of Art launched. But, as has happened in other industries, retail, hospitality and offices are prime examples (see more on this in Box 135), the crisis has accelerated the adoption of existing ideas by both suppliers and consumers. The David Zwirner Gallery is proof of this, with David Zwirner Online seeing an increase in traffic during the block. Similarly, the Savina Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul, which in 2012 became one of the first museums in South Korea to offer virtual reality exhibits, has seen the number of visitors to its digital offering almost multiply. by ten since the coronavirus outbreak.