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SNG and the Norwegian Nasjonalmuseet published their collections and data across borders

The project of the Slovak National Gallery and the Nasjonalmuseet (The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design) called Art, Collections and Data Across Borders came to an end. The online catalogues developed by these institutions – the Norwegian Samling and the Slovak Web umenia (“Web of Art”) – were at the heart of this project. Since the digital technologies and the internet, along with a physical visit of a gallery, are one of the main access points to the collections, the goal of the project was to make them even more available to the public. During the course of the project, a series of workshops, as well as Art Data Hackathon, took place. The participants managed to improve the functionality of the websites and also expand the number of the participating galleries. 

The common grounds of both institutions offered the possibility of knowledge and skills exchange, sharing of technologies and outlining a  similar digital strategy. The intensive cooperation culminated in two workshops and the Art Data Hackathon event. The first workshop took place in Bratislava and was focused on presenting the projects of both partners in the field of collections management systems. The workshop participants discussed their experiences with developing Web umenia and Samling, the individual features (tagging, displaying high-resolution images and making them freely accessible), how to engage visitors in creating content (annotating artworks, feedback) and challenges connected with it (moderating the content, quality control) as well as other plans (such as developing an English version of Web umenia). The Norwegian partners were introduced to our digitisation department and Digital Gallery project. This project, which digitised a large portion of the collection in high-resolution, foreshadowed the creation of Web umenia. 

The main event of the project was Art Data Hackathon. The international nature of the event was given, considering the participation of Norwegian partners and the fact that the event was carried out in the English language. The event was a success with both the organisers and the participants, who worked on innovative projects connecting art, software and technology. Teams have been created so that the abilities and skills (programming, graphic design, marketing) of the contestants complemented each other. Data on works of art from the collections of the SNG and Nasjonalmuseet, artist biographies, source codes and API documentation and a three-dimensional model of the building reconstruction of SNG were all available. The participants were also able to participate in various workshops – working with data from galleries, working with OpenCV or collaboration through GitHub platform. Among the mentors who were available for participants during the event were General Director of SNG Alexandra Kusá, Chief Curator of Collections of Old Art Dušan Buran, visual artist Amalia Roxana Filip, programmer Matej Fandl, members of the lab.SNG platforms and professional staff from the Norwegian Nasjonalmuseet. One of the winning projects – Vampart – is available online and it was met with positive response from both the wider public and the experts. Video documenting the event is also available.

Art Data Hackathon and the further development of the winning projects were discussed during the second workshop in Oslo. More detailed plans for the further development of Web umenia and Samling were also debated, such as expanding the artist biographies on Web umenia to include Wikipedia entries or automatic identification of styles and genres of the paintings using "machine learning" (Nasjonalmuseet project). The workshop participants were introduced to work of various departments – Digital Photography Department and Media Design Group. The workers of the Nasjonalmuseet Digital Photography Department met with the workers from the SNG Digital Technologies Section in March 2017, who presented their own experience with digitisation.

An important goal of the project Art, Collections and Data Across Borders was the development of Web umenia, an online catalogue of artworks from Slovak galleries. From the user's point of view, the most visible change will be the English version of the site – a feature that will allow the user to search and view the information about the artwork in English. It will soon be made available to the public. During the duration of the project, the number of participating galleries increased from 5 to 7 – Nitra Gallery and Central Slovakian Gallery in Banská Bystrica were added. The website Dream × Reality – Events of the Slovak State in 4 Chapters was also developed during the project as an extension of Web umenia. This website enhances the exhibition about art and propaganda during the years 1939 – 1945 with historical context. This site, which is in the form of a  long-form article, was developed using the components of Web umenia - using the zoom functionality to view the images in high-resolution.  Linking the two sites to each other also contributed significantly to their traffic – Web umenia was visited by more than 103,000 users during the duration of the project, while Dream × Reality – Events of the Slovak State in 4 Chapters was visited more than 18,000 times.

More information
Vampart (one of the winning project from Art Data Hackathon)

Project Overview

Slovak National Gallery 

Nasjonalmuseet – The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design
holds, preserves, exhibits, and promotes public knowledge about, Norway's most extensive collections of art, architecture and design. It shows permanent exhibitions of works from its own collections and temporary exhibitions that incorporate works loaned from elsewhere. The Museum's exhibition venues in Oslo are the National Gallery, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the National Museum – Architecture, and the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design. The Museum's programme also includes exhibitions that tour both within and beyond Norway's borders.

Duration of the project:
June 2016 – April 2017

NFP grant:
92,412 €

Ladislava Gnacková |

Supported by a grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway.
Co-financed by the State Budget of the Slovak Republic.


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