Ocean of Artwork

January 2018
Jae Perris

Ocean of Artwork is an interactive system of navigation and discovery through a collection of artistic artefacts, captured in photographic form. The system converts flat, or relational databases to 3D mapped exploratory virtual realms. This system demonstrates a novel approach that within the given testing criteria, is evaluated positively and progressively improved by the chosen user-evaluators. The system also purports successful interaction from their users with little to no set-up training.

When navigating a type of environment like a museum/gallery, customers are often struck with inspiration, or a thirst for more knowledge on a topic and its place in the collection. Currently they could either miss this opportunity to explore, or be relegated to using traditional search approaches. Within art museum institutions1 the museum may often select from a larger collection a series of works to display based on their aesthetic, spacial, or event based criteria. Typically the work that is shown is ‘just the tip of the iceberg’, where in archived is a deep trove of related, or unrelated works.

We saw that it would be complementary to their goal to demonstrate the full set of their works, given customer interest. In this project, we took for-profit galleries as having a goal similar to museums throughout this paper, and thus pragmatically equate the two. It is needed to find a solution to explore of a galleries collection from both the museums side, to better serve their customers and their stakeholders goals, and from the customers side to better support their interest in the gallery.

We introduce the user’s smartphone as controller navigating an ocean of data. One has to tilt the controller to move in a certain direction in the ocean. The metaphor of an ocean for the spatial layout of the data is appropriate visually as it allows to navigate in all directions, just like a fish can underwater. On top of that, ocean also entails a large amount of water and space, that is also the case with a database: a large amount of images and therefore also space. We use this metaphor to help people understand the functionality of the system and their smartphone.