Digital treasure trove awaits you

Digital treasure trove awaits you

You just have to log on to the internet to discover and savour rare and splendid works of art — or space age adventures. We show you the way
 
NEARLY 29,000 VIDEO FILES, ALMOST 1,000 AUDIO FILES AND MORE THAN 90,000 IMAGES ARE AVAILABLE ON THE NASA SITE
TIME WAS when a connoisseur of art of music had to physically trawl museums and galleries. Seeing great paintings or listening to rare classics is perhaps still best done with the touch and feel of awe-inspiring spaces, but still, the digital world offers us armchair tours of some of the world’s best collections — thanks to the ability to store sounds and images in increasingly rich formats. This week, we guide some fascinating destinations for the digital age art lover.
THE SMITHSONIAN [http://bit.ly/htart1]
 
The world’s largest museum and research complex had promised to allow digital access to its art by 2015, and has done it by showcasing nearly 40,000 pieces of art from its collection online. This is the first phase and you can look for a work of art by object type, topic, name, culture, place and even by date. You can also download wallpapers for your desktop or handphone. And in case you are in a mood to decorate your living room, you can download high-resolution images to print — as long as the use is non-commercial. You can see sketches, paintings, ceramics, ornaments, jewellery or textiles. If you are passionate about taking the mission forward, you can also become a beta tester or transcriber for the Smithsonian’s Digital Art Project.
GOOGLE ART PROJECT
 
[www.googleartproject.org]
Google is more than a search engine. The Google Art Project, forming part of the Cultural Institute Initiative at Google, has a special technology touch thanks to its sponsor. Not only can you select works of art or collections, you can also create your personalised user galleries. Closeups to view nuanced textures are possible, thanks to Google’s technological excellence.
Google has added 360-degree tours of the wonders of this world such as the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia, and the project also offers special views on street art, women in art, and historic monuments. And yes, you can watch slide shows on your smart TV so you can enjoy the stuff on a larger screen in the comfort of your living room.
DIGITAL ART MUSEUM [http://dam.org]
 
While painters once expressed themselves on canvas, modern creators are using digital tools, from their iPads with a stylus to using high-end application software to generate digital art. The Digital Art Museum is a great resource on the history and practice of digital art, whether you are interested in computer-generated fractals, algorithmic art and multimedia works such as videos, digital photos/graphics.
You can browse by artists or by technology or even read essays on experiments and on how digital art is made.
NASA IMAGES [http://nasaimages.org]
 
Space, as the Star Trek tagline went, is the final frontier. The US put man on the moon, and India has put an orbiter around Mars, kindling the curiosity of probably millions of young Indians to peer into the sky and beyond. For those of us who grew up on a diet of science-fiction fantasies and movies, the business of peeping into distant galaxies and celestial objects is the stuff of goosepimples. America’s space agency, Nasa, has just the right site to satisfy digital cosmonauts. Nearly 29,000 video f iles, almost 1,000 audio files and more than 90,000 images are available.
You can watch t he original 16 mm film from the Apollo 11 mission that made Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. Or you can peer into a swarm of stars 28,000 light years away. Or catch audio tracks from Nasa missions in which astronauts talk to space control. Houston, anyone?
ARCHIVE OF INDIAN MUSIC [http://archiveofindianmusic.org]
 
In India, the land of the raga, classical music has found a new lifeline in digital initiatives.
There have been laudable attempts by corporate sponsors such as ITC to make their libraries available online, apart from private collectors putting up their rare pieces in physical libraries. All India Radio has also been on a drive to store its old-world recordings. But a special mention goes to Vikram Sampath, who with able support from a few individuals, has been able to run a website that has nearly 10,000 hours of rare musical recordings. Some date as far back as 1902.
In fact, the gover nment should move to make works from All India Radio, Doordarshan and the National Gallery of Modern Art online. The sooner rare works get digitised and indexed for viewing, the better it is for everyone – students, connoisseurs and historians alike.
Source | Hindustan Times | 6 January 2015

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