Technology has brought us the next best thing to a one-on-one guided art gallery tour in the form of a new app named Smartify, which serves as a digital docent. Instead of Googling or leaning in way too close to your favorite piece of artwork to read the wall museum label, the Smartify app is basically to art what Shazam is to music.
Using "visual fingerprints" to identify individual works of art, the app pulls from a constantly updated database of artwork to provide users with information about the art they're viewing as well as recorded interviews from the respective artists. It also allows users to save their favorite pieces of art and will even come up with tailored recommendations of specific selections it thinks you'll enjoy looking at. The user can even interact with fellow art lovers who use the app.
"We scan artworks using photos or digital images and then create digital fingerprints of the artwork, meaning that it is reduced to a set of digital dots and lines," co-founder Anna Lowe told Dezeen.
"When a user tries the app against an artwork, the app analyses the target artwork and matches it against existing images we have scanned."
In addition to educating the masses, the other objective for Smartify is to positively integrate the use of cell phones into the art viewing experience.
"[We want] to provide information in the most elegant, accessible and unobtrusive way possible," Lowe said. "As a social enterprise, we hope the app will encourage more people to think visual art, and visiting museums and galleries is 'for them', and also support public museums and artists in engaging differently with existing audiences and reaching new ones."
Smartify recently launched at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, and is currently being used in more than 30 museums and galleries across the globe.