Q&A with Google’s Piotr Adamczyk

Where in the world is PEM’s staff today? Well, a group of them have popped down to Baltimore, MD to attend the 2014 Museums and the Web conference.

Ed Rodley, PEM’s Associate Director of Integrated Media, took some time between conference events to catch up with Google’s Piotr Adamczyk. Adamczyk will be at PEM this Sunday to speak about Google’s Cultural Institute as part of the Sensational India! Festival.


Ed Rodley and Piotr Adamczyk at Museums and the Web in Baltimore. Photo by Dinah Cardin.

Ed Rodley: Piotr, can you tell us a little bit about Google Cultural Institute, and what it does?

Piotr Adamcyzk: Sure. The Google Cultural Institute started initially as the Art Project, Archives Project and World Wonders, where we send the trolley — the street view technology — to various World Heritage Sites, partnering with UNESCO and some other World Heritage organizations. All of that was then brought together as the Cultural Institute just this past year, focused on what we could do for the cultural sector more broadly — focusing on museums, libraries, archives, and historical sites all together. The goal really is to democratize access to world culture, for institutions to put up whatever objects they’d like and in as many different ways as they can — audio, video, images — and then to be able to use Google technology to get that out to as wide of an audience as possible.

ER: Google’s been involved in India for a very long time. Do you want to talk about some of the projects that have been going on?

PA: Well, the initial round of the Art Project was really rather small. It was just seventeen institutions in nine countries. As soon as that initial round finished, and Google was able to commit its full resources to the project, India was one of the first countries that we were focused on. We partnered with both the National Museum in Delhi and also the National Gallery of Modern Art. They joined very early in the second round of the project, growing in that second group of 150 institutions. There’s just so much activity and so much culture throughout all of South Asia, but India in particular, that we’ve always had more online interest in that material and we’ve been very focused on that country.

ER: So, can you talk a little bit more about what you’ve been doing with the Indian contemporary art scene?

PA: Of course. Beyond all of the classical collections that we’ve been focused on, we’re interested in looking at the contemporary arts scene in terms of festivals — the Delhi Photo Festival, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, looking at some of the modern archives and ephemera that comes together; it’s not contemporary, but the Archive of Indian Music, other kinds of craft revival movements, and that sort of material; the content that’s coming online and focused on contemporary practices in India, contemporary art practices and contemporary art. Those are very much in focus.

Learn more about Google Cultural Project this Sunday!

Designing Google’s Art Project
Sunday April 6 – 2:30PM
Morse Auditorium
Reservations suggested

Piotr Adamczyk of Google’s Art Project discusses the extraordinary program that puts the best art collections of the world on the Web. Thanks to this effort, people can now view 30,000 works of art from more than 150 museums, without leaving the house. A member of the content team of the Google Cultural Institute, Adamczyk’s work is focused on the use of open/linked data in cultural heritage institutions. A former analyst at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Adamczyk has authored papers, organized workshops and served as a program committee member for the Association for Computing Machinery and cultural heritage conferences. His arts research includes residencies at the Banff New Media Institute, Medialab-Prado and Eyebeam Art + Technology Center. This lecture made possible in part by the George Swinnerton Parker Memorial Lecture Fund.


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