Hirshhorn Launches New Generation of Museum Mobile Video Guide

Instantly Meet the Artists Behind the Art With Hirshhorn Eye
June 27, 2018
News Release
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Hand holding phone in front of artwork

Visitors can come face-to-face with today’s most exciting artists this summer with Hirshhorn Eye (Hi for short), a revolutionary in-gallery instant art guide that uses machine learning to deliver exclusive video to any smartphone. Starting Saturday, June 30, Hi will connect museumgoers directly with the artists behind the art on view—including Olafur Eliasson, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Lorna Simpson and many more—taking the viewer into their homes and studios to explore the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of contemporary art.

To get started, visitors can simply type hi.si.edu in their phone’s browser, no app download required. As they move through the galleries, Hi’s sophisticated image recognition will scan the works of art in front of them—from Mark Bradford’s “Pickett’s Charge” to Yayoi Kusama’s “Pumpkin”—and instantly unlock dozens of unique artist interviews and insights.

“The Hirshhorn is a voice for the most important art and artists of our time,” said Hirshhorn Director Melissa Chiu. “This new guide came out of a simple desire to connect art lovers with art makers, to bring you closer to these incredible artists, for free, using just your phone. It’s an intimate, inspiring creative experience designed for absolutely anyone who enters the museum.”

Hi is streamlined to bring visitors closer to the artists. Its web-based platform and image recognition capabilities go beyond the technology of other museums’ mobile guides with more than 150 pieces of unique content.

“We wanted to create a direct encounter with art, by allowing visitors to hear from the artists themselves,” Chiu said. “What could be better than seeing Annette Lemieux reenact her signature walking painting technique while seeing her footprints on the canvas, or peering over Ed Atkins’ shoulder at his computer just after you encounter his CGI installation?”

This groundbreaking project brought together three vendors for the first time: Linked By Air (technical development and UX design), Antenna International (visitor guide) and Captain and the Fox (video production), all of whom worked with Hirshhorn curators, visitor focus groups and technologists for more than a year. “Hirshhorn Eye could not have existed just a few months ago,” Chiu said. “We started with a vision, and as we were developing, smartphone functionality caught up to make the reality possible. And we hope this is just the beginning.”

Exclusive artist interviews include:

Ed Atkins

José Bedia

Mark Bradford

Olafur Eliasson

Damien Hirst

Nancy Kienholz

Jeff Koons

Joseph Kosuth

Yayoi Kusama

Annette Lemieux

Tony Lewis

Reynier Leyva Novo

Glenn Ligon

Inge Mahn

Teresa Margolles

Charles Simonds

Lorna Simpson

Hiroshi Sugimoto

Siebren Versteeg

Didier Vermeiren

Huang Yong Ping 

Hi is the newest initiative in the Hirshhorn’s continued effort to transform the visitor experience. All Hi videos are embedded with visual descriptions for visitors who are vision impaired and captions for those who are hearing impaired.

About the Hirshhorn

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is the national museum of modern and contemporary art and a leading voice for 21st-century art and culture. Part of the Smithsonian, the Hirshhorn is located prominently on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Its holdings encompass one of the most important collections of postwar American and European art in the world. The Hirshhorn presents diverse exhibitions and offers an array of public programs on the art of our time—free to all, 364 days a year. For more information, visit hirshhorn.si.edu.

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