Stair Void, Musem of Old and New Art – MONA

When David Walsh opened the Museum of Old and New Art (Mona) he wanted to revolutionise the way a museum could look and feel—no wall labels, no scholarly rhetoric. He wanted a different type of storytelling. So Art Processors invented The O.

The O mobile guide uses indoor location technology to find visitors wherever they are in the cavernous and controversial museum and tell them about the closest artwork on display. It also challenges the traditional museum experience by encouraging visitors to rate the art, offers virtual queuing and makes it possible for augmented reality (AR) to be incorporated into major exhibitions.

The O put Mona at the cutting edge of museum mobile technology and continues to push the boundaries of what immersive and interactive visitor experiences.

“The O liberated (Mona) from white walls… (It delivers) vastly more important information of greater richness than conventional signage.”

Richard Flanagan, Tasmanian Devil, The New Yorker

Challenge

Walsh wanted visitors to experience the same excitement he felt as a collector on first encountering his art. He didn’t want them to read about the objects as they shuffled from label to label, as they had done at his Moorilla Museum of Antiquities. He faced two challenges: he wanted visitors to enjoy the artworks in an aesthetically pleasing space and he wanted to deliver rich content in an individual manner without distracting from that aesthetic.

Approach

Walsh wanted something that didn’t exist, so we formed Art Processors to invent it. Moving artwork information from the walls to a mobile device enabled the museum space to be re-imagined; walls didn’t need to be white, there was no need for bright lights to illuminate tiny text and way-finding became exploratory rather than dictatorial. The context of objects could be extended far beyond a block of words.

Solution

The O is an accessible and user-friendly mobile experience for iOS that provides location-based content for a variety of learning styles and interests. It provides the ability to ‘love’ and ‘hate’ artworks, join a virtual queue for an exhibit, experience augmented reality, and ‘save’ your tour to revisit once you have left the museum. The O is powered by our Museum Operating System (MOS), which also supports curatorial and front of house staff in exhibition design and the day-to-day management of the museum.

Impact
92 % of visitors use The O
80 % of visitors said The O enhanced their experience of the museum
113,930 visitors joined virtual queues via The O during the first year of operation