The Concert by Johannes Vermeer. Poppy Flowers by Vincent van Gogh. Rembrandt’s The Storm on the Sea of Galilee. These are some of the world’s most famous and expensive paintings ever stolen. They’re still missing. And soon will be able to see them in a museum for the first time. Well, sort of.
The Museum of Stolen Art is a virtual reality exhibition created by Ziv Schneider, a graduate student at Tisch ITP, that puts stolen works back on display. Schneider has constructed an unadorned room of white walls–your prototypical art gallery–and hung digital works from the FBI and Interpol art crime databases. The museum’s inaugural exhibition will includes several pieces from the $300 million art heist at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990; pieces that disappeared from Iraq’s National Museum following the 2003 U.S. invasion; and relics from the Afghanistan National Museum, which has seen about 70% of its collection destroyed or stolen over the past 35 years. To attend, the viewer will simply don a virtual reality headset, navigating the space while a narrator identifies the work via headphones. But Schneider hasn’t opened her exhibit quite yet.
I’s an absurdly simple idea–take digital images of stolen works, plaster them up in a rudimentary 3-D space–and a stimulating use for virtual reality. We’ve seen many applications that mimic our real world. Here, we get to explore a “what if?” alternate reality–to walk through that priceless, hypothetical gallery owned by some modern supervillain with a penchant for famous art and see a collection of beautiful objects that we’ve lost to war and greed.
[via Prosthetic Knowledge]