When Lucy Lippard and John Chandler published "The Dematerialization of Art" in 1968, it seemed obvious that a kind of change had reached the world of art, where we saw a move of focus from the object to the process. Happenings, land art, body art or mail art were expressions that confirmed that the conceptual tendences were to be the new paradigma in the world of art, as a result of a trascendental change in the notion of Piece of Art. And that was concerning as well in the way society conceives the functions museums and art centers should fullfil, as they became prescriptors and transmisors of the many stories that occupied the western cultural ecosystem instead of the simple old mission as plain conservers of the artistic heritage. Museums started to face the future, rather than keep stuck over the past.
As Pep Serra, head of the MNAC in Barcelona says, the challenge museums of the XXI century should face is to become experiencial and living spaces, to redefine the functions they develop as treasure keepers or legitimizers of what art is, and therefore, what culture is, to fit new scenarios as the digital challenge or the needs of those new audiences that claim more than content 1.0.
Serra points to the importance of knowing your audiences, to identify their needs when they get to a museum, but now more than ever, the requirements of those who are non-visitors yet, as they are a real challenge to the strategic comunication departments dedicated to finding dynamic and direct channels to foster interaction, participation and, finally, improve the creation of communities.
Technologies 2.0 are not, at the moment, according to polls, best friends with Spanish museums. Concepts such as active participation, the improvement of a critical mass or hypertextuality should be included in the communication guidelines of the art institutions, as they are keywords in this world hungry for social interaction. But at the moment, they do not appear to have propagated into the halls of the directive departments. That would be an effective way to get the content of the exhibitions as well as the mission of the institution to reach much further than inside the walls of the museum, and become part of our daily life, to come to a real new way to understand education outside regular schools.
In that sense, there are plenty of qualified opinions in academic fields claiming the need to rethink the city in terms of education, insisting on the main role it should have to build a new conscient and free society. For the museums, this should be a boost to create and promote tools to improve participation in the task of interpreting and communicating cultural heritage as a result of the dialogue established between citizens in communities, which is, at the end, what culture is meant to be. Digital 2.0 channels are called to join forces in order to visualize this visibility that Cultural Institutions need in the XXI century. Getting beyond the walls to put Culture in the cloud may help art centers to connect and become a constant presence in the life of those people who believe in Culture as an undeniable and essential fact of contemporary communities.