Ms Drögemüller, you are Deputy Director of the SCHIRN KUNSTHALLE FRANKFURT. If, like the SCHIRN, an exhibition space doesn’t have its own collection, what digital options are available for disseminating art?
The SCHIRN offers its visitors, on site and online, comprehensive digital options to facilitate access to its artworks and exhibition themes – in the most interesting way possible. This begins e.g. with our popular online magazine SCHIRN MAGAZINE, which for many years has been covering a very wide range of topics from art and culture through various journalistic formats, including artist interviews, podcasts and background reports – in German and English. And it continues with the “Digitorial”, a free tutorial for selected exhibitions, which gives visitors the opportunity to get to know, in advance, the exhibition’s themes and theses and to learn about its background. The presentation follows an innovative and gripping narrative tailored to contemporary usability: this is what we mean by engaging knowledge transfer. And even at the SCHIRN, thanks to our free-of-charge wifi, visitors can explore the exhibitions playfully through a special educational offer.
What is your experience implementing your digitally based communications channels? What feedback are you getting from your visitors? What’s their assessment and in what form are you continuing to work on existing formats, improving their use in the long term?
The SCHIRN website, magazine and social networks offer good opportunities to get to know our visitors, readers and followers. Detailed statistics reveal where the largest user group comes from, how old the readers of a given article are or how often an English-language film has been watched in South America. And of course that information allows us to draw conclusions for our communications and to develop new digital educational formats. The aim is to find the ideal way to connect – online and offline – visitors’ interests and knowledge with the content of the SCHIRN’s exhibitions. This allows us to propose the most appropriate options possible for everyone, offering access to art on a whole range of levels.
What about social media? In your opinion, which channels are indispensible for the SCHIRN? And what role does social media play in communicating with your visitors?
With over 100,000 international fans, Facebook is the SCHIRN’s most far-reaching social media platform. And, for about a year now, we’ve also been giving live tours with our curators on Facebook. The community endorses these efforts by asking us to do even more in this area. And it’s true that it’s great to experience exhibitions and curators and to be able to ask them about their ideas live. Above all, it’s an opportunity for everyone who doesn’t have the option of actual physically visiting the SCHIRN. Of course, Facebook has already been around for a while, just like Twitter – where we’ve also been part of the conversation for years. Obviously the community also moves on to where new trends are developing and new spaces for communication are opening up. We were one of the first art institutions on Instagram and Snapchat. We’re very active on WhatsApp, where 1:1 chats give us the most direct possible contact and interaction with our community. We do everything from answering questions about our opening hours to sending pieces worth reading from SCHIRN MAGAZINE and engaging seriously with criticism and new ideas.
Let’s take a look into the future – to 2027. By that point, which digital projects have been implemented with what degree of success and usefulness for visitors as well as for the SCHIRN?
Moving image is already omnipresent today and will become even more important to communicating our content. In networks and on platforms, tremendous importance is already attached to video content. The SCHIRN recognised the potential of moving image for communicating art, online in particular, early on. Just take a look at our YouTube playlists. We’ve been producing high-quality content for many years. This area will become the focus of attention increasingly in the future, so it also needs to be constantly professionalised – precisely because an institution like the SCHIRN offers the ideal conditions for film formats: access to young international artists as well as active discussions about topics relevant to our times. What’s more, we’re following the development and possibilities of virtual reality and augmented reality – technologies that, after the hype, will enter our everyday lives more and more in the coming years. We’re already documenting individual exhibition projects in 360° and are seeking to put together a virtual reality archive to make it possible to permanently experience past installations and sculptures in the rotunda of the SCHIRN, for example.
What are your professional and personal hopes for a festival like THE ARTS+? What will the SCHIRN KUNSTHALLE present to visitors?
At the festival, we would like to give all interested visitors insight into the extensive and diverse digital SCHIRN universe – we’ll present our projects and formats in personal conversations at our stand (4.1, M79). We look forward to discussing future developments and to the opportunity to enter into dialogue with visitors at the book fair, colleagues from Germany and abroad, festival participants and our community.
Thank you very much for your time, Ms Drögemüller.
Inka Drögemüller Portrait © Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 2017, photo: Gaby Gerster
Other photos © Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 2017
Interview by Jördis Hille.