State's... digital and immersive exhibitions are born in France: agency launched

France, the RMN - Grand Palais, the company that manages the nation's great museums, today launches a subsidiary to create and export digital and immersive exhibitions.

France launches an agency to produce major digital and immersive exhibitions: it is today’s news that the Réunion des Musées Nationaux et duGrand Palais (RMN - Grand Palais), or the public-law corporation with financial autonomy and industrial and commercial character that manages 34 national museums (including the Louvre, the Muséand d’Orsay the Musée Rodin, and others), has launched a new subsidiary called Grand Palais Immersif, which will specialize in the production, realization, and dissemination of major exhibitions, especially immersive ones. The agency’s mission consists of three points: to conceive and create digital and immersive exhibitions in synergy with museums, audiovisual and multimedia producers, and startups specializing in digital; to launch them in Paris, in a Grand Palais renovated for the occasion and in dedicated spaces; and to market them both in France and abroad.

Grand Palais Immersif is the result of a collaboration between RMN - Grand Palais, the Banque des Territoires (a directorate of the French Deposit Bank) and VINCI Immobilier, one of the country’s leading real estate promotion groups. The goal is to spread culture in the territory and make art accessible, as well as to enhance digital innovation in all its forms, RMN - Grand Palais points out in a note: immersive sets, new digital media, virtual reality, augmented and mixed reality. And then there is also the goal of becoming a key player on the digital exhibition market, with a demanding editorial line that succeeds in merging spectacle, storytelling and knowledge transmission. All under the aegis of the public company that runs the national museums.

The idea comes in the wake of the production of some highly successful exhibitions, such as the one on Pompeii organized last summer at the Grand Palais, which brought as many as 200,000 visitors to the halls of the Parisian museum in four months (July 1 to Oct. 31, 2020), and will benefit from the expertise of all the actors involved in the operaizone: RMN - Grand Palais will ensure the quality of the content (including from a digital perspective), Banque des Territoires brings to the table its expertise in cultural innovation, digital innovation, territorial engineering, and the reduction of social inequalities, and VINCI Immobilier offers its expertise in the creation and transformation of exhibition sites. Also already anticipated are the first projects, which will involve the Louvre, startup Iconem (which specializes in digitizing cultural heritage) and the Mucha Foundation. The general manager of Grand Palais Immersif will be the current head of digital at RMN - Grand Palais, Roei Amit.

“RMN - Grand Palais,” says its president Chris Dercon, "has developed its digital projects and expertise a great deal in recent years. The largely digital Pompéi exhibition that has just concluded at the Grand Palais confirms the relevance of a new model of exhibition production that will find its place in the renovated Grand Palais and abroad."

“The articulation of emotions but also of information and interaction within immersive environments creates an attractiveness that carries values,” says newly appointed director Roei Amit. “We are in contact with many actors to exhibit our new projects in Paris before opening future immersive galleries in the restored Grand Palais.”

“We are proud of the creation of Grand Palais Immersif, developed in close collaboration with RMN - Grand Palais and Caisse de Dépôts,” stresses Olivier de la Roussière, president of VINCI Immobilier. “We share the same ambition, to propose to so many people a new living space, where art can be the bearer of beauty and social cohesion. Thanks to this new partnership, we will also be able to respond to the requests of local communities who wish to re-dynamize their urban fabric by avoiding unwanted occupations of empty spaces. Promoting these exhibitions is tantamount to participating in the dissemination of art in cities and democratizing access to it.”

“Immersive technologies,” explains Maud Franca, adjunct director for digital at Banque des Territoires, “will be one of the next revolutions in digital platforms, and they are an area in which the American and Chinese digital giants are already investing heavily. Investing in this new field of creativity and cultural dissemination is now a matter of cultural sovereignty. And artistic creation, which is a way of thinking about the world and releasing our imagination and emotions, evolves over time. It is exploratory by nature. I am equally convinced that no one form of culture replaces another: if anything, forms are added, to respond to all tastes but also to nourish more and more intensely our daily need for wonder, and therefore for art, beauty, and knowledge, which we badly need today in the context of crisis we are going through.”

Image: the Pompéi virtual reality experience (Salon d’Honneur at the Grand Palais, Sept. 16 to Oct. 14, 2020)

State's... digital and immersive exhibitions are born in France: agency launched
State's... digital and immersive exhibitions are born in France: agency launched

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