Kochi, Dec 2013 The Google Art Project has archived and digitized the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012 - India’s first official biennale of contemporary art in the historic coastal town of Kochi in Kerala that began last year. It has become the first Indian art showcase to be digitized by Google, which has so far collaborated with institutions to archive art on the Internet. The initiative will allow visitors and art lovers around the world to revisit the Biennale that drew 89 artists from 23 countries and nearly 400,000 people. It was spread across 14 venues in the old Jewish quarters of Kochi town.
Google Art Project is a collaboration between Google and some of the world’s finest and most highly acclaimed art institutions that include collections of the White House in Washington DC, Musée d'Orsay and Musée du Louvre in Paris and the National Gallery in London and the National Gallery of Modern Art in the national capital of India among many others.
“This is a historic achievement. It is mind-boggling to think that even 20 years from now someone can experience the biennale exactly as it happened in 2012” artist Bose Krishnamachari, the Director of Kochi-Muziris Biennale and the co-curator of the first edition, said. The organizers said “to get a biennale onto the Google Art Project was a huge challenge and something that has never been attempted before”.
Google Art Project will allow users to explore the biennale venues. Shooting over a period of one-week the technical team used highly specialized cameras and trolley systems to collect 360-degree images of the artworks and exhibition venues including the historic Durbar Hall in Ernakulum which was renovated by the Kochi Biennale Foundation in 2011.
This ambitious archiving project is a joint venture between the Kochi Biennale Foundation and Google Art Project, with support from Google India. Amit Sood, Head of Google Art Project, said “I'm absolutely delighted that India's first ever Biennale, with its outstanding collection of Indian and international art, has joined the Cultural Institute, bringing this exhibition to a global audience”.
The second edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale will begin December 12, 2014. It will curated by Mumbai-based contemporary artist and curator Jitish Kallat. The dates for the 2014 edition of the Biennale were announced by artist Namboodiri at a function held in the Pepper House – an old spice warehouse restored to a contemporary art space – on December 12, 2013.