When you’re short on time and money, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to take an evening out and splash the cash on some tickets to see a play, or go to the ballet, or an opera. Sometimes it’s not even time and money, it’s just a simple matter of distance. So, to put a bit of wind beneath the wings of every grounded culture vulture out there, the Google Cultural Institute has partnered with over 60 performing arts institutions around the world so that you can get involved for free from the comfort of your own home. It’s kind of like street view, except rather than watching that guy with the blurred face mid-fall in some random suburban street, you’re watching performances from the Paris Opera or Carnegie Hall.
Google’s partnership with these various dance, music and drama organizations has resulted in the creation of a huge number of online performing arts exhibits which include thousands of photos, videos, and documents for you to pore over. The best part is definitely the selection of 360-degree videos which allow you to stand on stage alongside the performers and watch them work. As a Shakespeare geek I was pretty excited to finally get to see the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford, stand on the stage itself like a really passive version of Hamlet’s father, and see a scene performed from Henry V. It’s the kind of opportunity that can only come from tech and the arts meeting creatively like this. Whether your interest is theatre, music, opera, dance, or performance art Google has you covered, and you go head to The Cultural Institute page to see more of the performances you can see.
Started in 2011 as a way to display high-resolution images of famous works of art from around the world, the Cultural Institute’s work in the visual arts has expanded to include collections of high-resolution images of street art from around the world, as well as exhibitions and street-camera views of world wonders like the Taj Mahal.
This new project is free for these institutions to use so it’s a great opportunity to bring more artistic performances to the broader public in a way that hasn’t been possible before; I’ve always been pretty certain I’m not a fan of opera despite never having seen one performed, but I’d be more than happy to test it out through Google and prove myself wrong. The project also offers a new and interesting way to see these productions performed and it’d be especially interesting to see Google’s VR headset integrated to this in some way.
Main Image: Screenshot