Nine-meter high replicas are positioned alongside one of the country’s main highways, with local radio stations providing commentary to encourage people to re-engage with art.
Smart cities are frequently using architecture, design and new material technology to create interesting, accessible and informative public spaces. One of the friendliest ways cities are transforming public spaces is through the application and placement of art. In the Netherlands, a historic Dutch dike is being lit up with sustainable art installations. The pieces showcase the strength and beauty of an iconic design, however, also uses wind and passing cars to light up the structure and create shareable power. Elsewhere, another project is additionally using unmanned aerial vehicles to paint large scale, crowdsourced public murals.
In Abu Dhabi, to help encourage citizens into the country’s new museum – the Louvre Abu Dhabi – have created a Highway Gallery that treats travellers to a month-long audio-visual experience. Running alongside the E11 Sheikh Zayed highway that connects Abu Dhabi with Dubai, the Highway Gallery contains nine-meter by six-meter replicas of some of the museum’s masterpieces. The giant artworks are linked to commentary that automatically plays on one of three local radio stations. Anyone listening to Radio 1, Classic FM or Emarat FM will hear the 30-second explanations about the art. Precise details therefore include the title of the piece, the artist, its historical context and techniques used to create it.
The Gallery was commissioned by the Department of Culture and Tourism as part of the United Arab Emirates’ Innovation Month. The artworks are positioned six miles apart and include paintings and artefacts. Two of the most famous paintings on display are Leonardo da Vinci’s La Belle Ferronnière (from the 1400s) and Vincent van Gogh’s Self-Portrait (from the 1800s). Artefacts include works from the Islamic world, such as the Mari-Cha lion and an Egyptian Sarcophagus. It furthermore, features an 8,000-year-old two-headed statue on loan from Jordon’s Department of Antiquities.
What other techniques could be used to encourage people to take part in and interact with cultural events and organizations?