Tag Archives: Arts and Culture

Stories of Yoga on Google Arts & Culture

Yoga has been around for a few millennia, but I’m completely new to the practice and have only practiced a few poses, like Ekpadasana (the “one leg posture”). Just like a yoga teacher would lead you through the steps of this posture, a new Google Arts & Culture collection called Stories of Yoga, takes you through the history, culture and science behind the practice. If you’re a new yogi like me, follow the sequence below to learn the “one leg posture,” and read on for some insights our partners have shared for the “Stories of Yoga” exhibit.

1. Come to a standing posture. Take in a deep breath.

Do you know what the word “yoga” means? It has a lot of nuanced interpretations. The ancient Indian text, called Rigveda, implied yoga means “achieving the unachieved,” “harnessing,” or “connection,” and the exhibition “What is Yoga?” explains other interpretations.

2. Finding your balance, bring up your right foot and place it in the center of the inner thigh of your left leg. Your toes should point downward.

One of the most widely-known gurus, Swami Sivananda, introduced five principles of yoga: proper exercise (āsana), the right breathing (prāṇāyāma), relaxation (śavāsana), proper diet, and positive thinking & meditation (vedānta).

3. Bring your palms together in front of your chest as if in prayer, and focus your gaze on a spot in the distance in front of you. Exhale.

Yoga is older than you might think, it actually dates back by a few millennia. The so-called Vedas and Upanishads started referring to yoga around 3000 BC. Two of the earliest teachers who recorded texts dedicated to yoga were Yajnavalkya and Patanjali. Visit the Museum of Classical Yoga and explore a brief timeline.

4. Hold the position and inhale and exhale deeply a few times.

Yoga strengthens your body as well as the mind. Learn about Shri Yogendra, who started off as a wrestler before rooting himself into yoga and founding the Yoga Institute. Or follow the journey of well known guru B.K.S Iyengar, who used yoga to heal his tuberculosis-affected body.

5. Release back into the standing posture slowly, and repeat for the other leg.

Did you know that women were actually barred from practicing the yoga discipline? Meet pioneer Shrimati Sita Devi Yogendra, who changed perceptions by becoming the first female guru. She introduced sequences specially tailored for women’s physiology.

6. As a variation, you can lift your arms up all the way while holding the prayer position. As another variation, you can do the entire sequence while lying flat on your back instead of standing.

There are so many different postures and their variations, and each school has a set of their own. Take a sneak-peek into some of the yoga centers in virtual walkthroughs and see the practice sessions up close.

It is not a big stretch to learn more about yoga thanks to Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres & Ashrams, The Yoga Institute, Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute, Vivekananda House and other institutions on Google Arts & Culture at g.co/storiesofyoga.

Art Zoom: Masterpieces up close through the eyes of famous musicians

What if you could see art through an artist’s eyes? On the occasion of the 130th anniversary of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” Google Arts & Culture is introducing Art Zoom, a new way to discover details of iconic works of art. Produced by musical experience creators La Blogothèque, the video series introduces you to visual masterpieces through the eyes of your favorite musicians.

Follow the blue and yellow undulating brush strokes of “Starry Night” with Maggie Rogers, who finds inspiration in the “psychedelic” scene as well as exposed pieces of canvas that Van Gogh chose not to paint. These gaps in the oil are easy to miss with the naked eye, but can be seen in surprising detail with Art Camera.

Listen and keep your eyes peeled as iconic music figures take you on a tour of some of the greatest masterpieces of the world in Art Zoom.

Maggie Rogers on "Starry Night" by Vincent van Gogh (MoMA The Museum of Modern Art)

British rockstar Jarvis Cocker is your guide through a hectic morning at Monet’s “La Gare Saint Lazare.” From the dark figures congregating on the platform to the subtle red glow of burning coal, the Pulp frontman explores his favorite features from Monet’s impressionist masterpiece.

Listen and keep your eyes peeled as iconic music figures take you on a tour of some of the greatest masterpieces of the world in Art Zoom.

Jarvis Cocker on "The Gare St-Lazare" by Claude Monet (The National Gallery - London)

“The Tower of Babel” by Pieter Bruegel the Great hangs in Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum, its miniature residents difficult to discern. Zooming in with Art Camera, Canadian pop star Feist introduces you to the quirky inhabitants who inspire her work.

Listen and keep your eyes peeled as iconic music figures take you on a tour of some of the greatest masterpieces of the world in Art Zoom.

Feist on "The Tower of Babel" by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien)

More than 10,000 artworks from 208 partners worldwide have been captured with Art Cameraand digitized in ultra-high resolution, from the fluffy fabric from which Vivienne Westwood tailored the Keith Haring “Witches” dress, to the almost photographic View of Delft by Vermeer. You can see these works in intricate detail simply by browsing on the Google Arts & Culture app. Explore Art Zoom online at g.co/ArtZoom, or download our free app for iOS or Android.

Visit Anne Frank’s childhood home on Google Arts & Culture

“I hope I can entrust you with everything that I haven't been able to share with anyone, and I hope you will be a great support to me." These are the first words Anne Frank wrote in the diary she received on her thirteenth birthday. Three weeks later, the Frank family went into hiding. Since then, the story of Anne has moved people across the globe who want to learn more about her life.

Google Arts & Culture has worked with the Anne Frank House to shed a light on Anne’s life at Merwedeplein 37-2 in Amsterdam, where her family lived before they went into hiding. In honor of what would have been her 90th birthday, you can explore an online exhibit and indoor Street View imagery of Anne’s childhood home. For the first time it will be possible to view all rooms of the flat to get a unique insight into Anne Frank's home that has been restored to its original 1930s style, including the bedroom that she shared with her sister Margot.

The accompanying online exhibit  features precious insights and documents such as the only video of Anne known to exist—taken by pure coincidence at a wedding—as well as the only picture of her an her parents and sister.

The former home of the Frank family has been leased to the Dutch Foundation for Literature since 2005 and serves as a temporary home and workplace for refugee writers who cannot work freely in their own country. “It is a place where freedom, tolerance and freedom of expression are given the space to breathe,” says Ronald Leopold, general director of the Anne Foundation. The house was decorated in the style of the 1930s when the Frank family lived there.

Learn more about Anne Frank and discover of the treasures, stories and knowledge of over 2000 cultural institutions from 80 countries on Google Arts & Culture or via our iOS or Android app.

Find the hidden stories behind art at the de Young with Google Lens

One of the privileges of working at the de Young museum in San Francisco is getting to regularly spend time in front of masterworks by artists like Ruth Asawa, Albert Bierstadt, and Mary Cassatt, and learn about the often fascinating stories surrounding their art. Spanning four centuries, the de Young museum’s American art collection includes paintings, sculpture, and decorative art from the 17th century to the present day. We have so many stories to tell.

As the museum’s director of digital strategy, it’s my job to find ways to make these stories more readily accessible for our visitors and to help people understand what the art says about the world, and the cultures, viewpoints, and moments in time that don’t always fit within the short labels in the galleries.

Our newest collaboration with Google Arts & Culture shows visitors the hidden stories behind the paintings in this collection. Now, using Google Lens, you can search what you see. Point your phone's camera at a work like Edmund Charles Tarbell’s The Blue Veil, and you’ll have a curator at the tap of your finger to tell you learn more about the artist’s origins, and his fascination with the veil.

Find out more with Google Lens

Learn more about art with Google Arts & Culture and Google Lens.

This is a way for artists to share their perspective, too. In a new exhibition, Detour, artist Ana Prvački takes you on a tour of the museum, guiding you to specific spots and asking you to rethink parts of the museum visitors many not normally consider, such as the material of the museum’s copper facade. Visitors can trigger Prvački’s short videos on mobile devices via Google Lens at sites throughout the free public spaces of the museum. When you watch the videos, it feels like you’re getting a personal tour from the artist herself.

If you can’t make it to San Francisco before the exhibition concludes in September, you can experience a version of Detour online on Google Arts & Culture.  

In a new exhibition, Detour, artist Ana Prvački takes you on a tour of the museum.

Kick off the Women’s World Cup with Google

Kick off the FIFA Women's World Cup with Google

Futebol, Fußball, football, soccer ... No matter where you’re from, it’s one of the most popular sports all over the world. Tomorrow, the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™ will kick off, and here’s how Google can help you keep up with the tournament and your favorite teams.

Be in the know with Search and the Assistant

If you’re busy during a match, Search can help you find the information you need including stats, news, and lineups. If you search for any match, you’ll see a timeline with photos, commentary and every important play as it happens. You can also subscribe to receive notifications and updates about your favorite team by looking it up on the Google Search app and tapping “Follow.”

You’ll also be able to track up to three real-time game scores right on your Android phone screen. Search for the match you’re looking for, then tap and drag to pin the match anywhere on your screen. Once the matches are over, click the pinned score to go back the game summary on Google Search and you will find a video with highlights and exciting plays immediately after every game.


As always, the Google Assistant is here to help with questions like, “Hey Google, when does France play next in the Women's World Cup?” or ”Ok Google, show me the Women's World Cup standings.” And if your country is competing, you’ll see custom Google Doodles by local artists from the participating countries. All Google Doodles will all be available as they are unveiled at google.com/doodles.

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Women’s World Cup Doodles from around the world.

See more on YouTube

FIFA, alongside a number of their FIFA World Cup broadcast partners, will upload comprehensive highlights to every game on their YouTube channels, as well as top FIFA World Cup moments and behind-the-scenes content. Broadcasters include the BBC in the UK, ARD and ZDF in Germany, J SPORTS in Japan, Fox Sports and Telemundo in the U.S. and beIN in the Middle East, North Africa and selected Asian territories.

Don’t miss a moment with Google News

Keep your eye on the ball as the action happens with a dedicated FIFA Women’s World Cup Google News interactive tracker for Android. Quickly find scores, upcoming matches and watch game highlights. From the group stage to the final showdown, explore the tournament through full coverage and analysis of your favorite teams and players.

Contribute to the history of women in soccer

It was not long ago when women were actually prohibited from playing in countries such as Brazil, England, France and Germany. To rediscover the history of women in soccer, Google Arts & Culture is working with the Football Museum in Brazil to create a living digital archive of the years when women were banned. Everyone is invited to contribute with photos, articles from local newspapers, audio and video files about women's soccer from their personal collections. Together we can fill the historical gaps and tell the history of women in soccer.

Grab your jersey and claim your spot on the couch—the games start tomorrow!

Meet the Brazilian “Painter of the People,” Candido Portinari

The history of Latin America is not just found in history books—it’s found in its people, its history and its art. The best way to reflect upon the Brazilian experience is through the voices of artists like Cândido Portinari. Today, in collaboration with six Brazilian museums including Projeto Portinari and Pinacoteca, Google Arts & Culture is launching a comprehensive collection about Cândido Portinari to honor the works of one of the most important Brazilian artists. It's the first time people will be able to enjoy his collection of over 5,000 pieces of art, thousands of letters and documents from his personal archive and curated stories about Portinari’s art, life and legacy.

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His unique paintings gave voice to those who didn’t have one: the peasants, who with their bare hands built the future of the Latin American nations. Through his work, Portinari always sought to connect people across social, cultural or geographical divides.

Ten ultra high resolution images—taken by our Art Camera—of some of his most iconic artworks,including Mestiço," exemplify his approach. “War” and “Peace,” which are in the lobby of the United Nations Headquarters, stand out due to their size and the mural technique that marked a milestone in the artist’s career. For these two, you can explore in-painting tours—an interactive experience that guides through a piece of art by zooming in and out of its details, with insightful commentary. In addition to paintings, the collection contains more than 15,000 images of historical letters, newspapers and magazines related to Portinari’s work.

As part of the online collection, everyone can experience Portinari’s creative process. You can roam around a virtual Street view tour of his house in Brodówski, São Paulo and discover icons like the small chapelhe created for his grandmother. If you use a Google Cardboard you can even experience this tour in a 360 degree view.

“Portinari: Painter of the People” is the second largest collection dedicated to a Latin American artist on Google Arts & Culture (after “Faces of Frida”). Together with our partners we celebrate the talent and recognize the legacy of artists who, through their work, have managed to write the history of Latin America, for the whole world to see.

How artists use AI and AR: collaborations with Google Arts & Culture

For centuries, creative people have turned tools into art, or come up with inventions to change how we think about the world around us. Today you can explore the intersection of art and technology through two new experiments, created by artists in collaboration with the Google Arts & Culture Lab, only recently announced at Google I/O 2019.


Created by artists Molmol Kuo & Zach Lieberman, Weird Cuts lets you make collages using augmented reality. You can select one of the cutouts shown in the camera screen to take a photo in a particular shape. The resulting cut-out can then be copy-pasted into the space around you, as seen through your camera’s eye. Download the app, available on iOS and Android, at g.co/weirdcuts.

Weirdcuts.jpg

Weird cuts in action 

Want to design your very own artwork with AI? Artist duo Pinar & Viola and Google engineer Alexander Mordvintsev—best known for his work on DeepDream—used machine learning to create a tool to do so. To use Infinite Patterns, upload an image and a DeepDream algorithm will transform and morph it into a unique pattern. For Pinar & Viola it is the perfect way to find new design inspirations for fashion by challenging one’s perception of shape, color and reality.

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Infinite Patterns

These experiments were created in the Google Arts & Culture Lab, where we invite artists and coders to explore how technology can inspire artistic creativity. Collaborations at the Lab gave birth to Cardboard, the affordable VR headset, and Art Selfie, which has matched millions of selfies with works of art around the world.


To continue to encourage this emerging field of art with machine intelligence, we’re announcing the Artists + Machine Intelligence Grants for contemporary artists exploring creative applications of machine learning. This program will offer artists engineering mentorship, access to core Google research, and project funding.

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are greats tool for artists, and there’s so much more to learn. If you’re curious about its origins and future, dive into the online exhibition “AI: More than Human” by the Barbican Centre, in which some of the world’s leading experts, artists and innovators explore the evolving relationship between humans and technology.


You can try our new experiments as well as the digital exhibition on the Google Arts & Culture app for iOS and Android.

“Dancing with a machine:” Bill T. Jones on AI and art

In early 2019, the Google Creative Lab partnered with Bill T. Jones, a pioneering choreographer, two-time Tony Award Winner, MacArthur Fellow, National Medal of the Arts Honoree, and artistic director and co-founder of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company of New York Live Arts. We teamed up to explore the creative possibilities of speech recognition and PoseNet, which is Google’s machine-learning model that estimates human poses in real time in the browser.

We sat down with Bill to hear his reflections on working at the intersection of art, technology, identity and the body. Try out the experiments and watch a short film about the collaboration at g.co/billtjonesai

Why did you collaborate with Google on AI experiments?

The idea of machine learning intrigues me. The theme of our company’s Live Ideas Fest this year is artificial intelligence. AI is supposed to take us into the next century and important things are supposed to be happening with this technology, so I wanted to see if we could use it to stir real human emotion. Maybe it’s ego, but I want to be the one to know how to use PoseNet to make somebody cry. How do you get the technology to be weighted with meaning and import?

How have you experimented with technology over the course of your career?

Back in the ‘80s, Arnie Zane [Jones’s partner and company co-founder] and I decided we didn’t want to work with technology anymore because the pure art of sweat and bodies on stage should be enough. Technology just steals your thunder. Then a friend said, “Technology can suggest the beyond. Technology can project what is at stake when you die. When you see these figures, they’re no longer human, they’re something else.” So we started working with more state-of-the-art technologies. Later, I did a project called “Ghostcatching” with 3D motion capture. At that time, the team was saying, “we want to capture your movement so that in 50 years we could reconstitute your performance.” That’s how people were thinking years ago, and seems to still be a preoccupation now. They said they wanted to “decouple me from my personality.” Maybe I’m romantic, but I don't think that’s possible. So, my focus with this project was not on how to replace the performer, but complement them.

What was it like experimenting with AI?

I’ve never collaborated with a machine before. It's a whole other learning curve. We are taught in the art world that you don’t get many chances. This experience contrasted that notion. It was refreshing to co-create with the Google team whose approach was playful and iterative.

Were there moments you felt this technology was in the service of dance? 

In the service of dance? I say this with great respect: it's almost antithetical to everything I thought dance was. The webcam’s field of vision determines a lot about how we move. Dance for us is often times in an empty room that implies infinite space. But working with a webcam, there is a very prescribed space. Limitations are not bad in art making, but they were a new challenge. It was a shift creating something for the screen and not the stage.

What was it like shifting from creating for the stage to the screen?

I felt like I was being asked: Come out of the place that you as an artist come from, the avant-garde. Come and work with a medium that's available to millions of people. That's wonderful, but it's also a responsibility. The meaningful things people make with this are going to be very weird in a way, aren't they? Very kind of exciting. I'm appreciative of being part of the development of this.

Where do you see AI going? Will you work with it more in the future? 

I understand context is the next frontier in machine learning. This seems paramount for art making. I hope one day soon they make a machine I can dance with. I’d like to dance with a machine, just to see what that’s like.

“Dancing with a machine:” Bill T. Jones on AI and art

In early 2019, the Google Creative Lab partnered with Bill T. Jones, a pioneering choreographer, two-time Tony Award Winner, MacArthur Fellow, National Medal of the Arts Honoree, and artistic director and co-founder of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company of New York Live Arts. We teamed up to explore the creative possibilities of speech recognition and PoseNet, which is Google’s machine-learning model that estimates human poses in real time in the browser.

We sat down with Bill to hear his reflections on working at the intersection of art, technology, identity and the body. Try out the experiments and watch a short film about the collaboration at g.co/billtjonesai

Why did you collaborate with Google on AI experiments?

The idea of machine learning intrigues me. The theme of our company’s Live Ideas Fest this year is artificial intelligence. AI is supposed to take us into the next century and important things are supposed to be happening with this technology, so I wanted to see if we could use it to stir real human emotion. Maybe it’s ego, but I want to be the one to know how to use PoseNet to make somebody cry. How do you get the technology to be weighted with meaning and import?

How have you experimented with technology over the course of your career?

Back in the ‘80s, Arnie Zane [Jones’s partner and company co-founder] and I decided we didn’t want to work with technology anymore because the pure art of sweat and bodies on stage should be enough. Technology just steals your thunder. Then a friend said, “Technology can suggest the beyond. Technology can project what is at stake when you die. When you see these figures, they’re no longer human, they’re something else.” So we started working with more state-of-the-art technologies. Later, I did a project called “Ghostcatching” with 3D motion capture. At that time, the team was saying, “we want to capture your movement so that in 50 years we could reconstitute your performance.” That’s how people were thinking years ago, and seems to still be a preoccupation now. They said they wanted to “decouple me from my personality.” Maybe I’m romantic, but I don't think that’s possible. So, my focus with this project was not on how to replace the performer, but complement them.

What was it like experimenting with AI?

I’ve never collaborated with a machine before. It's a whole other learning curve. We are taught in the art world that you don’t get many chances. This experience contrasted that notion. It was refreshing to co-create with the Google team whose approach was playful and iterative.

Were there moments you felt this technology was in the service of dance? 

In the service of dance? I say this with great respect: it's almost antithetical to everything I thought dance was. The webcam’s field of vision determines a lot about how we move. Dance for us is often times in an empty room that implies infinite space. But working with a webcam, there is a very prescribed space. Limitations are not bad in art making, but they were a new challenge. It was a shift creating something for the screen and not the stage.

What was it like shifting from creating for the stage to the screen?

I felt like I was being asked: Come out of the place that you as an artist come from, the avant-garde. Come and work with a medium that's available to millions of people. That's wonderful, but it's also a responsibility. The meaningful things people make with this are going to be very weird in a way, aren't they? Very kind of exciting. I'm appreciative of being part of the development of this.

Where do you see AI going? Will you work with it more in the future? 

I understand context is the next frontier in machine learning. This seems paramount for art making. I hope one day soon they make a machine I can dance with. I’d like to dance with a machine, just to see what that’s like.

Create a personalized poem, with the help of AI

POEMPORTRAITS is an online collective artwork, experimenting at the boundaries of AI and human collaboration—a combination of poetry, design and machine learning. A POEMPORTRAIT is your self portrait overlaid with a unique poem, created by AI. Starting today, you can create your own and contribute to the evolving, collective poem.

To create your POEMPORTAIT, head to g.co/poemportraits. Once you get there, you’ll be asked to donate a word of your choice and take a self portrait. Each word you donate will be expanded into original lines of poetry by an algorithm that’s trained on millions of words of nineteenth century poetry. You’ll then receive a unique POEMPORTRAIT of your face, illuminated by your original lines of poetry. All of the lines of poetry are then combined to form an ever-evolving, collective poem.

To create the technology behind POEMPORTRAITS, I collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab and Ross Goodwin. Ross trained an algorithm to learn to write poems by reading over 25 million words written by 19th century poets. It works a bit like predictive text: it doesn’t copy or rework existing phrases, but uses its training material to build a complex statistical model. As a result, the algorithm generates original phrases emulating the style of what it’s been trained on.

The resulting poems can be surprisingly poignant, and at other times nonsensical. And it’s the profoundly human way that we seek and find personal resonance in machine-generated text that’s the essence of this project. I was inspired by the writing of Shoshana Zuboff on the “information civilization”—she writes, “If the digital future is to be our home then it is we who must make it so.”

Here’s my POEMPORTRAIT; the word I chose to donate was “convergence.”

Es Devlin's "POEMPORTRAIT," a photo of herself overlaid with words of a custom poem.

Create your unique POEMPORTRAIT and become part of this ever-growing global poem atg.co/poemportraits.