Tag Archives: Culture

Taking street art from the wall to your screens

For hundreds of years, street art has transformed our public spaces into open-air galleries, adding vibrancy to urban landscapes. But using the city as a canvas often means these artworks are here today, gone tomorrow. With the Google Art Project, we’re working to preserve this ephemeral art form and make it available to fans around the world, anywhere and anytime.

Last June, as a first step, we added more than 5,000 images of street art and around 100 exhibitions, curated by galleries around the world, to the Google Art Project. Today, we’re more than doubling the number of street artworks available in high resolution to over 10.000, working in tandem with 86 art organizations from 34 countries.

New immersive experiences
From stencil to sculpture installations, mosaic and collage, a great variety of styles from around the world are now represented on the Google Art Project.

Are you ready for an urban art safari around the world? Hit the streets with Street View and listen to the stories behind the art: travel from Sweden’s most famous street festival to New York city’s rooftops where you will discover water tanks wrapped with art. Or enjoy a break in Buenos Aires, where abandoned walls in the northern neighborhoods of the city became a source of inspiration for street artists from all over the world.

If you want to know more about local street art scenes, places and practitioners, don't worry - we’ve put 260 digital exhibits online [link] for you to explore and a dozen immersive street view tours! For example you can now take a virtual tour of London’s trendy East End, home to some the world’s finest artworks, enjoy the colourful murals of Los Angeles’ Winston Street (aka Indian Alley), learn more about the longest open air gallery in the world in Berlin and see how street artists get inspired by 17th and 18th century paintings.

When the web and street art meet, the walls can come to life: discover the mesmerizing work of artists like INSA or Checko who painted, photographed, re-painted and then re-photographed a wall to create animated street art: the so-called GIF-iti.

Bringing street art into our daily lives
We're also excited to offer new ways of experiencing street art in your daily life - at home, at work, on the go - with the introduction of street art to Chrome, Chromecast, Android Wear and to your mobile devices.

Turn your TV screen into a vibrant backdrop of street artworks, download new partner apps on your phone or tablet for a tour of Melbourne's famous laneways, an art safari in Portugal, or a glimpse of the multicoloured murals that are covering Delhi, Lima and Honolulu. Finally, turn your smartwatch into a colourful artwork with our new Street Art Watch Faces! And if you want to discover a new artwork every time you open a browser tab in Chrome with the new Google Art Project Chrome extension.

So much goes into making a piece of street art. Yet its transient nature puts it at risk of being scrubbed out and lost forever. The Google Art Project allows these works of art to transcend the walls, be transported to your screen and live on. Visit the Google Cultural Institute and follow @googleart to discover more.

On Valentine’s Day, A Picture Speaks A Thousand Words

Wondering how to share your love tomorrow, on Valentine’s Day? Sometimes an image speaks louder than a thousand words...

To celebrate Valentine’s Day this weekend, the Google Cultural Institute team have gathered dozens of masterpieces on the theme of love and romance in a unique collection. Join us as we journey across countries, cultures and time and through love’s many manifestations, and share your favourite pieces with your loved ones. From Banksy to Van Gogh to Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, you’ll see a wide range of artwork in our collection.

For this special day, we’ve even digitised in ultra-high resolution one of the most famous kisses in the history of art: Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss. The two figures are are on a flower-strewn meadow, gently ascending from the abyss and protected by a halo of shimmering gold. Now, you can zoom in to brushstroke level and discover the painting’s delicate layers of gold leaf and the details of the meadow.
For other smooching styles, take a minute to enjoy Renoir’s Country Dance, or kisses by Anh Chang Hong, Edvard Munch and Giovanni Giuliani!
Explore the collection to find the masterpiece that best expresses your mood. Why not invite your love for a walk in the fields or an afternoon in the park, or to share a meal? Don’t just stand there day-dreaming or writing love letters - let your hair down at a wedding or a party! And if you are looking for a nice topic of conversation for dinner, explore how people have sent Valentines wishes over the years, from handwritten letters to telegrams to Twitter and Instagram.
Still not had your fix of romance? Escape to The Museum of Innocence in Turkey to discover the deeply moving love story of Kémal and Füsun. Orhan Pamuk conceived The Museum of Innocence, a love story set between 1974 and the early 2000s, as both a book and a museum. Combined, the two paint a picture of life in Istanbul through the memories and flashbacks of two families.
And there are plenty more masterpieces that could help you express your feelings. Explore the thousands of documents and artworks put online by our 600 global Cultural Institute partners.

In the words of Leo Tolstoy: "There are as many kinds of love as there are hearts”. So enjoy the visit and spread the love… and the art at google.com/culturalinstitute/project/love

Remembering 70 years since Auschwitz’s liberation

It was the end of one of the worst chapters in human history - the Soviet Army’s liberation 70 years ago of the notorious Nazi death camp Auschwitz on January 27, 1945. Today, starting at 15:30 CET, the Auschwitz Museum is live streaming on YouTube the ceremony marking the liberation, held in front of the Death Gate, together with survivors of the camp:

Throughout the world, various anniversary ceremonies, conferences, exhibitions and meetings are scheduled. The Auschwitz Museum and the United Nations have built a Map of Remembrance with the goal to bring together the various memorial activities taking place.

For the past three years, the Google Cultural Institute has been working with institutions and associations to preserve and share online thousands of archives, images and videos telling the stories from the Holocaust. The Auschwitz Museum participated in this project from the beginning, adding hundreds of documents and inviting you to discover individual stories like the love of Edek Galinski and Mala Zimetbaum or the unique collection of family photographs found in the ruins of the camp. Learn more on the “Evacuation and Liberation of the Auschwitz camp" and the “Sonderkommando" through these new online exhibitions.

For this anniversary, the USC Shoah Foundation, who shared with the world poignant testimonials of survivors through another exhibition, “70 Stories of Auschwitz”, inviting you to listen to the survivors as they recall their experiences in short and moving personal videos. Famed filmmaker Steven Spielberg assembled them into this moving film.

We encourage everyone to (re)discover these stories from the Holocaust - and remember, never again.

Launching voices of the Mediterranean

The Mediterranean Sea is the cradle of Western civilization - but all too often today is seen as an area of conflict. Together with the Voces Fondation, we are today launching a project designed to promote the development of a Mediterranean as a common place of respect, peace and solidarity.

Our focus is engage young people between the ages of 14 and 22 from Spain in the West to Palestine in the East that are interested in photography and audiovisual arts. Voces Foundation already has created a G+ page (Voices of the Mediterranean) where people can share pictures and videos about what the Mediterranean means, highlighting those aspects that bring us together instead of those aspects that separate the different cultures and countries.

Specific topics that will be discussed include access to water and other natural resources and to access to Internet and new technologie. Other subjects range from education and culture; gastronomy; entrepreneurship with social impact - and above all, peace. Actors and singers including actress Elisa Mouliaá or the musician and composer Rash already are contributing. Participate using the hashtag #Nostrum.

At the end of the project, we will hold a contest to choose the most interesting photos, painting and videos. Please contribute!

Ho Ho Ho! Track Santa around the world with Santa Tracker

After 23 days of preparation, the elves are finally ready for Santa’s annual journey around the globe. They’ve taught each other how to say "Santa Claus" in Swedish, guided their friends through mazes with code, brushed up on their geography, and learned about organizations making a difference worldwide. It’s been a busy month, but Santa’s sleigh is now ready for lift-off!
The elves brushed up on coding fundamentals with blockly maze games

The elves decorated their trees with ornaments about organizations making a difference

Each stop on Santa’s journey offers more to explore—discover 360-degree imagery, Wikipedia snippets, geography facts, and updates on how far Santa’s current location is from yours (take note—Santa’s path is not a direct one!). Come back and visit google.com/santatracker throughout the night for more surprises, like sleigh selfies or a latitude and longitude game to deliver presents.
Follow Santa on any screen—desktop, phone, tablet, or TV

If you’re on the ho-ho-go, download the Santa Tracker App for Android to keep track of Santa on your phone or tablet. With the Android app, watch Santa’s journey on your TV using Chromecast, or on your wrist with Android Wear (especially handy when wrapping last-minute gifts). And, you can always search for Santa on www.google.com or on Google Maps, and get real-time location updates with Google Now in the Google App.

Santa’s available at the flick of the wrist with Android Wear

Santa’s got a long and exciting night ahead of him before heading back to the North Pole. Grab some eggnog, set out the cookies, and join Google Maps on Google+, Facebook and Twitter to #tracksanta!

Bringing the museum to your mobile

Enter the Museum of Arts et Métiers in Paris and one of the first things on view is a strange looking plane perched over a historic staircase. Wonder what it is? From today, click on a mobile app based on Google Cultural Institute platform and learn about Clement Adler’s 120-year old rival to the Wright Brothers.

The platform allows museums to create a simple but powerful mobile app, based on Google's technology including Street View and YouTube. Without resorting to expensive technical help, museums now can tell their stories. Interested institutions should sign up here.

Eleven museums and cultural institutions in Italy, France, the Netherlands and Nigeria, have worked with our engineers on this pilot project. Their apps are available for free on the Google Play store.

In Turin, discover the riches of the near and far East at MAO, wonder at the surprising artworks at GAM, and go instantly from the Middle Ages to contemporary photography at Palazzo Madama. Or discover the international street artworks and their authors,brought together by the Emergence Festival. Finally, stroll through MAGA to find out more about the Italian contemporary art scene.

In France, enter Marie Curie’s office and relive the discovery of radioactivity at the Musee Curie. Drive hrough the impressionist collection of the Museum of Le Havre (MuMa) with six audio thematic tours, and the Monnaie de Paris offers a guid through contemporary artist Paul McCarthy's Chocolate Factory.

In the Netherlands, visit the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden. Its app explores archaeological treasures from Egypt, Rome, and the Netherlands. Curious about the history of Nigeria?  Discover the story of the Amalgamation of the Southern and Northern Protectorate 100 years ago thanks to the Pan-Atlantic University app.

Particularly enjoy an artwork or love the story behind an object? These mobile apps allow easy sharing with friends. Because Internet access can be a challenge when traveling abroad, we made sure these apps will work when you're offline.

The Internet no longer plays just a minor role in diffusing museum knowledge. It has become a major force, allowing museums to expand and strengthen their reach. We look forward to deepening our partnership with museums that see digital media as core to their mission of education and inspiring people about art and culture.

Bringing a key moment of Gulf history online

Our Paris-based Cultural Institute holds a global mandate to promoting culture around the globe. This week, it is reaching out to the Arab world, bringing online the United Arab Emirates national archives - our first Arab archives, and only third globally, after those of the United States and the Netherlands.

The exhibit highlights historic moments leading up to the formation of the Emirates in 1971. In three short decades, the Emirates have transformed themselves into global hubs for transport and commerce. Among the items on display range from the first flag-hoisting after the Emirates's establishment - to duplicates of the first national set of stamps.

We are keen to showcase more of the history of the Middle East, home to some of the most ancient cultures and civilizations. The Cultural Institute works with partners to make cultural content accessible online and preserve it for the future, whether it’s galleries like the British Museum to heritage sites like Versailles, or historical moments like Nelson Mandela’s handwritten prison letters and the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Throwing off the shackles of communism

A quarter century ago, the people of Central Europe liberated themselves, bringing down the Iron Curtain, choosing capitalism over communism, and democracy over dictatorship. This week, at an event in Prague, we unveiled ten online Google Cultural Institute exhibitions recounting the amazing and thrilling events from Poland in the north to Hungary in the south.

Communism represented an artificial transplant in Central Europe. Throughout history, the region enjoyed strong religious, economic and political ties with the West. The Museum Masaryk T.G. Lany brings its readers back to the founding ideas of democracy and freedom on which the Czechoslovak Republic was built through the legacy of the first Czechoslovak president.

All through the 1980s, pressure for change mounted. An independent free trade union called Solidarity swept through Poland at the beginning of the decade. Even though the government declared martial law to crush it, the light of freedom would only be dimmed temporarily. Dissidents appeared. Priests protested. Musicians revolted. The Czech Republic’s Vaclav Havel Library’s exhibition of black and white photographs captures not only the period of mass demonstrations in 1989 and the subsequent revolution, but also the visits and performances of cultural icons such as Frank Zappa and the US alternative troupe The Bread and Puppet Theater. For the citizens of Czechoslovakia, these first tastes of the Western world represented “the first free steps of a society.”

Starting in the spring of 1989, East Germans began fleeing to other Soviet bloc countries. The Hungarian government opened its border with Austria in May and the rush to escape was on. The Vaclav Havel Library exhibit captures the wave of citizens of the German Democratic Republic in September who inundated the surroundings of the embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Prague, waiting in anticipation for longed permission to travel to the West.

In June, the Polish government legalized Solidarity and held partially free elections. Solidarity won a landslide and formed the Soviet bloc’s first non-communist led government. The Polish History Museum has created an exhibit called "Tearing the Iron Curtain apart.” It includes a photo of the symbolic meeting between Poland's first non-communist Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki and the German Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Another exhibition from the Julian Antonisz Foundation shows experimental art from the communist era.

In November, the Berlin Wall crumbled and millions of Czechs crowded the streets. The Muzeum umění Olomouc has prepared a selection of images from photographer Petr Zatloukal, showing a behind-the-scenes look at the November events. The Muzeum policie České republiky showcases photographs of the uniforms of the riot police on 17th November 1989, as they watched, powerless, while millions of Czechs marched for their freedom. Dissident playwright Vaclav Havel emerged from prison to become president. The photographs from the Nadace Dagmar a Václava Havlových VIZE 97 exhibit maps Havel’s extraordinary journey from 1989 to 2011.

Slovakia also won its freedom and soon broke away from Prague to achieve full independence. Its the Museum of Crimes and Victims of Communism illustrates the path to freedom through photographs of unknown heroes who participated in country's Candle Demonstration.

The sweep of the events accelerated and the shackles of communism were gone by the end of 1989, not only throughout Central Europe, but also in the Balkan countries of Romania and Bulgaria. The Balts, within the Soviet Union itself, soon would form a human chain hundreds of miles long and win back their freedom. In Hungary, the Open Society Archives, is bringing online one of the world's largest archives from the Cold War, including propaganda films and surveillance documents, samizdat and opposition activist videos, publications and posters.

Take time to browse and learn. We believe putting historical material on the Internet and organizing it in a way that allows visitors to read and understand what it felt like to be in the midst of events not only gives more people access to important material but also preserves these perspectives for future generations. Today, memories of the Cold War may be fading and it is our duty to keep them alive as a reminder of the tremendous achievements of the courageous people of Central Europe.


YouTube music hits the right note

You watched the Belgian singer Stromae perform Papaoutai 200+ million times on YouTube, helping propel the song about his father to the top of the charts in France and into a global success. And that’s all just for one song.

This week, we’re making it easier to find new music on YouTube and rock out to old favorites by launching a new paid subscription service called Music Key. It lets you watch and listen to music without ads, in the background or offline and is available already in the United Kingdom, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, with more countries to come soon. If you’re interested in getting more info on the beta, you can let us know at youtube.com/musickey.

Music Key represents a big step forward in our blossoming partnership with the music industry. We've struck new deals with the major producers, thousands of independent record labels, collecting societies and music publishers.  Thanks to your music videos, remixes, covers, and more, you’ve made YouTube the place to go for the music fan.

YouTube benefits both the established musicians as well as newcomers, sending them more than $1 billion.

Of course, YouTube is much more than music. Other types of content creators - from educational to comedy shows - also are finding an audience earning money in our partnership programs.  More  -one million channels today earn revenue through the YouTube Partner Program. Thousands of channels make six figures annually. We look forward to continuing to develop new online opportunities for Europe's creators. 

Posted by the YouTube Music team, which recently watched “Michael Jackson - Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' - YouTube Mix.”

Speeding up the Slow Food movement

Slow Food, founded in 1989 in Italy, has grown into a global, grassroots organization fighting the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions. We agree with its philosophy that everyone should have access to good, clean and fair food and are delighted to help bring its tasty Ark of Taste project online in an exciting new set of Google Cultural Institute exhibitions.

The exhibits tell the story of the endangered foods around the globe, from Brazil’s Babacu fruit to Ethiopia’s Boke black salt to Japan’s Dojo Hachiyagaki dried persimmon fruit. So far, we look at 31 products. Each exhibit uses photos, videos and testimonials to explain the culture behind the food.

At this week’s launch event, Slow Food founder Carlin Petrini emphasized how technology and tradition go well together. “Farmers need to use the new technologies to make themselves and their products known worldwide," he explained, adding that Google and Slow Food share a common vision that “digital networks need human networks and the human networks need digital networks”.

We hope this is just the beginning of a partnership that will help to protect and preserve the heritage of biodiversity in food. In coming months and years, Slow Food plans to add new products to the site. Take a tasty trip and see how technology is protecting our critical gastronomic heritage.