• ZKM Center for Art and Media launches experience_zkm app

ZKM Center for Art and Media launches new experimental app

09.01.2018 by Hester Gersonius

Keywords: app, local activity, sustainability, ZKM Center for Art and Media

ZKM Center for Art and Media recently launched a new app: experience_zkm. An experimental and innovative app, which is available for free in the app store (iOS) and in the Google Play Store. The aim of the new app is to reach potential visitors who are distant from culture, have no knowledge of the institution but should get to know it. In the app, augmented reality and game elements have been used to build up curiosity and reward users through a variety of incentives. The app is based on the ‘LBSEngine’ platform, which was selected in order to guarantee sustainable future development: the ‘app ecosystem’ can be modified dynamically and as required.

The structure of the app

The area of activity for the app is limited to the city of Karlsruhe in the first stage as proof of concept and is divided here in the form of concentric circles over the city region and the ZKM area. Structurally, the app is divided into two areas: entertaining (game) offerings which lead to ZKM and basic information such as opening times and current events at ZKM. New game elements that should ‘trigger’ the potential visitors will be implemented in phases and can be swapped out or updated at any time.
The following elements were implemented in the first phase (December 2017):

  • Play me! Visitors become virtual art hunters with ArtHunt. Works of art which are visible via augmented reality and can be collected are hidden in Karlsruhe city center. Once all of the works of art around the city have been ‘collected’, a reward awaits the successful users at ZKM.
  • Feed your Brain. Footprints which can be used as markers are placed in the ZKM_forecourt and in the ZKM_foyer: Using augmented reality, facts about ZKM are ‘brought to life’ in the most literal sense.

The basic information includes:

  • Follow the Code. A guidance system consisting of zeros and ones can be used to navigate to ZKM using augmented reality.
  • What’s on? Information about current events at ZKM can be found here

General information such as opening times, admission, pro-gram and getting here can also be found in the app.

Additional features

New features will be added in the second phase, from February to April 2018. The app also includes a digital guide which makes audio files available to accompany the Open Codes exhibition for the duration of the exhibition. The audio guide cannot only be listened to at home, it can also guide you through the subject areas for ‘Open Codes’ by means of beacons in the exhibition space. Furthermore, it is possible to search for hashtags which give the exhibition pieces their names and thus explore the subject of the exhibition in more depth.

Just another museum app?

While the classic audio guide is still well received in museums, there appears to be less and less demand for museum apps which make additional information in parallel to ‘experiencing’ the exhibition in-situ. At the same time, it has been found that the use of apps is unwavering, particularly in the consumer industry: whether for information retrieval or, in particular, for entertainment purposes, the demand remains constant.

The main aim of smARTplaces is to expand the visitor experience into the digital realm and thus prioritize changing needs of the visitors: this requires the development of new service offerings which make it possible to address audiences who currently do not often or do not visit museums more specifically. With the help of games and game-like elements (keyword ‘gamification’), experience_zkm is particularly aimed at visitors who are distant from culture and/or who do not know ZKM, who enjoy using digital technology but currently don’t often visit museums.