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Mapping our emotions at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

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Art can inspire a wide range of feelings. From the melancholy of a painting to the awe we feel standing before a sculpture, researchers have been fascinated by the relationship between art and human emotion for many years.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and Google Arts & Culture have partnered on the occasion of the museum’s 25th anniversary and are offering a unique and emotional experience that lets everyone explore their feelings and get closer to the contemporary museum’s collection.

Artetik: From the Art, a new installation in the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, invites you to explore how artworks from the museum’s collection make you feel. By contributing to the experience, you will be guided to new artworks in the collection through an ever-changing visualization representing the shared emotions evoked in museum visitors.

The project is a collaboration between the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and Google Arts & Culture, based on research about art and emotions by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley. This study explored the emotions evoked by works of art over time and across culture. 1,300 people described how a selection of around 1,500 artworks made them feel. The research revealed 25 different emotions relating to the pieces, including anger, boredom, nostalgia or love. The researchers used these feelings to create an interactive emotions atlas, grouping together artworks that evoked specific emotions. The installation developed by Google Arts & Culture and the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum gives this study life and – for the first time – applies the emotions atlas to a museum's entire collection.

This unique initiative enables the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to fulfill its commitment to education and innovation by making the collection more accessible as part of its goal to “inspire and open up new perspectives through art and the values it represents.” It is also a way of achieving one of the Museum’s strategic objectives on digital transformation and the implementation of innovative digital projects and experiences.

Located on the third floor of the Museum, Artetik: From the Art will allow visitors to choose artworks from the collection and to indicate the emotions that those works trigger in them. As participants link the different works of art with their own feelings, the experience will generate a collective graphic of emotions that will change over time. At the end of their experience, users will be able to learn more about the chosen artwork, locate it in the Museum in order to savor it in person, and share on social media the graphic of emotions that each work produces. In addition, the app will allow visitors to discover other works of art from the collection that connect with similar emotions, providing access to the Museum’s artworks in a truly unique way.

Furthermore, the virtual space that Google Arts & Culture has dedicated exclusively to exploring the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum since 2017 will update and include the museum's entire collection, making it accessible to users and art fans around the world. Some of the materials available are:

  • The entirety of the museum's permanent collection in high resolution.
  • New digital stories about masterpieces from the collection. Thanks to the storytelling tools developed by Google Arts & Culture, anyone will be able to dig deeper into the details behind these artworks (eg. Man from Naples, 24 heads).
  • A cultural crossword that allows users to get to know the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum and their collection in a playful and educational way.
  • The video Folding gravity at the Guggenheim Bilbao Museum, published previously, which follows Trashhand, an American urban explorer and photographer, and Johan Tonnoir, a global expert in free running — a discipline that combines acrobatics and athleticism — as they explore the museum in a unique way, reimagining the iconic building designed by Frank Ghery.
  • Photograph of an installation composed of nine touch screens, organized in three groups (two large screens and a smaller one on the right). Two men are touching two of the small screens.

    Artetik: From the Art, a new installation in the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in collaboration with Google Arts & Culture, invites you to explore how artworks from the museum’s collection make you feel.

  • Vinyls on a white wall. Four blocks of black texts surrounded by small colorful sinuous shapes with some words written inside.

    Artetik: From the Art, allows visitors to choose artworks from the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao’s collection and to indicate the emotions that those works trigger in them.

  • Giant sculpture of curved steel plates covering the entire space of a room. The photograph has a zenithal perspective, so we see the top of the sculptures.

    The Matter of Time, by Richard Serra.

  • A painting with a head of a red pig on the left side, surrounded by countless inscriptions, splashes of color, cross-outs, and elementary signs.

    Man from Naples, by Jean-Michel Basquiat.

  • Bronze sculpture in the form of a gigantic spider located on the outside of a building with a titanium facade.

    Maman, by Louise Bourgeois.

To explore this exhibit visit or download the free Google Arts & Culture app for iOS or Android.

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