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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 May, 2003, 18:26 GMT 19:26 UK
Tate Modern goes on virtual tour
By James Bregman
BBC News Online

A newly launched section of the Tate Modern website allows the user to navigate each floor of the gallery although copyright restrictions prevent some works being shown.

Explore Tate Modern is an extension of the London gallery's website, which enables surfers to experience its collections more comprehensively than before.

Michael Palin
Michael Palin launched the site on 2 May
Designed around a flashy clickable 3D floorplan of the actual venue, the site includes access to a wide array of works.

Because of copyright restrictions, some images are not made available, but the range is still impressive.

Plenty of other museum and gallery websites offer a similarly rich selection of their content on-line, but where the new Tate venture really scores is in its accessibility.

Linking the website's graphical layout to the building itself makes sense in every way. Navigating it is simple, meaning that hopping around the different themed rooms is in fact a good deal easier than navigating them in person.

The site has the huge bonus of being well-powered and glitch-free, although as ever, you will need a broadband connection to experience it without any loading delays.

Alternative

Many a web enterprise has fallen flat in its usability by attempting cunning graphical layouts that take four days to load.

Another impressive feature is the inclusion of audio material - covering both section overviews and comments on specific works - which plays out smoothly and clearly.

The real-life Tate Modern building is on a relatively modest scale, when compared with, say, New York's MOMA or London's National Gallery.

This gives the website a distinct advantage, enabling it to directly match the building's organisation and content.

The result is perhaps the closest example yet of a gallery that can genuinely be experienced, to some degree at least, via its website.

Like the Tate Modern itself, the electronic version is just as good for a casual browse or for studying something indepth.

The limitations are obvious - the Tate Modern's numerous 3d works just cannot be recreated on a computer screen.

The immense Marsyas sculpture that recently wowed visitors would be a prime example, along with smaller modern pieces that simply need to be walked-around.

It would also be good to see some of the video installations streamed on the web.

Still, for those unwilling or unable to make the trip to London, Explore Tate Modern is the ideal next-best-thing.




SEE ALSO:
Art vanishes from Tate website
02 May 03  |  Entertainment
Big day for London's art rivals
17 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
Max Beckmann: Horror and humanity
12 Feb 03  |  Entertainment
Tate artist to create 'Utopic vision'
20 Nov 02  |  Entertainment
Zoom in on giant Tate sculpture
09 Oct 02  |  Entertainment
State of the Tate
25 Sep 02  |  Entertainment
Tate Modern's revamped site
07 May 03  |  Entertainment


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