CAS Annual Conference – Hot Medium: Virtual Reality in Museums

Lawrence Lek, Geomancer, 2017. CGI video still, commissioned by Jerwood/FVU Awards, London. Courtesy: the artist
Lawrence Lek, Geomancer, 2017. CGI video still, commissioned by Jerwood/FVU Awards, London. Courtesy: the artist

10 May 2018


The National Gallery
Trafalgar Square
London, WC2N 5DN

Organiser: Contemporary Art Society

Sackler CPD Programme members: free
£15 for non-members. Coffee and lunch included

The Contemporary Art Society Annual Conference focuses on the creative potential that virtual and augmented reality offers to museums. With the rapid development of virtual reality – a computer generated environment that is both immersive and interactive – the ways in which we can view, interpret and curate exhibitions have multiplied.

Virtual Reality or VR is tied to technology – a headset and a screen of variable dimensions that enables multi-layered realities, creating information and giving a unique experience of the objects. Using Marshall McLuhan’s definition of a ‘hot medium’ as something that “engages the senses completely and requires minimal participation from the user”; we will apply this hot medium to the museum world.

Recently, artists have been exploring the possibilities of these responsive environments and blurring the distinctions between what is real and what is artifice, what is experienced and what is perceived. How can VR change the way we think about art and institutions?  How can we propose ways to include these new types of virtual works within the institution, the exhibition and the collection?

Throughout the day we will hear curators and contemporary artists discussing their engagement with this technology. The unique, exclusive and ultimately solipsistic experience of VR might radically transform visitor experience – collective, shared and ultimately public – proposing a new way to understand artworks and their histories. The powerful potential of VR as a new creative direct cross-medium makes it an unbeatable tool for the museum of today to face the challenges of tomorrow.

Travel Bursaries are available for Museum Members, please apply by 10 April 2018. To apply and download the Contemporary Art Society Travel Bursary Form (.docx) click here

To book a place as a Sackler CPD Programme Member please email For non-members please use the form below.


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