Material (in a Digital) World

Rocco from MateriaWhile a completely tactile web might still be a long ways off, materials are finding a new home in digital interfaces. As learning, shopping, and other interactions are increasingly encountered through screens, how does the design, architecture or fine arts student encounter materials?

One answer is Materia. It is a freely-accessible, online material explorer. Anyone can scroll through emerging and green materials or use a faceted material, sensorial or property search. This Netherlands-based site makes it a little bit easier for students and practicing professionals to imagine the tactile-effect of raw building materials.

For something beyond a faceted online search, Material ConneXion might be of interest. They are an international group providing in person experience with sustainable and cutting edge building materials and textiles as well as a subscription-based database. While they have a US-based materials library in New York, they also have a service for academic institutions to lease or buy a curated selection of items to have on-site. The cost and rate of innovation of new materials is high, having an expert’s insight into what is worthwhile is invaluable. Check out the video over at ArchDaily for a whirlwind tour!

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Discovering art on Art.sy

 Art.sy is an online art repository whose mission is “to make all the world’s art freely accessible to anyone with an Internet connection”. Art.sy works with galleries and art institutions to collect art across many different movements and genres, and then users can peruse the collection.  This resource is compared to Internet radio Pandora, Pinterest, or Netflix in its ability to browse the content on Art.sy. The site was launched on October 8th, 2012, and has over 17,000 artworks posted so far.

Art meets technology through the Art Genome Project, an organization that codes the characteristics of an artwork and creates relationships between different pieces to make searching for similar art a possibility. Users can manipulate the search filter to bring up results based on the medium. color, or size of the piece. Users may not download any of the images.

Art.sy is a good place for art appreciators to discover new art. For more information on how Art.sy is mapping art on the web, check out this article by The New York Times.