The collaboration between the National Gallery and the School of Cybernetics to make Un-Tour: The Hidden Gallery began as a set of conversations about how to steer technology systems safely through the world. As our world is increasingly data-driven, and digital, we need ways of navigating complexity with purpose, and this matters in the context of art, including how we access meaning from art, and how we imagine possible futures for and through art in Australia and the world.
Un-Tour: The Hidden Gallery is an experience designed to show what it looks like to wrangle with the complexity of the Gallery itself. Working with Boho Interactive, the School of Cybernetics imagined the National Gallery as a cybernetic system: a set of components and relationships that adapt to and shape one another toward a goal.
Through an interactive, theatre-production that traced a path through the Gallery and into the hidden parts of the building, we exposed these interacting systems to the public for people to experience what it could mean to steer autonomous systems. This project is an example of partnering with a one of Australia’s national institutions to bring awareness to cybernetics as a way of thinking and doing in the world.
To show the National Gallery as a cybernetic system, we explored the many-layered and interacting systems that make up the gallery: the physical and digital infrastructure; how these systems interacted with people in the gallery, including staff and visitors; how the art, the environment and the physical setting all connect to create a dynamic system that is the National Gallery.