June 19, 2002
Los Angeles--The J. Paul Getty Trust’s intensely interactive Devices of Wonder Web site won a Webby award at the sixth annual international Webby Awards ceremony in San Francisco last night. The winning site at www.getty.edu/art/exhibitions/devices was created to accompany the Getty Research Institute’s exhibition Devices of Wonder: From the World in a Box to Images on a Screen, which featured rare, artful instruments and magical technologies from the past 300 years and was on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum from November 13, 2001 through February 3, 2002.
In art museums, interactivity between objects and visitors is often limited in order to protect works of art. For Devices of Wonder, an exhibition of hundreds of objects exploring the relationship between human and machine, the accompanying Web site aimed to restore the hands-on experience.
Using Flash, JAVA, and Real Player, the Devices of Wonder site allows users to play with selected devices that were on view in the exhibition, including a “BIObot” developed by researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Indonesian shadow puppets from the early 1800s, and a multiplying “sorcerer’s mirror” from the 1700s.
“The premise of the Devices of Wonder exhibition was that artists and magicians constantly employed new technologies for the sake of illusion and play. It inspired the Web team to continue in that long tradition,” said Vicki Porter, Web manager for the Getty and executive producer of the Devices of Wonder Web site. “We wanted to use the latest in digital technology to delight our online visitors as directly as the original devices did in their time.”
Devices of Wonder is one of many dimensions to the J. Paul Getty Trust’s Web site at www.getty.edu, which encompasses large and significant resources, such as a Getty Museum collections database, the Getty Research Institute's online library catalog, an artwork provenance index and, most recently added, AATA Online, a major online conservation resource at www.aata.getty.edu.
The Devices of Wonder Web site won as the best site of the year in the “Weird” category, defined by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, who presented the Webbies, as honoring “sites so forward thinking they seem strange or abnormal when viewed without the future in mind.”
Founded in 1996, the Webby Awards are the leading international honors for consumer Web sites and individual achievement in technology and creativity. The Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences selects the nominees and winners, and presents the awards event. For more information visit www.webbyawards.com/main.
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