Art is Social

ARoS Art Museum

In October 2016, ARoS Art Museum in Aarhus, Denmark unveiled ARoS Public, a reinvention of the art museum experience as an innovative public forum for learning and interpretation.


At the heart of the ARoS philosophy is the belief that art is most valuable when it sparks new forms of social connection. That's one of the reasons this small museum in a small city has a yearly attendance twice the size of the city's population. The ARoS team challenged Local Projects to create interactive installations that would transform an entire floor of the museum into a “mental fitness center,” engaging visitors’ senses, stimulating their imaginations, and creating new forms of social connection around art.

The result is ARoS Public, a community forum containing new workshops, an artist-in-residence studio, a salon, and three digital interactive exhibits developed by Local Projects: The Art of Creativity, The Art of Commentary, and the Art of Looking.


Exhibit Design, Media Design, Media & Software Development

“Each of the ARoS Public experiences invites visitors to create, share, converse and collaborate through the museum’s collection. ”

Jake Barton, Principal and Founder, Local Projects

The Details

Aros has become a must-see museum through the strength of its exhibitions and its belief that art is for all people - not just academics and curators. With that in mind, ARoS asked Local Projects to challenge the traditional belief that art itself is important without an audience present.

ARoS Public uses technology to put their collection in the hands of visitors. These experiences were designed to be both playful and insightful, showing that adults can have, as the museum puts it, “smart fun.”


The Art of Creativity

The Art of Creativity, also called The Portrait Machine, transforms visitors into creators and muses, using existing artworks to make their own. Visitors can assume the role of model or artist. The model's challenge is to match a pose, which is tracked and scored by a spatial camera in real time. Once the pose is correct, a photo is taken and the artist sees works from the museum collection mapped to parts of the model’s body. Customizing and scaling the artworks, both friends finish the portrait together and can save it for posterity. For groups, there’s also a photo booth option.


The Art of Commentary

The Art of Commentary, also called The Commentary Box, records conversations between two visitors, revealing individual connections to works of art. Each pair chooses an artwork and is presented with a question to provoke humor, conversation, and personal anecdotes. Their comments are recorded while natural language processing pulls out key words from their discussion. They’ll leave with their own unique GIF combining keywords from their visit and photos of their conversation, the perfect shareable memento of their trip to ARoS Public.


The Art of Looking

The Art of Looking, also known as The Eye Catcher, gives visitors the opportunity to challenge their attention spans by focusing deeply on a single work of art, and to unearth the secret insights behind how we look at art. Using eye-tracking technology over 20 years in the making, we trace the movement of visitors’ eyes as they examine each artwork, and show each visitor the hidden details of their searching gaze. Which details do they pay special attention to? Do their eyes quickly scan the artwork, or do they linger to take in details? Do they view a greater part of the picture plane than the average visitor?


“Traditional museums are not designed to encourage social interactions. We explicitly wanted to change that.”

Nathan Adkisson, Director of Strategy