New Gallery in Bradford, England Explores Our Online Lives, IMG Cred: Chris Osburn

Explore Your “Life Online”

 

Recently opened at the National Media Museum in Yorkshire is a new gallery focused on how the Internet shapes the everyday lives of people around the world.

Life Online at the National Media Museum in the northern England city of Bradford is the world’s first gallery dedicated to exploring the social, technological and cultural impact of the Internet. This permanent gallery traces the history of the Internet, uncovers how it has changed people’s lives and tracks the latest trends.

The gallery covers two spaces within the museum. The first is a permanent exhibition in the foyer and the second is a changing temporary exhibition space. Both are free to the public.

The museum’s foyer area contains Life Online’s permanent exhibition. Here, visitors can track the history of the Internet, from the first experimental messages to the rise of current phenomenon of social networking. A range of interactive features and games explore the story of the Internet, while a timeline of objects showcases the evolution of Internet and computing technology. Large-scale overhead projection units offer visitors the chance to immerse themselves in multimedia archives and browse the web as they’ve never done before.

The changing temporary space of Life Online is but an elevator ride away on the museum’s seventh floor, where the ever evolving online world is examined through digital art and interactive elements. The first exhibition is titled [open source]: Is the Internet you know under threat? And explores the open source nature of the Internet and the current threats to net neutrality which could signify the end of this culture. [open source] runs until February 2013.

All the above may sound rather heady and a bit overzealous. With respect to all things online, what’s regarded as cutting edge innovation is soon considered outdated and obsolete. How can you attempt to exhibit something in a museum setting that seems to be reinvented almost every other week? Still, Life Online succeeds thoroughly in mapped the past and leading visitors up to the present day. As the Internet continues to transform – and transform our lives – it will be interesting to see how the gallery adapts and updates itself.

The National Media Museum is situated in Bradford city Centre and the route is well signposted. It’s a five-minute walk from Bradford Interchange rail station and a fifteen-minute walk from Bradford Forster Square station. In addition to the Life Online gallery, the museum is home to an IMAX theatre, film festivals, family events and more. Find out about Life Online and other happenings at the National Media Museum at www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk.

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photo: Chris Osburn

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