The inter- and transdisciplinary project aims to describe, to analyze and to differentiate the particular perceptual qualities of original artworks, their digital surrogates as well as digital expansions into the virtual space (augmented and virtual reality). We aim to address these questions with a mixed methods approach, integrating qualitative and quantitative methods to grasp the complex relationship between aesthetic experience and image mediality empirically with comparative studies. Art experience is no longer limited to the contemplation of the original artwork within the physical spaces of a museum. On the contrary, digital, and virtual media produced by museums themselves, by artists or by visitors have enjoyed great popularity since COVID-19 at the latest. Due to full or partial closure, museums have reached out to their visitors or even to new audiences with hashtags like #closedbutactive, #culturedoesnotstop, and #museumandchill. We do not know yet what all this means for the art experience – for the ways we appreciate, perceive, and behold art. To understand art experience in the (post-) digital age it seems necessary to compare artwork presented in different media formats (original, digital, virtual) and investigate whether there is such a thing as a media-specific art experience. The overall question we are asking is: Are there differences between image media when it comes to engagement with works of art – and how do these differences play out for different visitors? Only by advancing such an integrated perspective of the prevailing questions can we gain insight into the big picture of art experience in the (post-) digital age, which is the subject of many assumptions and speculation but still lacks empirical evidence. To our knowledge, no comparative investigation of aesthetic experience including all of the following: original artwork, digitized surrogate, augmented reality extension and virtual reality formats has been conducted so far. The project is led by Dr. Hanna Brinkmann and based at the Department for Arts and Cultural Studies of University for Continuing Education Krems. National research partner is the Belvedere Research Center in Vienna with Christian Huemer PhD and Dr. Johanna Aufreiter.


Duration 15/03/2024 - 13/03/2027
Funding FWF
Principle investigator for the project (University for Continuing Education Krems) Dr. Hanna Brinkmann, M.A.
Back to top