The sight of a handheld games console being carried around an art gallery could make many art lovers recoil in horror. Games? In a gallery? Oh the cultural clash that raises.
As of this month, visitors to the Louvre in Paris will be encouraged to fiddle with handheld devices, as Nintendo has given the world’s most visited museum 5,000 modified 3DS consoles as part of a partnership between the Louvre and Nintendo.
The gallery hopes that the partnership will attract visitors who may not typically visit an art gallery and that the unique experience will offer an entirely different insight to the Louvre’s world famous collection, which includes the Mona Lisa.
The devices will run an exclusive, interactive audio guide of the gallery. The Audio Guide Louvre - Nintendo 3DS will make use of the 3DS’ unique functionalities with interactive maps of the museum letting the visitors know exactly where they are and 3D images, offering a greater insight into the works on display.
The audio contains commentary on over 700 pieces from the museum’s collection, amounting to over 35 hours of listening material. The audio has been recorded by the museum’s curators, lecturers and other experts.
The Louvre is confident that by using modern technology the gallery will be able to reach out to an entirely new audience whilst also offering those already familiar with the works a newly enhanced and exciting experience.
The Louvre’s managing director Hervé Barbaret said: "Through this partnership, we wanted to bring together heritage and the innovative world of interactive entertainment through a system many people are already familiar with. We feel that the Nintendo 3DS is perfect to achieve this goal... we believe that the new audio guide is a valuable tool that will help visiting the Louvre a more dynamic and rewarding experience, particularly for those that are not so familiar with a museum environment.”
The Tate Britain already uses an iPod touch for their audio visual guide alongside an app which any visitor can download.
The idea will certainly prove a shock for traditional gallery goers, and in acknowledgement of this the Louvre has priced the 3DS audio guide at €5 euros, making it cheaper than the standard €6 audio guide.
The devices' game card slot has also been covered up, meaning that parents can rest assured that their children will not be able to sneak in a gaming cartridge when they should be absorbing world culture.