Making art accessible to everyone
An art legacy spanning six decades needs a digital archive that can really do it justice. And when the artist is Jochen Gerz, whose work is all about accessibility and viewer participation, that archive needs to be a conceptual journey that allows users to discover the art for themselves. So that’s what we created, because it’s more than just an archive—it’s a digital legacy.
With decades of artwork to be discovered, it required an information architecture that reflects complicated relations between the works and places them in the context of important events from the artist’s life. The main navigation provides myriad ways to consume but clearly defines the main content types. From “researchers” to “adventurers’, developing archetypal website users allowed us to take varied browsing patterns into account, ensuring a website that rewards curious minds and lets users find their own path.
Working with the truly international Edenspiekermann team in Berlin was a real challenge for us. Firstly, we found out that we did not know how to explain what we wanted. Then we found out that for them this seemed to be normal. Once we started to really listen to what our youthful and surprising partners had to say, the work on the new e_Catalogue Raisonné was underway.
The website’s visual design is clean and clear, inspired by brutalism, and provides the space for users to explore and discover. Taking inspiration from Jochen Gerz’s artwork, we ensured there were many layers and an element of surprise to create an immersive experience. The overlapping images and text boxes add depth, while the typographical and visual patterns optimize whitespace.
My plan was to do a website the way I do an artwork… We started from scratch on both sides. They knew many things we did not know and we knew things they had to learn (which they did). We all learned. That was decisive. Creativity has many beautiful addresses. We now know one more. We were lucky.
Jochen Gerz’s digital legacy is a conceptual user journey that allows everyone to create their own experience, an experience that mirrors Gerz’s artworks, where the viewer of the work becomes its creator. And it proves that the digitalization of art can be more than a practical solution—it can be an extension of the artist’s work.