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Language-independent signs for art galleries


William Overington

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Today I made two A3 size landscape signs using Affinity Designer.

I produced a one-page PDF document for each of the signs.

I also made two one-tenth scale png graphic files of the designs, as displayed in this post. I did the designing using pixels as the measurement units, so a one-tenth scale png graphic of the design was a convenient size to use.

 

 

A3sign_Welcome.png.9c3a7e8abf67c21a9b1cf40f917c9cd9.png

 

 

A3sign_Thank_you_for_visiting.png.fdf90de35678f9082ac6594a88d2b50b.png

 

 

The upper one is to express

Welcome.

and the lower one is to express

Thank you for visiting.

in a language-independent manner.

The idea is that a person may understand the meaning as expressed in his or her chosen language by knowing the meaning from previously, or the code number allows it to be looked up in a list. The QR code contains the same information as the code number so that automated look up could take place using a smartphone that has a camera and a suitable app.

Using the exclamation mark before the digits is done so as the code number is not expressed in the same way as an actual number. 

At the time of starting this thread it may well be that only a very few people recognize the intended meaning from the glyph, the only decoding list is as far as I know for English, and as far as I know there is no smartphone app to do the decoding.

Yet one needs to start somewhere, to take the early steps forward to try to achieve results in the future. 

I had produced the QR codes as FREE TEXT style QR codes at the following website.

https://www.the-qrcode-generator.com/

In each of these QR codes there is encoded just the exclamation mark and the digits, there is not a return character included in the QR code.

The downloaded QR code images are each 1012 pixels square (=23 times 44).

There is a download arrow above the displayed QR code at the website.

After I had produced the one-tenth scale png graphics of the signs I tested each of them at the following website and for each of them the text encoded in the QR code in that one-tenth scale image decoded successfully.

https://products.aspose.app/barcode/recognize/qr

I am hoping to obtain some hardcopy prints of the A3 size signs on 350 grammes per square metre paper from an ooline virtual print house.

William

 

Until December 2022, using a Lenovo laptop running Windows 10 in England. From January 2023, using an HP laptop running Windows 11 in England.

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Yesterday I produced two A3 size PDF documents of language-independent signs for art galleries.

I am now considering how to proceed.

I want to produce versions using a paper size used in the United States of America and a few other countries. The appropriate size that it appears to me at present to be most suitable is a size known as Ledger.

I would also like to produce some other language-independent signs in the same and similar syles to be used within an art gallery

I have previously produced other items in relation to this, though some things have changed as my research project has continued.

Some of those changes are as a result of my thinking about my research.

Some changes have been influenced by other things. For exampe, finding that i can get printed copies of A3 size artwork at reasonable cost by uploading a PDF document to an online virtual print house and the prints being delivered to me by Royal Mail. That has influenced me producing the signs being discussed in this thread. 

Here is a link to a PDF document that I produced in 2012. On the final pages are some designs for glyphs art gallery signs.

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~ngo/locse027.pdf

Please note how the designs used in the signs in this thread are to a modified design.

I built this into a chapter of one of my novels. From a bit beyond halfway down page 2.

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~ngo/localizable_sentences_the_novel_chapter_072.pdf

The new designs are then used on pages 7 and 8 of Chapter 79.

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~ngo/localizable_sentences_the_novel_chapter_079.pdf

However, that novel was published in 2019 and since then I have decided that each localizable sentence should have a glyph.

I am that for some of the signs three versions may be desirable, a sign much like those produced already, a sign that also has an arrow to the left, and a sign that has an arrow to the right.

Also, I need to allocate code numbers for the other art gallery signs.

If anyone is interested in the wider project, here are some links.

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~ngo/localizable_sentences_research.htm

In 2016 I felt that I was not making progress, so I decided to write a novel as if there were a research centre working on the project.

I just started writing, with no idea of how the story would go, no overall plan, just publishing chapters as I completed them.

I posted about the novel in the old Serif lounge. I received very helpful feedback from several people.

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~ngo/novel_plus.htm

I completed the novel in February 2016.

I had intended the novel as complete in itself, but I missed writing it, so I started a sequel, publishing chapters as I completed them. The second novel is a work in progress though i have not added anythingto it for quite a while, yet about two-thirds of the intended number of chapters are wriiten and published.

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~ngo/locse_novel2.htm

William

 

 

Until December 2022, using a Lenovo laptop running Windows 10 in England. From January 2023, using an HP laptop running Windows 11 in England.

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3 hours ago, William Overington said:

I want to produce versions using a paper size used in the United States of America and a few other countries. The appropriate size that it appears to me at present to be most suitable is a size known as Ledger.

That sounds right. Ledger is 432 mm × 279 mm, which is pretty close to the 420 mm × 297 mm dimensions of A3 Landscape.

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Longer yet narrower, so a different aspect ratio.

Hopefully for these images where three items are surrounded by white space that will not be a problem.

Hopefully, a Select All, Group, Copy in the A3 .afdesign file and then Paste into a new Ledger size document, then align centre will work. and if the upper margin looks too narrow then lower the language-independent glyph a little and possibly lower the code number and the QR code.

As I mentioned elsewhere, the Lenovo computer on which I have the Affinity Software, PagePlus X7, and High-Logic FontCreator has a faulty power switch. However, the computer does have a NOVO button and I have managed to get the computer started that way. The NOVO button allows access to special features, but it also allows a normal start too.

I am writing this particular post on my Hewlett Packard computer that is locked with Windows 10S and I don't want to unlock it.

I may well need to get a replacement for the Lenovo computer, a computer with full Windows and plenty of memory, and load all the software onto it. However, while starting with the NOVO button continues to work and no other issues arise with the computer there seems no urgency to replace it.

William

 

Until December 2022, using a Lenovo laptop running Windows 10 in England. From January 2023, using an HP laptop running Windows 11 in England.

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I have now started up the Lenovo computer using the NOVO button.

At present i have a .afdesgn file for two A3 size landscape designs.

I have exported a PDF version of each and sent an email to myself using webmail with the two PDF documents attached so that I can get them even if this computer breaks down. In fact, from this computer I also uploaded them to an online virtual print house so that I can order some prints, but I have not yet placed the order yet as I can add other items for the same packaging and Royal Mail delivery charge. Those other items coukd be for this project or for some other project. 

I am now going to try to produce a Ledger size version for each.

I intend to make notes in a WordPad file as I proceed.

If I am able to produce the two Ledger size versions I can then try to produce another four files as publication versions.

For the publication versions I want to add metadata to the PDF documents.

For the publication versions I think that I need to open the .afdesign files in Affinity Publisher and save copies and then on the copies add author information and descriptive text that is not in the printable document itself but can be accessed as metadata from Adobe Reader.

I seem to remember that the topic of adding that metadata arose some time ago and that I was advised that it is possible to add the metadara from Affinity Publisher but not from Affinity Designer.

Indeed I seem to remember managing to do that some time ago after advice on how to do it in this forum.

If I remember correctly the facility is somewhere in the Affinity Publisher Studio menu.

Yet I wanted to first get to a situation of having the artwork in PDF document form as soon as possible just in case the computer had broken down.

William

 

Until December 2022, using a Lenovo laptop running Windows 10 in England. From January 2023, using an HP laptop running Windows 11 in England.

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Here is a transcript of the notes that I made in a WordPad file as I produced the Ledger size versions of the signs.

----

The Ledger size versions.
Generate a new Ledger size landscape document, 300 dots per inch, measurement unit of pixels and 300 pixel margins.
Save as
Ledgersign_Welcome.afdesign
The document is 5100 pixels by 3300 pixels.
Open A3sign_Welcome.afdesign
4960.6 by 3507.9
300 pixel margins.
Select All
Group
Copy
Close A3sign_Welcome.afdesign without saving changes.
In the Ledger size document, paste.
This has pasted so that the top left corner of the paste is where it was in the A3 size document.
The effect is that the code number is fine horizontally, but too low down.
The QR code is too left and to low.
The language independent glyph is to left, yet possibly at the correct place vertically.
So rather than try to align them by eye I will try to calculate how to move them.
----
So the A3 is 3508 (rounded up) high and the Ledger is 3300 high.
So I can start by moving the code number and the QR code each upward by 208 pixels. 
(208 = 3508 - 3300)
The upper left corner of the text frame for the code number is at y=2420, so change that to become  y=2212 (2212 = 2420 - 208)
The text frame for the code number does not need horizontal movement so is thus already correctly placed.
The upper left corner of the QR code is at y=2240, so move it to y= 2032  (=2240 - 208)
The QR code needs moving to the right.
The upper left corner of the QR code is at x=3690
The Ledger version is 140 (=5100 - 4960 (rounded down))wider than the A3 version.
In order to keep the same location relative to the right edge of the canvas, change x of the upper left corner of the QR code graphic to become x=3830 (=3690 + 140)
I need now to decide what to do about the language independent glyph.
Although the glyph as text is centred in the text frame, in the A3 version the text box is offset because the glyph in the font is effectively in the leftmost 23 cell columns of a a 24 cell columns wide cell. So I had used vertical guidelines and by positioning by eye and measuring the left and right edges of the on canvas displayed glyph, and then calculated how far to the right from centred to move the text frame so that the glyph displayed to look centred on the screen.
So I cannot place the language-independent glyph by using the centreing alignment of Affinity Designer. I need to move it to the right by half of the 140 pixels as I did for the QR code graphic.
So, the upper left corner of the text box has x=306, so I need to move it to become x=376  (=306 + 70) 
I now need to decide whether to move the language-independent glyph vertically.
The Ledger size version is 208 pixels less in height than the A3 version.
At this stage the 208 pixels has effectively been removed from the vertical gap between the language-independent glyph and the QR code.
With this particular glyph this is no problem, but may not look good with the Thank you for visiting version.
So Save what I have, then Save as the Ledger version of the Thank you for visiting sign and change the glyph.
Change the code number to !983 and change the QR code.
Changing the QR code needs moving the upper left corner of the newly copied QR code graphic to x=3830 y=2032
Try moving the language-independent glyph upward by half of the 208 pixels, th upper left corner of the the text frame becoming y= 196 (=300-104)
That seems too high.
Move it down 52, so becoming y= 248 (=196 + 52)
That looks completed.
It may be an optical illusion but the glyph looks as if it is a bit too far to the right of centre.
So I will try to check it by measuring in case I made a mistake earlier, maybe with the A3 versions.
Add vertical guides.
Line them up eye at the ends of the displayed glyph.
The Guides Manager gives the positions as x=823.8 and x= 4268.9
So their average is 2546.35
So the document is 5100 pixels wide, so the centre horizontally is at x=2550.
So less than 4 pixels out, and that may be due to how I located the guides by eye, so it seems that all is well.
So now produce the two PDF documents and email them to myself by webmail.

----

The next stage is to try to produce four PDF documents, two A3 size, two Ledger size, with added metadata.

William

 

Until December 2022, using a Lenovo laptop running Windows 10 in England. From January 2023, using an HP laptop running Windows 11 in England.

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I have been relearning and learning more about adding metadata to a PDF using Affinity Publisher.

https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php?/topic/169587-using-affinity-publisher-to-add-metadata-to-a-design-produced-using-affinity-designer-so-as-to-produce-a-pdf-document-with-metadata/#comment-971882

It appears that adding the metadata cannot be done using Affinity Designer but i can be done using Affinity Publisher.

William

 

Until December 2022, using a Lenovo laptop running Windows 10 in England. From January 2023, using an HP laptop running Windows 11 in England.

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20 hours ago, William Overington said:

With this particular glyph this is no problem, but may not look good with the Thank you for visiting version.
So Save what I have, then Save as the Ledger version of the Thank you for visiting sign and change the glyph.

Later, I remembered doing that and I realized that I had not gone back to the .afdesign file of the Ledger size version of the Welcome. sign.

I should have gone back to the .afdesign fileof the Ledger size version of the Welcome. sign and adjusted the vertical position of the language-independent glyph so as to be the same as in the Ledger size version of the Thank you for visiting sign.

So I also need to redo the PDF document for the Ledger size version of the Welcome. sign.

William

 

Until December 2022, using a Lenovo laptop running Windows 10 in England. From January 2023, using an HP laptop running Windows 11 in England.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Some readers may enjoy studying how I have designed the way to decode the code numbers.

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~ngo/The_Format_of_the_sentence_dot_dat_files_for_use_in_Research_on_Communication_through_the_Language_Barrier_using_encoded_Localizable_Sentences.pdf

Attached to this post is a sentence.dat file specifically written to show how decoding of the code numbers in these images could be achieved.

William

 

sentence.dat

Until December 2022, using a Lenovo laptop running Windows 10 in England. From January 2023, using an HP laptop running Windows 11 in England.

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Yesterday, after I posted my previous post, this thread had 464 views.

One listed download of the attached file was me opening the attachment and checking that the upload had worked correctly.

Now it is over 550 views of the thread.

So of all of those views of the thread, only one person has has either opened or downloaded the attached file.

I am puzzled as to why, having seen the title and chosen to view the thread, the vast majority of people viewing the thread have not opened the attachment.

I do not know how many people, if any, looked at the document linked from the post.

Can anyone who looked at the thread yet chose not to look at the attached file say why please?

William

 

 

 

Until December 2022, using a Lenovo laptop running Windows 10 in England. From January 2023, using an HP laptop running Windows 11 in England.

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The thread now has 589 views yet only two views of the file.

In case people are concerned about opening it, here is a transcript of the content of the file. The file contains the information needed to localize the meaning of the sign into English. The idea is that inserting the code number, or scanning the QR code into a device, such as a smartphone running an appropriate app, the app would use whatever sentence.dat file it had to display the meaning on the screen. So the app using this version of the sentence.dat file would result in the meaning being displayed in English. If the app were using a different version of the sentence.dat file, a version for some other language, the meaning would be displayed in that language.

 

*sentence.dat
*Art Gallery signs 2022-11-24 Thursday
*English en-gb-oed
127|Welcome.
983|Thank you for visiting.
%

 

The implementation of this facility would be quite a big task if started from zero.

However, it is possible that the facility could be added to an Affinity product, or a test copy of an Affinity program, by Serif programmers by using their knowledge and skill and the facilities available to them, by adapting a copy of the software used for implementing the glyph substitution of an OpenType liga table, by regarding the sentence.dat file as if it is sort of like an external variant of a glyph substitution table from a font.

If that implementation happens the result would be an enormous leap forward in information technology, with Serif at the forefront of applying the invention. Wow!

William

 

Until December 2022, using a Lenovo laptop running Windows 10 in England. From January 2023, using an HP laptop running Windows 11 in England.

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608 views so far.

I have started a thread in 

Feedback for the Affinity V2 Suite of Products

in the hope that Serif will implement localizable sentence decoding in Affinity products.

https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php?/topic/174500-can-serif-consider-implementing-decoding-of-localizable-sentence-codes-please/

William

 

Until December 2022, using a Lenovo laptop running Windows 10 in England. From January 2023, using an HP laptop running Windows 11 in England.

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4 hours ago, William Overington said:

Can anyone who looked at the thread yet chose not to look at the attached file say why please?

I saw your post after this one describing the contents, which would have been my obvious question. The thing is, what are we supposed to do with this dat file? It's basically a key pair table.

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Thank you for replying.

4 minutes ago, LondonSquirrel said:

I saw your post after this one describing the contents, which would have been my obvious question. The thing is, what are we supposed to do with this dat file? It's basically a key pair table.

The idea is that it is a table that is readable by humans as well as by an automated system.

If someone who is bilingual localizes the file to another language, keeping the numbers to the left of the | characters unchanged yet translating the text that is to the right of the | characters, then the file could be used in an automated system, such as, for example, a smartphone being held by a visitor to an art gallery who is wondering what is the meaning of the language-independent sign, and the meaning would be displayed upon the screen of the smartphone.

So if the sentence.dat file is localized to another language, that localization takes place once, yet the sentence.dat file that is produced can be used an unlimited number of times by lots of people.

I saw in Google streetview a view in the foyer of MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, (as the foyer was before the foyer was rebuilt) and there was a sign that had in English and about six other languages the message Thank you for visiting. The sign was between the stairs and the exit, so visitors would see it on the way out.

Yet there are many more than seven languages in the world.

So my idea is that a language-independent sign would be equal for all, and people might know the meaning of the symbol each in their own language, or could find the meaning in their own language by using an app on a device. Yet the app would work with any language that can be expressed in Unicode because the app would work with the sentence.dat file to which it has access. So no need for a separate version of the app for each language, just a version of the sentence.dat file for each supported language

William

 

Until December 2022, using a Lenovo laptop running Windows 10 in England. From January 2023, using an HP laptop running Windows 11 in England.

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2 minutes ago, deeds said:

Why?

I had been researching on using my invention of encoded localizable sentences for communication through the language barrier in some particular circumstances.

Separately, I saw that Google street view introduced views from inside some art galleries around the world.

One, MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, included a number of views of the foyer as well as some views of paintings.

I found this interesting, because if one physically visits an art gallery one enters from outside, and experiences such things as the foyer, the shop, the café and so on, as well as the paintings and other art works.

In that foyer presentation there was, positioned so that people would see it as thet were on the way to the exit, was a free-standing sign on a pole, which had Thank you for visiting. in English and below it text in about six other languages conveying the same meaning.

But, there are many more languages than that in the world, so I thought that adding a symbol that had that meaning in every language would be good.

But that is useful if people know the meaning of the symbol. What if they do not?

So, gradually, as my ideas for localizable sentences and their applications developed as my research proceeded, I decded that as an additional possibility, to design a sign that was totally language-independent, so that it was not a matter of text for some languages and use the symbol for other languages, so all languages equal.

So I like to think of the signs in this thread as both modern art and also functional.

So if the signs were displayed in an art gallery what would they be?

If displayed side by side in a gallery as images suggested by someone, then they are only art exhibits.

If the Welcome sign. is displayed near the entrance and the Thank you for visiting sign. is displayed near the exit, then they are functional, perhaps also art.

I suppose that both could be done, so in use near the entrance and the exit, and also in a display in one of the galleries.

William

 

Until December 2022, using a Lenovo laptop running Windows 10 in England. From January 2023, using an HP laptop running Windows 11 in England.

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1 minute ago, William Overington said:

I had been researching on using my invention of encoded localizable sentences for communication through the language barrier in some particular circumstances.

Separately, I saw that Google street view introduced views from inside some art galleries around the world.

One, MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, included a number of views of the foyer as well as some views of paintings.

I found this interesting, because if one physically visits an art gallery one enters from outside, and experiences such things as the foyer, the shop, the café and so on, as well as the paintings and other art works.

In that foyer presentation there was, positioned so that people would see it as thet were on the way to the exit, was a free-standing sign on a pole, which had Thank you for visiting. in English and below it text in about six other languages conveying the same meaning.

But, there are many more languages than that in the world, so I thought that adding a symbol that had that meaning in every language would be good.

But that is useful if people know the meaning of the symbol. What if they do not?

So, gradually, as my ideas for localizable sentences and their applications developed as my research proceeded, I decded that as an additional possibility, to design a sign that was totally language-independent, so that it was not a matter of text for some languages and use the symbol for other languages, so all languages equal.

So I like to think of the signs in this thread as both modern art and also functional.

So if the signs were displayed in an art gallery what would they be?

If displayed side by side in a gallery as images suggested by someone, then they are only art exhibits.

If the Welcome sign. is displayed near the entrance and the Thank you for visiting sign. is displayed near the exit, then they are functional, perhaps also art.

I suppose that both could be done, so in use near the entrance and the exit, and also in a display in one of the galleries.

William

 

I think this is taking accessibility and cultural concerns to an extreme that's past the point of usefulness and will, instead, simply create a new version of the same problem.

English is the language for this, already. Just do away with the limited translations, as that's sure to offend someone. Just offend everyone for whom English isn't a language they understand, as this is the least number of people you can offend with a single language choice.


And the easiest solutions already exist: visual text translation tools on all phones.  Point your camera at any sign, any treatise even, and the whole thing is instantly translated to any language of your choosing, and can even be read out loud.

 

Or you could use Chinese, as it's the most high density pictographic, iconographic and symbolic language going, and understood by more than all but the global language... and using it would offend the second least number of people possible when picking a single language.

 

Most of this is written with a mirthful smile on my face, and a knowing wink ;)

 

 

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  • 1 year later...

 

I looked for this this thread and found it on page 16

On 10/24/2022 at 9:28 PM, William Overington said:

 

I am hoping to obtain some hardcopy prints of the A3 size signs on 350 grammes per square metre paper from an ooline virtual print house.

 

 

I received the A3 prints, several of each, and I have one of each displayed here.

Gradually it occurred to me that the glyph itself could be encoded in a QR code, so I started to research how to do that.

https://lists.aau.at/pipermail/mpeg-otspec/2023-November/003126.html

Four more posts in the thread thus far, three of them from me, available on the following page.

https://lists.aau.at/pipermail/mpeg-otspec/2023-December/date.html

The present stage is that, using the two websites mentioned in the first post of the thread, I made a QR code and it is large, and when I tried to decode it, I could not get it to decode.

So I am now looking at some form of compression of the way to express the information about the glyph into a QR code so that the QR code will be of a smaller type of QR code.

An interesting side issue is to try to learn how the curves of fontmaking relate to the curves of Affinity Designer's Pen Tool, in that in fontmaking there are off-curve points yet in the Affinity Designer Pen Tool system, a rounded node is on the curve

----

Earlier this morning I asked

bing chat ai

Can a sign in an art gallery itself be a work of art?

I received the following reply.


> Absolutely! Art is a form of expression and is subjective. It can take on many forms and isn’t limited to traditional mediums like painting or sculpture. A sign in an art gallery could certainly be considered a work of art if it’s intended to be so by the artist. It could be the artist’s intention to challenge the viewer’s perception of what art is, or to make a statement about the nature of art itself. So, in the context of an art gallery, a sign could indeed be a work of art. It all depends on the intent and interpretation. Remember, “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” - Edgar Degas

Then I asked the slightly different question and I received a different reply.

Can a sign in an art gallery be a work of art?


> Yes, a sign in an art gallery can indeed be considered a work of art. The concept of what constitutes “art” has evolved significantly over time and is often subject to interpretation. In the context of contemporary art, anything can be art if the artist intends it to be and if it provokes thought or emotion in the viewer. This includes everyday objects, installations, and even signs. For example, conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth’s work “One and Three Chairs” is a piece that includes a physical chair, a photograph of a chair, and a dictionary definition of a chair. Each of these elements, including the written definition (which could be likened to a sign), contributes to the overall artwork. So, in this sense, a sign in an art gallery could certainly be a work of art. However, it’s important to note that this is a broad interpretation and some may have different views on what constitutes art.
 

----

So is

Art Gallery signs that are themselves art

a new art concept?

I will ask

bing chat ai

as that might provide some insight.

William

 

Until December 2022, using a Lenovo laptop running Windows 10 in England. From January 2023, using an HP laptop running Windows 11 in England.

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I have now asked

bing chat ai

Is Art Gallery signs that are themselves art a new concept?

Here is the reply.


> The concept of art gallery signs being art themselves is not entirely new. In fact, the display and presentation of art have always been an integral part of the art experience. The design and aesthetics of signs, labels, and other informational materials in an art gallery can contribute to the overall artistic atmosphere of the space12.


> However, the idea of these signs being considered as standalone pieces of art might be more recent, reflecting the evolution of art and its definitions. Today, you can find art gallery signs that are creatively designed and could be considered works of art in their own right34. These signs not only provide information but also add to the aesthetic appeal of the gallery.


> It’s also worth noting that the concept of what constitutes ‘art’ is continually evolving and expanding, and it often includes everyday objects and designs that were not traditionally considered art. So, while the idea of art gallery signs as art might seem novel, it fits within the broader trend of redefining and expanding the boundaries of art.

 

William


 

Until December 2022, using a Lenovo laptop running Windows 10 in England. From January 2023, using an HP laptop running Windows 11 in England.

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