Feedback on artworks via live app

“Letting our students experience how visitors look at their creations, what observations they make, and how they perceive their works; that is the aim of our Black Box exhibition,” says Gio De Weerd, director of the Academy of Arts in Lier (Belgium). With our online tool to assess competences he saw opportunities to realise this objective in an innovative way. Visitors walked through the exhibition with the Comproved app. They compared, chose their favourites and gave feedback on artworks.

Exhibiting to learn from the audience

Every year, the Academy of Arts in Lier gives its students the opportunity to present their work. With this Black Box exhibition, they clearly want to organise more than just an exposition. The school deliberately brings in visitors to let te students experience how they look at their work. In previous years, visitors could only give feedback on index cards which they had to deposit in a black box. This year, they could give feedback via Comproved’s live app.

Comproved's live app provides an authentic experience when comparing and judging artworks.

Comparing artworks live and giving feedback online

The school found 14 visitors willing to participate in their experiment to give students insight into the audience’s perception. At the end of January, they enthusiastically strolled past the works of 10 exhibitors. They were guided by their smartphone or tablet, which illuminated two random artworks at a time. The assignment was clear: which of the two artworks do you like best? Visitors indicated each time a favourite and gave works feedback. Each artwork appeared multiple times in different comparisons. This way, the visitors each followed an individual route and by the end they had seen all the artworks.

Experiencing art is not something you can do on the basis of pictures alone

For the school, the use of the live application meant that visitors could judge the look and feel of real, tangible photography, drawings and installations. Most visitors actually looked at the works live rather than assessing the photos on their devices. “After all, you can’t do that by just looking at photos,” a visitor declared.

Art students get feedback on craftmanship and artistry

Allowing students to learn from visitors’ feedback was the Academy’s aim. Comproved’s live app proved to be an ideal tool for this. Visitors rated the artworks extensively on two aspects. For craftsmanship, for example, visitors formulated comments and tips about tone, depth perception, colour shades, illusion of perspective, etc. The feedback on artistry is also very rich. Some visitors indicated how the artwork provoked thought or offered different possible interpretations, while others reacted on the self-evidence of an artwork or the excess of melancholy.

Comproved provides varied feedback from multiple assessors

What makes Comproved interesting for the academy is that each visitor gives feedback on more than one observation of each work. The tool’s unique feature is that it makes each work appear several times in different comparisons. It is as if the app forces the visitors to put on slightly different glasses each time they compare a certain work. “You can’t give the same feedback over again on a certain painting,” explains a visitor. An assessor who sees a work several times will notice something new or different every time.

In addition, Comproved’s app makes it possible for all participating artists to receive feedback from all visitors. The digital tool forces assessors to compare each work with a randomly chosen one and to write some feedback. “This was different in previous editions of the Black Box exhibition,” explains Gio as head of the academy. “Some artists received more feedback than others. And that was of course a missed opportunity.”

Comproved's live app allows the viewer to look at artworks from different perspectives. This makes the feedback for the artist richer.

Lessons from the Arts

What we learned from this first try-out with Comproved’s live application is that visitors found the task of comparing two works, choosing a favourite and giving feedback a good technique. Good, but not easy.

What made the comparative judgement difficult was that:

  • the works differed quite a lot in terms of type and realisation;
  • the works were not always physically close together;
  • the app is not sufficiently well developed for use on a mobile device.

Feedback that we will definitely take into account in Comproved’s next live applications.

Want to test it yourself?

Are you involved with ab academy, conservatoire, museum or exhibition and would you like to experiment with Comproved’s live tool? Are you curious about the various application possibilities for your organisation?

Then get in touch with us!

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