This is a critical moment in the transformation of the Museum. We are completely rethinking the relationship between the Museum and its collection. We don’t see the collection as objects assembled from on high that create an aesthetic experience regardless of everything else about its history and context. We see the objects in the collection as a series of potentials in which objects are both valorized and complicated based on who is engaging with them. We are imagining a new kind of collections space that not only records in detail dimensions and materials and provenance, but also activates non-hierarchical and non-linear computational tools to create meaning upon meaning upon meaning. Illuminating the multiplicity of these things and the ability to generate and regenerate them allows the Museum to work past the finite conventions of space and time that it currently works within. We want to get to a point where people can engage with collections by bringing information forward; not just learning about, but teaching the Museum about its collection.

We see potentials in this project to transform what communities expect from museums, and challenge them to be better. The collections database can be more of a hybrid between the curatorial concept and the objects that exist— the facts around the objects themselves are constructed, and we seek to illustrate and expand this with a series of complex digital tools.

This website shares the transcripts and supporting documents of the formative meetings of the Digital Potentials Advisory, a group of historians, thinkers, technologists, artists, and gallerists who came together to critically explore and question the possibilities for expansion and engagement of online collections with the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria in 2020. The conversations, thinking and work that resulted from the initial meetings are the beginning stages of a rhizomatic effort to rethink and restructure what online collections can be and do.