University Professor (Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design / HUN) | Digital Curator (dimu.hu)


Zsófia Ruttkay is a Professor at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest (MOME). Since joining MOME in 2009, Ruttkay has founded the Creative Technology Lab which she now runs with the aim to invent applications which are playful, inviting, aesthetically appealing, engaging, and at the same time, societally relevant. Its primary focus is the use of digital technologies to extend the museum visit within and beyond walls in both the physical and virtual space. The Lab has been in partnership with more than 25 leading GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) institutions, inventing and implementing over a dozen commissioned projects. It also delivers the “Digital Museum”interdisciplinary course, in which Design students at MOME and Programming students at Technical University Budapest work together to propose novel modes of interpretation and engagement.

Ruttkay has designed digital tools for scholars and restaurateurs for investigations of paintings from the Renaissance period to the 20th century. She is fascinated by artistic, scholarly and educational activities on the intersection of mathematics, art and technology. With a degree in applied mathematics, a PhD in Computer Science and 25 years of academic work on Artificial Intelligence, Computer Graphics and Human-Computer Interaction, she is intellectually and creatively inspired by the ways in which decades of research in these fields have enabled new modesof expression for the cultural and arts sector.



Digital Museum—Enhancing the Space, Time and Nature of the Exploration of Artworks

The ever evolving arsenal of digital technologies offers new means for: 1. accessing and attracting (new) audiences to museums and turning them into active participants; 2. interpreting and exploring artworks by a broad range of visitors and also by experts.

While there has been an increasing interest in these possibilities from the museum world, and some new genres have emerged, the plethora of choices to be made when making a physical exhibition is dazzling. What should (or could) be the role of the digital “enhancement” and what is its relationship to the “real” physical artwork? How to interweave the digital elements into the dramaturgy and physical walk-through of the exhibition? What should be the aesthetics of the “digital”? What do the visitors and the museum gain from the digital installations?

In my talk, I map out a wide range of possibilities and offer several examples from my own projects. The digital solutions put in focus here emerged either in a multidisciplinary university course setting where a cultural heritage institution partnered with students of design or programming, or they were commissioned works. The demos to be discussed are, in a nutshell:

  1. The Arnolfini portrait in 3D—a simple modelling exercise leading to scholarly discussion.
  2. Art analyser—discover contemporary artworks in LUMU in a playful way.
  3. Vasarely explorations—experiment with the principles of geometrics and symmetry behind some works by the artist.
  4. Cross stich—make your own variant of a contemporary poem and evaluate it.
  5. ByP: Budapest by paintings—get acquainted with the city via early twentiethcentury works of art, which bridge past and present, artistic freedom and reality, museum storage and city walk.
  6. Colour Mirror—visitors identifying with art works through colour, and the lessons learnt from this.

I will close my talk with a “todo” list, including the systematic design and evaluation of digital installations in museums.


The project is co-funded by the Creative Europe Program of the European Union.


HyMEx is organized within the Beyond Matter project-frame.


Partners of Beyond Matter