Mark Harden's Artchive: CD-ROM Reviews

With Open Eyes With Open Eyes: Images from the Art Institute of Chicago


Available for purchase online

This review was submitted by Donna Pauler.

This CD is ... focused on children although it would be wonderful for all ages. It begins with a musical introduction that leads to a viewing frame with links represented by icons:
Ruler (shows individuals looking at the art to get a sense of size)

Watch (shows a timeline)

World (shows location of art)

Life Preserver (with off/on help)

Lips (speaking information-male and female plus children's voices are used)

Forward and backward hands (goes forward or backward through the images)

Frog (which leaps randomly from image to image)

Couch potato (runs slide show of all images)

Scrapbook (with collections of work viewer chooses to insert)

Camera (for "photographing" art to put into scrapbook)

Box (which is a game or puzzle about the selected work)

Magnifying glass (for zooming in on work of art)
There is no way to see an entire index of works or to select out what to view without going through the whole CD. Children enjoy it however ... probably like the games the best.


"With Open Eyes" offers better-than-average image resolution, and an effective interface for viewing detail. (Note these icons only obscure the image when you have clicked into "zoom" mode.) For three-dimensional objects such as this example, the "turn" icons link to an image of that side of the object. The "bull's-eyes" link to a detail view that in this example illustrates Van Gogh's impasto very nicely.

A unique and effective method of illustrating the true size of the object is to display it in a gallery setting, allowing a visual relation of the work of art to the height of the viewers.

Unforgivable, unfortunately, is the Art Institute of Chicago's copyright paranoia (even more pronounced on their pathetic web site). Each of the images is plastered with a copyright line that ruins the presentation. Maybe their next offering will include electronic watermarks that will alleviate their copyright hysteria without occluding our view of our cultural heritage.

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