The Victoria and Albert Museum, London (V&A) today announced it has added a version of WeChat (Weixin) to its collection. WeChat is the most widely used social media application in China and its acquisition makes the V&A the world’s first museum to collect a social media platform. The application has been added to the V&A’s Design, Architecture and Digital collections which aim to represent “the most influential and relevant design objects of our time.” Visitors to the Museum can now find WeChat on a mobile phone in Gallery 76, accompanied by digital stickers and sketches.
The new addition to the collection captures both a physical and and virtual snapshot of WeChat, at a particular moment in time, meaning the Museum is both collecting and conserving this important social media platform. Tim Reeve, Deputy Director of the V&A said “This acquisition represents a snapshot of a globally consumed social media platform. It is a fantastically important addition to our collection of digital design, reflecting the ever-changing way we communicate and consume information.” It is symbolic of a new form of museology that sees institutions beginning to collect digital ‘objects’ in order to reflect contemporary culture. Similarly in 2010, Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art announced the addition of the ‘@‘ symbol to its collection.
The addition of WeChat is part of the V&A’s ongoing work and research is Shenzhen, one of the most important design centres in China and is part of their curatorial work in China leading up to the opening of the V&A Gallery at Design Society in December 2017.
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