Saturday, 19 March 2016

Displaying digital artworks

London Exhibitions February 2016 Review

I decided to repurpose the post that is a review of exhibitions as one of my aims in visiting these exhibitions was really to observe how digital artworks can be displayed in a gallery.

Excuse the crappy phone snaps, it's not going to do the work justice. I'll try link out to artists websites.

Electronic Superhighway
29 January - 15 May 2016

I really loved this exhibition, I have read that it's a bit of a cop out to organise an exhibition which is retrospective, but this one makes so much sense. You travel backwards in time which I think is really important as you are starting with the familiar slowly going back in time to more unknown technologies which seem almost alien to us now. Even a tower PC is looking dated in one of the rooms. 

But the DVD game made me think, it's delivered like something your grandparents would have now, so interesting to think about the changes in media and what I'm working on now will be redundant in a matter of years,

HD Display
Including the, what I'm going to refer to as "the trailing wire aesthetic".
Snowbunny / Lakes, 2015, Cory Arcangel
 The trailing wire aesthetic tells you it's digital. There is no attempt to conceal the wiring or media player as it is as much part of the work as the screen is. Attempts to conceal could lead in messy trunking

So why hide it in this type of setting. I see this very different for an exhibition where the media is more mixed in this exhibition the expectation is digital.

Lenticular spectacular
Glowing Edges, 2014, Constant Dullaart
 In contemplating an alternative digital artwork, I did ponder lenticular. It's a great way to create movement in a flat substrate without the need for screens/wiring/power.

Dullaart relies on found imagery which in this case has been photoshopped using the mundane filters like if your dad got hold of a copy of photoshop to create digital art from the holiday snaps. The filter is applied as you move past the print.

I'm not overly convinced using it in my own work, and it does remind me of free gifts in a cereal packet. I'm interested in the found imagery route.

The mighty tablet!
Twelve, 2013, Ann Hirsch
The thing about it's use in this particular work slightly jars for me. I used AOL chatrooms as a teenager but our desktop PC was the size of a fridge freezer with a monitor that almost has to take two to lift.

A tablet is however familiar to todays audience. The benefit of the processing power and the ability to lock down the tablet along with the touch screen abilities makes it a simple. it also appears slightly diary like on the teenage girls bedroom desk.

The whole piece makes me feel anxious, which I know is partly the intention. I'm scared to interact with it due to the impending doom of what is happening.

I appreciate the artwork is to be treated like an app, bringing it up to date on modern platforms is a thing of genius, making it a much more accessible piece.

Also to note in this room there is an invigilator who is much more present and there to help and reset screens etc. It poses questions about what the artist expects from the gallery staff when displaying digital work.

Seamless framed plasma screen
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, 1992, Surface Tension
This is the one that I found myself being watched. But I was looking up and down, on the roof, behind me. How am I being tracked? That sense of unease was immediate and I'm not sur eit would have been quite so as effective if the technology wasn't concealed.

For one the camera was well hidden, the second as you first approach this could be a frame backlit print, but as you move across the eye follows you then you have that realization that this is a screen and it's interactive. You start to do the dance around to try and confuse it and trick it. Well I did when no one was looking.

The wall
Internet Dream, 1994 ,Nam June Paik
As we go back further in time the technology also travels back, TFT monitors, reminiscent of tv programmes as a child where they had these stacks. nowadays we miss the big gaps and convex screens to give a real retro feel.

It's a striking piece built into the surroundings based on the sizes of the screens. You can't look for too long or too close. As mum used to say "you'll get square eyes."

It was indeed this artist that coined the term Electronic Superhighway back in 1970s.

There's certainly reference to take from the traditional artworks including pioneer Manfred Mohr and Roy Ascott's change paintings.

 A particularly good trailing wire example

The commissioned works is a web of concected screens and audio

Back Projected
Harun Farocki - Parallels

This was perhaps the most inspiring of the works I watched each fully, transfixed with the techniques used by games designers and the amount of work that goes into creating small non interactive parts of a game, such as clouds.

Common Property
15 January - 21 February 2016
Jerwood Space

I continued to the Jerwood space via some lunch. From my understanding the exhibition deals with the issue of IP and found 'property'. i'm interested in this as some of my work is usign repurposed videos taken from youtube. Are there copyright laws, how does it work. 

I mean I'm not finding it out at this exhibition, but it's a real trend to be using found media. Finding media is not like going to a car boot and finding an original photo prints, scanning it etc, but it's perhaps much more open. Many people can find the same image? But who has the right to display it in a gallery? Who is the content creator, who is the artist?

Empty Lot
13 October 2015 – 3 April 2016
Tate Modern

I had time to drop by the Tate,

Big Bang Data
3 December 2015 — 20 March 2016
Somerset House
 Another freak out moment. The 3D print is generated from DNA taken froma cigarette butt. Scary shit. Nice way to display 3D prints.
Not so nice trailing wires.

I've seen this shared online before. When a particular topic is posted on BBC news website the vending machine will give away a free snack. 

I waited a while but I didn't get any snacks. 

I feel like I need a conclusion to this post, but it's irrelevant, I may just start making a collection of display techniques for digital artwork. 

Ok here's a conclusion: 

  • The trailing wire aesthetic is right on trend. It's ok to be visually digital if the context allows. 
  • Use digital projection or a framed screen to make a more seamless installation. 

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