Mediated Rembrandt

“The work of art in a physical space is different: it craves you. Looking at art is a communal act.”

David Zwirner

Today opened up discussions around originality, primary and mediated experiences. What is lost via mediated experiences and what might be gained? It is impossible to talk about the display and experience of art at the present time without referring to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global art world and although discussions around mediated vs first hand experiences are not new we are now in an era whereby digital viewing of artworks has become the primary way that we experience art.

Some thoughts that I’ll keep adding to.

  • I recently virtually attended a webinar/talk by the UK based artist Tai Shani which is remarkable due to the fact that she had an audience of 700 people which was way more than would have attended at a regular gallery talk. 
  • With artists and gallerists being unable to travel, the online experience means that we don’t have to abandon a sense of global connectedness or the exchange of ideas.
  • Conversely the pandemic throws up questions of how artists work more locally vs globally.
  • There is a strong connection between the climate emergency and the coronavirus one – how will artists working practices continue to respond to this?
  • Galleries only show around 5% of collections so online provides the potential to see more of the work that is currently hidden especially as works even in ‘normal’ times don’t tour very often. 
  • Digital technology in ultra high resolution means that the viewer can see details not visible to the naked eye via magnified digital close ups 
  • What you see in the gallery isn’t necessarily the original, a painting may have undergone restoration so that the original paint is not necessarily what you experience first hand in a gallery – what constitutes an original anyway?
  • Installation and site specific work can also respond to and embrace notions of digital space.
  • This Fellowship is a prime example of how collaborative virtual art production can take place on a broader scale.

There was so much more discussed during the day and the dialog session with Irini Mirena from Future Everything and Avanish Kumar from Eyemyth media art was truly fascinating, shining a spotlight onto the ways in which process and critical conversations around the relationships between capitalism and democracy are now at the forefront of discussions around the showcasing of Techart. 

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