Hara Shin
2019.06.10
Interview
Avenues for Arts in the Digital Environment and an Interview With peer to space

Text: Hara Shin

By clicking on the video ‘Clair de Lune 4K Version’ uploaded to NASA’s online gallery we can experience the high-resolution images of the Moon visualized by NASA’s technology using digital 3D modelling. Each image is sequenced with classical music, Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune. Most of the contents released by NASA including this video are available for free download in the public domain. Google Arts & Culture is similar in approach to Museums in the Second Life which is an online-based virtual world.

Open sources, video streaming sites, personal broadcastings, social media, game and virtual/augmented reality experiences which are easily accessible in everyday life are based on a combination of Internet, technology and huge industry. Along with new conditions our methods for producing and consuming audio-visual experiences as well as our behavioral responses to these experiences have been changed. Art markets, institutions, art spaces and artists have accepted these changes. As limits to the area where artworks can be seen disappear, many artworks and artistic activities have flowed into the Internet and virtual space. No longer produced in a stationary space, artworks have become a way for people to communicate directly in a fluid domain. The production and consumption of immaterial media, such as moving image, sound and Internet-based art, are progressing together with the attempt on new types of sharing ways to art.

This article deals with several cases of producing discourses how artworks are exhibited and consumed under the Internet- and developing technological environment, and interviews with peer to space about digital curating.

CPH:DOX 2019 (Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival 2019) exhibited virtual reality films and interactive installations in the VR: CINEMA and INTER: ACTIVE sections. Many companies pursuing immersive environmental technology and entertainment have participated as cooperation partners to create an exhibition environment where topics on political, military, environmental, scientific, gender and racial conflicts can be perceived more personally. The recent Cannes Film Festival also noticed a new market for this area through the CANNES XR programme.

Synthesis Gallery in Berlin displays VR artworks through an immersive blend of technology and art. VR projects as well as real time programmed audio-visual installations and performances, present the audience a variety of synthesized landscapes. Transmediale, where Synthesis Gallery has also participated, is Berlin’s annual festival and cultural organization. Transmediale, where artists, researchers, activists and thinkers propose issues from a post-digital perspective, suggests an ongoing critical platform in exhibitions as well as conferences, performances, workshops and networking activities. The ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe runs a web residency programme with Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart. Artists from all over the world inhabit the web for a specified time period and experiment with digital arts, interfaces, programming, networking and other activities. The residency programme’s objective is to draw international debate about digital technology and society. Thus, participants focus on devising new artforms and frameworks rather than fully completed works.

DIS is a collective that began by initiating an online-based interactive magazine. After several changes, DIS now is integrated as a streaming platform for edutainment (education and entertainment). By paying a monthly subscription, we can access all video series and collections that DIS has streamed, like Netflix. Daata Editions enables us to buy editions of digital-based artworks. Some parts of the works are open, and people can preview them before people purchase them. In addition, individual artists working online are increasingly doing self-branding themselves and their artworks. In some cases, consumers buy their artworks directly online. Artists mainly set their own trading regulations according to the direction and value of artworks based on the legal policy of e-commerce.

Recent new approaches to media have attempted to open the conversation to a broader range of viewers and to provide the potential for freely dealing with diverse contemporary issues. However, many cases are rather focused on the introduction of new technology, the production of discussion or methodical alternatives to create, exhibit and appreciate artworks associated with the quality of media. To expand the concept of space and aim to form new types of art platforms that perform a mediatory role in art, more shared discussions are also required on how the current media environment could address practical issues with the value of copyright, the range of editions, archiving and distribution after exhibitions.

Peer-to-peer networking is a networking system in which each individual node on the Internet is connected directly and concurrently, without going through a central server, mirroring the structure in which individuals communicate in the day-to-day. Peer to space create online and offline exhibitions and projects about the context and content of the various interfaces of today's issues through with the concept of peer-to-peer networking.

An interview with Tina Sauerlaender, the director and head curator and Peggy Schoenegge, the project manager and curator at peer to space.

:DDDD: As an artistic space, how does the meaning of space based on the concept of peer-to-peer networking — a part of peer to space’s name — impact on the current Internet environment where images are freely reproduced, transformed and circulated?

:Tina Sauerlaender/Peggy Schoenegge: Peer to space’s exhibitions don’t need to be tied to one specific location. They take place online and offline. The Internet allows us to be visible while being detached from physical places. New technologies bridge large distances and thus create proximity, which fosters networking and exchange. This offers many advantages for international exhibitions, as the exchange of data, images, artworks and the communication with artists all over the world is much less complicated.

:DDDD: Accordingly, how do you attempt exhibition forms or screening that are alternatives and different from previous ways?

:Tina Sauerlaender/Peggy Schoenegge: With our international exhibition platform, peer to space, we collaborate with various international art institutions. Our exhibitions take place in many different spaces. We organize and curate online exhibitions like claiming-needles.net or mermaidsandunicorns.net. Each encompasses approximately 50 artworks from artists all over the globe. The exhibition is accessible online 24/7 and free. These kinds of shows would require immense effort to be installed in real life. The Internet therefore enables us to create more complex and diverse exhibitions on topics that are relevant and to display these shows throughout the world.

:DDDD: In the now digitalized society and Internet-based visual culture, how has the individual aesthetic experience towards art changed?

:Tina Sauerlaender/Peggy Schoenegge: With the increasing fusion of virtual and physical spaces, art is not only shown in traditional, “art-coined” places like museums, white cube galleries or art fairs. Art has also spread to websites, social media platforms or apps. It can be communicated directly to an audience by the artist. The audience then perceives art more directly in new spaces also serving other purposes, such as Instagram. “Art and daily life intertwin” is a common description for that phenomenon. It means that art actually reaches new target groups, but it also becomes less easy to distinguish art and other forms of visual expressions like selfies, for example. Many artists use selfies in their artistic practice and distribute these artworks just like other people post their selfies on Instagram. Aesthetically, both appear alike. The difference between an artwork and a common selfie then highly depends on defining it as such.

:DDDD: Do you think that it makes a new art scene?

:Tina Sauerlaender/Peggy Schoenegge: Yes. The art scene itself changes, for example it becomes more and more compartmentalized in different scenes. Yet visibility for each scene can be created directly via the internet. Further, new audiences can be reached via social media. New technologies like Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality create new opportunities to involve more people in art.

:DDDD: What are you now paying attention to in terms of the distribution of media art? What is the most interesting phenomenon to you?

:Tina Sauerlaender/Peggy Schoenegge: We do care about creating accessibility and visibility for digital art and for art that reflects on life in the digital age under social, political, post-colonial or media-related conditions on a global level. In particular, the medium of Virtual Reality offers new forms of distribution for digital art. Exhibitions can take place entirely in the virtual space where the viewers perceive the virtual realm just like a physical space. They feel the dimensions in relation to their own virtual body size. Similar to museums, the artifacts are visible but can’t be touched!

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