Saturday, December 22, 2007

The problems with physical space

We've had two meet and greets with prospective Babelswarm hosts so far. While ACMI were initially enthusiastic, the timing didn't fit with their schedule. Same for (an unnamed contemporary art institution), although it seemed their understanding of art created in virtual environments was somewhat uninformed, patronising and dismissive. They were interested in running a mediated forum on the legal and cultural debates surrounding virtual art, although I believe these debates have already been successfully addressed in academia and the (virtual) public realm. The "unnamed" did have valid observations regarding OzCo's framework, including the need for a physical space to exhibit Babelswarm. This is something we're still debating the merits of - why does virtual art need a real world interface?


Charlotte Dalglish said...

My thoughts on why Virtual Art needs a Real World interface:

Look I just think there is some merit of real world interface in terms of educating the general public about anything to do with art and its ability to transcend the mundane, expected or even regulation 'commercial' art platforms.

Not only is this an essential and needed aspect for any art installation, but to view the BabelSwarm project from the angle of a virtual observer (who might then enhance or develop an existing art interest) provides a more complete and rounded experience for an observer when experiencing the installation as real world art.

Of course being a Second Lifer and Melbournite I am lucky to be able to embrace both mediums when they are ready. But that is not to diminish the responsibility of any art gallery which can see the vision in this installation. Perhaps the challenge is to shake up the Melbourne establishment a bit by sourcing galleries interstate that might better understand the real world aspect and groundbreaking nature of this project.

christo said...

Thanks for your insightful comments Charlotte. Going interstate is exactly what we did, and it paid-off. The Lismore Regional Gallery not only showed foresight, but gained a broadband connection as part of their offering. We're hoping to extend this possibility to other regional galleries by taking Babelswarm 2.0 on an extended tour.

Iain said...

I would add two things:

1) An established physical art space lends the piece "authority" as an art work (which I think makes the exhibitors more comfortable with the idea of virtual art) Also, they want to attract traffic to their "site" as much as you do.

2) Second Life is a technological mediated venue. It's not that everyone doesn't have access to a computer (though everyone doesn't have access to a computer) it's more that moving an avatar through Second Life is more complicated than physically exploring an installation and would be outside of most art patrons experience (all the more reason to encourage virtual installations of course.)

Your voice interface (as described in the SMH) in the gallery seems an effective compromise in allowing RL patrons an entry into a simulated environment without making it overwhelming.

Good luck with the installation and I look forward to seeing it in Second Life.

Thaumata said...

Does it NEED it? No.

Does it DESERVE it? Absolutely.

christo said...

Thanks again for your commentary. The physical installation has indeed "legitimised" the virtual installation to an audience non-versed in this type of art. It's also presented an interesting interface for SLers to speak with visitors in Lismore, and we've had excellent feedback from a couple of people about how cool an experience this was.

We're keen to extend this cross-world experience with another real-world exhibition in Melbourne (our hometown) or Sydney.