Is digital art the next avant-garde movement in the history of art, architecture, and design?
At recent festivals like Frieze and Art Basel, digital and new media artists have become the center of attention. Many contemporary artists and designers see the computer as an artistic tool. New software has transformed traditional mediums like painting, drawing, and sculpture as new forms such as virtual reality, digital installations, and projection mapping gain acceptance.
Not only artists are becoming more comfortable with technology — the emergence of platforms like Artsy, Artspace, and Paddle8 suggests that viewers are adjusting to observing artworks on a screen, as well. Museums and galleries are following suit, building new exhibition spaces suited to digital art installations and projections.
Digital art installations offer new opportunities for viewers to actively participate in the artwork. Artists and designers have the opportunity to play with the “real-virtual” boundary between the viewer, or “user,” and the digital dimension. Touch, physical participation, and social interaction become essential qualities. The “Behaviours of Light” and “Plane White” installations listed below allow users to literally feel their way around the design script and form their own experience. Take a look at the mind-bending installations and beautiful spaces listed below that celebrate the creative possibilities afforded by new technologies:
Canadian architecture firm JNZNBRK has transformed an entire gallery space with their temporary installation “Behaviours of Light.” The designers carefully placed 39 acrylic triangles, each treated with a semi-reflective film, at a specific height to create a reflection. The installation pushes the viewer to rethink the gallery environment; the walls of the room don’t only create a space for the work, but are an essential part of its display.
The “Plane White” installation is interactive digital experience for Kandinsky’s famed painting “Composition VIII.” Kandinsky himself was a synesthete, meaning he lived with a psychological condition that made him “hear colors”; he associated each shade with a specific musical note, making a entire artwork signify a finished song. Like Kandinsky, these digital artists experience art in a non-traditional, multi-sensory way by blurring the line between the visitor and the digital dimension. The artwork feels tangible to the viewer as they go through the motions recreating Kandinsky’s images on the wall.
Located in New York’s Chelsea art gallery district, Bryce Wolkowitz gallery specializes in digital and new media art. The high ceilings and monumental skylights create optimal viewing space for digital artworks. Many pioneers in digital and new media art have exhibited here, including Jim Campbell, Edward Burtynsky, and Ben Rubin.
Microsoft’s sleek Swiss headquarters was designed with impressive digital projections in mind. A central black glass wall allows employees to give presentations using Microsoft’s web tools. The office itself is decorated in black and white to make colorful projections stand out in the space.
The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision celebrates Dutch contributions and progress in radio and television from traditional media to digital developments. The facility includes an enormous national archive, a television and radio exhibition center for the public, and research institute for academics and professionals in the communications industry. The glass façade design was inspired by television images placed on high-colored relief glass panels.
Set in a former film studio, the Shanghai Film Museum includes over 70 interactive digital installations designed to educate viewers on Shanghai’s local media industry. Visitors can digitally dub classic films in a sound studio, walk through a lifelike film set, or feel like a star on a virtual red carpet complete with admiring fans and photographers.
Like the Chinese museum above, New York’s Museum of the Moving Image is located in a former film production studio. Its exhibitions and programming celebrate the history and technology of the film industry, with a focus on modern digital culture. Digital art projections, as well as interactive installations, are stationed throughout the museum’s exhibition spaces, large theater, and café.
Want to create a digital projection installation in your space? Glow Walls allow you to project your own images onto the surface of your choice.