Online Show Spaces 3

Things are moving quickly with planning the virtual show. I sent Aristotle sketches, and as I did so it seemed to be that the work was being suffocated with the idea of placing it in a circumscribed virtual environment. This is the sort of thing I might do when preparing a site-specific proposal for a physical show.

Often, circumstances dictate that I keep preparations for a show as fluid as possible. That fluidity can be an important part of the curatorial process. The online environment is not the same as a physical one. To fix things is to diminish their potential in what could otherwise be an unbounded conceptual space, perhaps analogous to the mind’s eye.

I have been concerned that the work would be ‘coloured’ by fixing it in the virtual context built around it, and to an extent a priori when it need not be so. As I am referencing the work rather than representing it as it is, I feel more comfortable not ‘contaminating’ the viewer’s interpretation by something as non-existent as a non-existent scenario. As far as possible, I want the context to be coming from the work itself and not a stylistic construct.

Aristotle reminded everyone in the forum that less can be more. This aphorism works both ways, for him and myself. The last two sketches – chalk and pencil – showed the works delineated by the confines of architectural boundaries. Despite this, I had the sense that the objects themselves were floating in space. ‘These boundaries need not be there’, I thought. The boundary of the screen is enough of a disruption of reality.

I want the viewer to feel that they are moving in a metaphor for three-dimensional space as they encounter the works; floating together with the objects, the direct spatial relationship between the viewer and the object being reinforced. To this end, I have thought of designing a ‘virtual gallery’ in which only the works exist in a relationship with the viewer: space, or rather the sense of it, created by the illusion of linear perspective alone.

The physical show at Camberwell would have offered the visitor something concrete and real. The virtual show is conceptually a very different experience that cannot replace the physical one. This is something I want to take as an opportunity rather than a trade-off, physical shows can come later, but this involves someone who can do this work.

There is also a practical dimension to this approach. I do not yet know what I will be showing. To fix the content of the show at this stage is to negate the fluidity of the process. It makes things simpler for Aristotle and a straight forward placing of objects in ‘space’, transformed according to a linear perspective, I believe will help make the dialogue much simpler and the process more responsive: I can give more consideration to the placement of each work in relation to others and the overall sequencing of ideas unconstrained by architectural concerns. This gives the online show a raison d’etre in itself, not just as a substitute for the loss of the physical one.