Electric Objects at Gray Area // URL Meets IRL

Electric Objects in the New York Times

The New York Times did a nice write up on EO in yesterday’s Sunday paper, which is worth reading to get a sense of their objectives

This coming weekend, I’m working with the fantastic folks from Electric Objects to coordinate a Pop Up Showroom at Gray Area’s new Art + Technology theater in the Mission. A New York-based startup taking Kickstarter by storm, the Electric Objects team has big plans to to bring the beauty of the Internet into your home through the E01, a framed high-definition screen and integrated computer that hangs on your wall. One extra reason to get pumped: Zoë Salditch (formerly of Rhizome and Eyebeam) is their artist relations manager/curator, and she has excellent taste. In the art and technology startup realm, I’m always most excited when I see a company that understands the importance of a curator’s/artist’s perspective and influence from the very beginning.

The Electric Objects SF Pop Up Showroom will kick off on Friday night during their SF Launch Party, and will extend into the weekend with open hours from 12-6pm. In addition, I am programming a couple of events that I’m quite excited about. Read on, and join me for one or both of the following:

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On Saturday evening, I’ll be moderating URL Meets IRL, a discussion diving into ideas of art making, viewing, and collecting in the digital age.

“There’s more art on the Internet than in every gallery and museum on Earth,” says the team at Electric Objects. But is computer art stuck in limbo between the fine art world and the fast pace of culture online? URL Meets IRL will dive into big ideas surrounding the future of creativity on the Internet, and the questions that loom as we seek out better tools for the art and artists of the digital age.

FEATURED PARTICIPANTS:

  • Ben Valentine works for The Civic Beat, and has written and spoken about art and technology for SXSW, Salon, Hyperallergic, YBCA, & VICE to name a few.
  • Cortney Cassidy is a visual designer and artist in Oakland, and is a founder of CCOOLL, a collaborative project with a community of internet friends.
  • Keir Winesmith is the inaugural Head of Digital at SFMOMA with previous lives including public broadcasting in Australia, and interactive art projects in Europe.
  • Min Liu is an entrepreneur whose goal is to enrich people’s lives by deepening their understanding of art and bringing more art to the home.
  • Zoë Salditch oversees all things art and community at Electric Objects. Previously at Rhizome & Eyebeam, she only thinks about art & tech.

QUESTIONS WE’LL CONSIDER:

  • How do we currently define and embrace digital art, and how will this change in the future? Will modes of making, viewing and collecting digital art conform to fit in with the existing art market, or is a new system necessary?
  • Does the “persistence” of an artwork increase its ability to have an impact? Digital art relies on hardware and software to be displayed – what does persistence look like when an artwork must be turned “on” in order to be viewed?
  • How does the context of the Internet inform digital art, and what happens when that context is stripped away? What about the opposite, when object-based works of art (i.e. painting, sculpture, paper-based works, etc) are thrust into the digital realm?
  • The Internet is bringing visual culture to more people than ever before, and there’s no doubt that tools for creating and sharing artwork are allowing more people to explore their own creativity and taste in exciting ways. With the popularization of art, does the established art world have a responsibility? How do curators, designers, and institutions fit into this picture? Is it time to wage a war to keep context alive?
  • If you have questions you’d like to hear discussed, please leave a comment below!

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On Sunday, Artist Demo Day will offer you the chance to see your artwork displayed on the EO1.

On Sunday, I’ll be on site with the Electric Objects team from 12pm-6pm. Artists are invited to swing by and try displaying their work on the prototype of EO’s framed high-definition screen. And, if you’re not in the area, you can submit your work to the EO Tumblr or tweet me a link and we’ll display it on the EO1, then tweet you back a photo (or video if your work involves movement). It’s a pop-up exhibition in the Pop Up Showroom!

 

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One extra BONUS of my work with Electric Objects is the location – Gray Area’s new Art + Technology theater, which is still under construction but is getting very close to opening. They’re now accepting applications for their new cultural incubator program – any artists, technologists, writers, or curators looking for a place to connect with others innovating in the art + tech realm should absolutely apply.

A photo I snapped on a site visit to Gray Area’s lobby, where they’ve restored the amazing art-deco style floor from the original theater:

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

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POST-EVENT RECAP:

If you missed the URL Meets IRL discussion, check out the (iPhone, guerilla-style) video we captured, and the archive of the Twitter conversation on Storify (thanks to Post Meridiem for being the featured live tweeter!).

 

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