Written for Bending Light, exploring the space between online and offline exhibition spaces.
The image. The moving image. This GIF. This GIF on your phone. On your ipad. In your dreams. A virtual experience is always a real experience.
A screenshot of a photograph of a shop window full of laptops and tablets all displaying screenshots of shop windows full of laptops and tablets displaying screenshots of screenshots of screenshots.
A printout of that screenshot. A real-time walk-through in real-time life looking at real-time images that come away from the walls and perform to your commands.
A virtual walk-through of a gallery displaying gilt-framed old masters on white walls under vaulted ceilings over parquet flooring.
The image is static and moving all at once. It rotates, appears to approach the camera, and dissolves into a mist of tiny images of a beach somewhere. On another beach somewhere else a couple walk together, holding hands, holding phones. Scrolling alone together on a beach somewhere.
The image is no longer static. It rotates and the whole world stops to watch itself.
For about a second.
A printed screenshot of a photograph of a painting.
A thousand pin-pricks of light coming together for an instant, parting into ten thousand new pin-pricks, each one bent on the path of least resistance.
When did you last see an image of an artwork online that it would have been impossible to create in the physical world?
Or an offline work that you couldn’t have viewed on a screen from the comfort of your own home?
In a world where everything is available instantly and simultaneously, where can you find invention, newness, creation, and medium-specific content?
A newspaper on a mobile phone, a phone call made from a laptop, a word document edited via speech-recognition, a book without pages.
The Mona Lisa was always a virtual experience anyway.
When he was a little boy he had a toy car that he took with him everywhere. When he left home he put that car in a box which he carried with him for the rest of his life. He was looking after it on behalf of that little boy; its presence kept alive the possibility that one day he might see him again.