For the past five months, I worked with students on a research project for the extracurricular program of Minerva Art Academy called OffCourse. ‘Virtual Manifestations’ explored online exhibitions, platforms and presenting individual art and design works—this research project investigated the relationship between digital and material presences and ways of ‘distribution’. The participants followed their own research process that matched their practice and questions. For example, some of them investigated how they could translate their existing, physical, work into the virtual space. Others studied interactive platforms and the relationship with online audiences, built their own spaces or even learned how to (creative) code.
In addition to theory lessons and class discussions, the students looked extensively at examples and case studies, which formed their ideas and thoughts. The results were diverse, from artistic products, setting up ‘channels’ on platforms to more essay-like outcomes. Every student also wrote a reflection on their process.
A couple of conclusions are in order; we could say that the online medium can be both restrictive and can offer many new possibilities. Ultimately, it’s more about the experience than converting the physical to the online space—an adaptation from one space to the other simply doesn’t work. We have learned to let go of the known, physical world (with all the habits and expectations that go with it) and to concentrate on what the digital has to offer us. One of the challenges remains to find your audience. Like in the ‘real’ world, it is essential to know what and how you are exhibiting/presenting and why you are using a particular medium or technique. And it has turned out that all of these aspects require a lot of research and entail observing, learning, discussing, reflecting and trying out.
Participants: Maxime Bakker, Igor de Boer, Ayman Fayad, Aleksander Gajda, Krum Gyurov, Jens Huls, Eun Jin Jang, Eunchae Kim, Boukje Rekker, Julia Visser, and Nanda Reffiana.
Image: screenshot creative coding by Nanda Reffiana.