Today we live, work and eat on the internet. It is where we can easily reach a global networked community, and a place for artists to embed works in the ever-changing context of streaming images and open data sources. An online exhibition, also referred to as a virtual exhibition, online gallery or cyber-exhibition, has many benefits: it saves money, can attract a high amount of visitors, and redefines our conceptions of exhibiting art.
If you think that creating a cyber exhibition is only for the cool, young and geeky internet generation, you got it wrong. The earliest museum with an online exhibition was the Museum of the History of Science in Oxford in 1995, which basically appeared as a website with images.
You can do this too, and most probably even better.
There are only a few things you need to prepare before you can start sipping champagne in front of your computer screen. Let us take you through the vital steps of creating an online exhibition.
1. Understanding the market
Creating an online space as a ‘white cube gallery’ means testing new practices. Experiment with curation and stay up to date with the developments in the contemporary art market. Explore alternative modes for exhibition, collection, and appreciation of the art that comes to you through the internet. Distance yourself from the fictive and surreal aesthetics that are often the trademark of internet-based art. Strive to show a comprehensive vision of the present rather than defining contemporary artistic trends. Luckily you do not have to visit multiple art fairs, biennales and artist studios to discover new work. The worldwide web is right here with you while you sit comfortably in your chair, scrolling towards your own curated browser experience.
2. The infinite possibilities of coding
You don’t have to worry about odd angles, if pieces are hanging straight on the walls or if there is enough space to show the art. Instead you can use this time to learn how to code. Technology does not have to be intimidating; nobody was born knowing how to use it. Everybody learned it, and so can you.
Computer tools like ThreeFab and Github as well as applications like Blender and Cinema4D or the Unity game engine can help you to create a beautiful Disneyland-worthy cyberspace. If you are scared of everything that looks like math from first grade you can let Owlstand help you to build a simple but beautiful white cube online exhibition.
Think about how you are going to present the artworks. Imagine a space where EVERYTHING is possible. Push the limits of what can be created with digital technology. Create a theme park with props and spheres to convey various fantasy settings. Weave computer-generated objects of inter-dimensional entities and psychedelic realms. Use all the space you have but make sure your audience feels comfortable in your magic cyberspace. Distraction is around the corner with Facebook in a second tab. Keep their attention by creating a game and let your visitors decide how to play it.
Invite visitors from all over the world or keep it private and create an invitation with a simple password. To keep it in the spirit of exclusivity you could also choose to work with a strict duration of the show. For example, the online exhibitions at The Infinity Pool take place for just 31 days, and then all records are deleted. Don’t forget to take pictures – we mean ‘screenshots’ – to document your browsing experience.
4. Get to know your audience
Focus on creating a community rather than having a one-day exhibition opening. Provide a space where alternative modes of thought are supported and activated in tangible ways. Communicate with your audience through social platforms. Get to know your audience. I mean REALLY get to know them. Track your visitors. Be big data. The instant feedback systems that constitute online public space are beautiful ways of exploring new methods of exhibition. Make use of the advantages that the internet has in comparison to the offline world.
5. Think about the $$$$
One way to get the business started is to sell objects as tiff files. Collectors can receive a high-resolution TIFF file of the sculpture on USB, and are free to reproduce the object to their specifications. You can use PayPal as an electronic payment system or if you started with your tutorial about how to code, you could continue with a course about bitcoins. Bitcoin, the electronic currency, can help you to make it easier for your collectors to buy art. The system was created to reclaim aspects of the internet’s former ideals of autonomy – something that fits very well with the concept of art.
Be fanciful, illusory and dream along. Create a sublime experience inside your online exhibition rooms. The dimensions of your cyberspace are unlimited.
Header: Online Exhibition via Shutterstock