Virtual Galleries soft launched at TOAST, 6th floor of Federation House, on 3.5.14. Presented and curated by Ford Beaumont, a collective comprising of two third year Contemporary Art History students, Virtual Galleries aimed to pose the question of how art fits into the rapidly expanding digital age.
Invited artist James Stevens (3rd Year Interactive Arts) created a virtual gallery space in which art from emerging artists across the country was exhibited in a virtual reality. Digital prints suspended themselves on fictional walls, sculptures were erected on floors of the cloud, and the viewer was invited to join the experience through a point of view camera tour.
The exhibition posed questions surrounding the value of reproductions, archiving the digital and how all people, regardless of economic or geographic situations, can view art. Google maps now allows you to explore the Louvre and traverse through the Met, and the digital age offers solutions to those culturally curious without the budget to satiate their needs.
The modern world has provided us with the tools to change how people access and experience culture. Ford Beaumont aims to see how these tools can be used in order to benefit the art historical experience, through digital curatorial practice, to DIY approaches to educational literature, to panels and discussions held both in the classroom and on google hangouts. Archiving is no longer dusty bookshelves, but rather the documentation of experiments that exist outside of the academic journal.
Virtual Galleries is growing and will be shown as part of the Manchester After Hours programme, Thursday 15th May, at KONST:IG, an event hosted by Hyper Island.
It will also be shown at the Contemporary Art History Degree show, private view 13th June, public view 14th-25th June.