Moving Image Art Fair has been a focal point of contemporary noomedia for the past several years. Showcasing a wide range of international galleries and their artists we spoke to Moving Image Director (and Winkleman Gallery owner) Ed Winkleman about the role Moving Image plays in the wide scope of contemporary nooart.
»When did Moving Image launch?
Moving Image launched in March 2011. It began as an experiment in finding ways to resolve the challenges to presenting moving image-based artwork in the “art fair” context, and has evolved into an ongoing forum for presenting and discussing experimental film and video art.
»How has Moving Image changed over the past few years? Does the development of technologies like hi-res large format touch screens and “daytime” video projectors change the way in which the works are being presented? Has this affected the type of work being presented at Moving Image?
The relentless march of technology is undoubtedly changing Moving Image. It’s not only in ways that affect the presentation that visitors see (new HD monitors, new touch-screen and/or interactive installations), but also in both the way plug-and-play options for installing the exhibition grant us more flexibility and how platform and security advances are giving collectors more confidence and options for living with their art. When we began four years ago, more than half the exhibition was played from DVD players. Now a DVD player is extremely rare at the fair (having been replaced by USB drives, Mac Mini’s, or even cloud-hosted digital files). These changes haven’t altered too greatly the type of work being presented at Moving Image, as much as how easy it’s becoming to produce it (and own it). We install and de-install the fair in an amazingly short period of time (about 10 hours for set-up and three hours total for striking the fair). This is also part of our mission, though, to optimize the “pop up”-ability of the fair, so it can travel to other locations more easily. Moving Image art may have certain disadvantages in relationship to other art mediums, but its portability is a huge advantage, and we’re continually seeking ways to maximize that potential.
»From a collectors perspective there has long been a kind of hesitation with digital media installations. Is this changing? Are more serious collectors looking to noomedia artists?
Sales for moving image-based and indeed “noomedia” art are definitely on the rise. It’s still not as straightforward to sell as a painting, for example, because even as the technology gets simpler, there’s still a fair bit of discussion that needs to take place about individual works’ needs. But not only are auction prices for moving-image based art approaching that magical milestone of $1 million, but more and more “serious” collectors are recognizing how many contemporary artists (even those whose main practice may be in more traditional media) are incorporating moving images into their art. It’s simply how we’re communicating more and more, and so it’s natural that our visual art will use it more and more. If collectors want their collection to reflect the best of what’s being created today, they can’t afford to ignore moving image-based artwork.
»Last year there was a much talked about auction of digital art at Philips. Has the time finally come for tech-oriented art forms to reach mainstream audiences and collectors?
I’m not sure how to define a “mainstream” collector, but as for the general public, it’s not unusual for what’s considered “art” to lag a few decades behind what artists are doing. That said, I think everything in our lives is speeding up these days and so I’m hopeful mainstream audiences will come up to speed with artists working in tech-oriented ways more quickly. What I’m skeptical of though, are situations in which an audience (or even an artist) confuses an interesting use of the technology or a focus on the technology itself with “good” art. I’m a true believer that all technology constitutes tools only, and while in the hands of the right artist can lead to great art, it’s not art, per se, itself. Art requires an intention to communicate something that transcends the format and or medium. That caveat in place, yes, I do feel more collectors are opening up to the idea that a new generation of artists have embraced tech-oriented art, and the best collectors out there are paying more attention, precisely because the artists are.
»Do you think emerging technologies like augmented reality and immersive video (ala Oculus Rift) will change the way in which the moving image is experienced? Where do you see these platforms leading in terms of creative evolution?
Again, I think any technology has the potential to be used by an artist to create great art, but we see a great deal of early efforts in new mediums being a bit to navel-gazey or spectacle-based. That’s probably a natural part of the progression from new technology to trusty tool (and probably was part of every advance from the easel canvas up through the camera, so I’m not suggesting I don’t understand why it happens), but I think it’s always wise to assume emerging technologies in the hands of most people will not result in the most interesting of art. It’s the cosmic coincidence of the right artist and the right technology meeting at the right time that forges important advances and important art. All the rest of it is fun and possibly important, but it’s always, always how the technology/medium is understood and used that matters.
»Where do gaming platforms fit into all of this, or do they?
I feel they do, but I’m not well versed enough to say much more about them at this point. I’ll run off and do some research and get back to you on this at some later date :-)
»As a generation of young artists who have never known a world without computers/mobile devices/touch screens, etc come into the art world how do you think that will change the future of art?
How can it not? Certain materials serve as longer-lasting vessels for ideas and values, which is why oil paintings on canvas remain so popular and bronze sculptures continue to be made well past their novelty wore off, but that said, new ways of communicating and experiencing our world deeply affect what it means to be human now (which, in my opinion, is perhaps the single most serious thing art must communicate to posterity).
»In general, what forms of noomedia do you find truly exciting and groundbreaking? What do you think is on the horizon?
I’m intrigued with the potential of 4K video, for starters. The more definition artists can bring to their video, the more close-ups (which I’ve always been obsessed with personally) can reveal what’s always been right before our eyes, but unseen. I’m curious, if still skeptical, about emersive environments. Mostly skeptical because until they exist in ways that thoughtful experimentation (and failure) can be carried out with them over time, how will artists understand them well enough to not only fully grasp their metaphors but push them to communicate interesting and important things? It may not take as long as I’m suggesting, but I do cringe when I see some new technology’s “wow factor” blinding otherwise smart artists to the mediocrity of their creations with it. (Do you sense a trend in my answers here?)
On the horizon I think are molecular-level manipulations that may result in things that look, feel, taste, or sound like nothing we’ve ever imagined before. I expect artificial intelligence to make huge advances, and (as long suspected) to create its own art that isn’t at all designed to interest us. Art that comes in eye drops, perhaps. The possibilities are wide open. I’d limit my answer to moving-image based technologies, but I suspect these other things are coming much more quickly than most people expect, and moving images will be incorporated into them.
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