Pink Twins Infinity, 2016 online artwork, accessible at arsplus.kiasma.fi/en/ Finnish National Gallery / Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma Commission

The Dance of the Digital

Gill Crabbe, FNG Research

As ARS17 gets underway at Helsinki’s Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, visitors will be able to view many of the artworks online from anywhere in the world. The show’s two curators, Marja Sakari and Arja Miller, discuss the implications of online art for museum professionals and its impact on collecting and conservation practices 

I am sitting in a glass-panelled office in the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, one of the Finnish National Gallery’s three art museums, in Helsinki, with two of the curators of its upcoming exhibition, ARS17. Over coffee, they show me an artwork that I can access on my smartphone by a Finnish artist duo, Pink Twins. The work, called Infinity, consists of an interactive sound platform, with a library of sound material that I can use to create mixes from four stereo tracks, manipulating them individually to alter the combinations and qualities of the sound. It includes instructions for use, as well as FAQs for ‘visitors’. Once I have created my unique piece of music, then I just save and download the mp3 version, and share in Facebook. Wow, I am an artist! Hello World!

One of the key developments in contemporary art practice this century has been the use of the internet and the possibilities for art-making it offers – like, for example, producing works online. Ever since the American art theorist Lucy Lippard predicted the dematerialisation of the art object in the late 1960s, the trajectory of conceptual art has left an indelible mark on art processes. Now that the millennial generation of digital natives is bringing these ever-evolving new media to the table, art museums and collectors are facing fresh challenges in finding ways not only to curate digital art, but also to collect it. With only a few museums supporting dedicated accessible online art archives – the Whitney Museum in New York being one of the pioneers in the field with its Artport website – Kiasma’s ‘ARS17 Hello World!’ is at the forefront of bringing online art into the fold.

Featured image: Pink Twins, Infinity, 2016, online artwork, accessible during ‘ARS17’ at arsplus.kiasma.fi/en/
Finnish National Gallery / Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma Commission

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ARS 17 Hello World!’ 31 March 2017 – 14 January, 2018, Museum of Contemporary Art
Kiasma, Finnish National Gallery, Helsinki; ‘ARS17+’, visit arsplus.kiasma.fi