Reveal/Reset (2 stars)

This article is from 2009.


Ingenious web-based creations that sadly lack the ability to connect

Designed to support the development of creative applications that challenge the notions of what networked or web-based digital creativity can be, the Alt-W Fund has financed new artworks by nine Scottish-based artists. New media projects include FOUND’s ‘Cybraphon’, a musical robot whose performance responds to its current state of popularity on social networking sites, a networked installation by Ben Dembroski that does something or other with an open source computer code, and Sarah Kettley’s ‘Aeolia’, a series of woven pieces for the body that make use of prototype stretch sensors.

While Reveal/Reset presents works that display incredible ingenuity and fine technical craft, the most overwhelming effect of this group show is one of total alienation. Not one of these works speaks entirely for itself, each one requiring a lengthy explanation. Although assistants readily offer descriptions of the ways in which each web-connected or network-effected piece clunks into action, the nonsensical interpretation does little to demystify the gadgetry. The need for further elucidation surely at once undermines Alt-W’s attempts to counter preconceived notions of typically disengaged digital creativity.

Proffering immediacy with the viewer unmatched by the other works, the most successful piece is ~ in the fields’ ‘Floc: skein’. Their large glowing globe appears to house ethereal flocks of birds, and interaction with the work prompts philosophical parables to flicker upon its surface.

Wade through the disaffecting technological jargon and, admittedly, these pieces are rather fun. But you can’t help but feel that they would be better off in a more lucid museum-like setting, detached from the demands of a contemporary art space.

Inspace, New Media Scotland, 651 5661, until 5 Sep 2009 (not Mon & Tue), free.


  • 2 stars

Digital culture is pervasive and ever-evolving. The Alt-w Fund supports experimentation with new media, as both artistic subject and as creative tool. The focus for 2008/09 was to support projects which dynamically engage audiences beyond the traditional screen. The exhibition Reveal/Reset reflects our information-rich…

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