April 24, 2018

"The Virtual in Museums: Hot Medium?" Contemporary Art Society annual conference 2018

Contemporary Art Society

Larry Achiampong and David Blandy, Finding Fanon 2, 2015. UHD Digital video screenshot. Courtesy of Larry Achiampong and David Blandy.

Join us for the Contemporary Art Society’s 2018 annual conference, where we will explore the rapid development of digital imagery in the artistic realm and its representation in museums.

A key recent development is virtual reality, a computer generated environment that is both immersive and interactive, tied to its technology of a headset and screen. Using virtual reality—which is still a solipsistic experience at this stage—as the counterpoint to the shared experience of a museum visit, we hope to think critically and constructively about the term virtual in relation to institutions.

The media theorist Marshall McLuhan defined a "hot medium" as something that "engages the senses completely and requires minimal participation from the user.” We will question whether this definition applies to virtual reality and critically discuss how it is used both as a product and as an object in itself with artists, curators and specialists in the field.

Exploring the different possibilities of digital technology—from enhancement of collections to immersive environments—we hope to discuss the distinctions between what is real and what is artificial, expanding the notion of what the virtual can be.

A full programme for the day can be found here.

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