ERROR 404 is a fit description for the situation all art students have been facing. With no access to studio spaces and limited resources, current graduates, and particularly final year students, have been facing extreme difficulties. Applying to Art school comes with the promise of studio spaces, networking and access to resources; however, for many creatives who have moved to cities seeking these spaces and forking out personal resources of various forms, the pandemic has represented an extreme blow.
In response to the conditions enforced by the pandemic, ECA 2020 MAFA Students have created an immersive digital interface – Error 404. In lieu of ECA having restricted access-for a year this spring- this digital exhibition format has introduced a new way to display contemporary art amidst these challenges: an immense feat in regards to accessibility and engagement with audiences that have been shut out of art institutions. This online network has been able to support research, development, and creativity in these strange times. What is particularly impressive about this exhibition is its ability to support video works, prints, photography, and 3D models, not only in an immersive way, but in a way that supports the exhibiting of multiple mediums in the best light – traditionally a difficult thing to accomplish in the traditional white cube exhibition space.
Upon entering the exhibition, you are able to choose your avatar, (myself: blue-dragon001), which is then immediately placed into a virtual room. I was initially struck by the deceptive, seemingly 3D work by Hannah Grist – Dystopian Interior Landscapes, (January 2021, Hand Cut and Digital Collages). This work echoes other 3D work in the space, specifically Isabella Inskip’s Moon Face, (November 2020) which demonstrate how successful this digital exhibition is, through its accommodation of 3D Scanned Sculptures. Inskip’s artwork shows how artists are breaking the boundaries and overcoming the challenges that so many art institutions have faced with documentation using static, one dimensional websites. This format of exhibition sets a new precedent for the potential of interactive art.
The exhibition space shows an incredible ability to showcase 2D media too. For instance Mia Takemoto’s Third Space, 2020-21 (Gif; Triptych, tempera paintings on wood) is an animated Triptych, engaging painting integrated effortlessly into the digital platform. It is incredibly emotive, and the sobering colours and use of light seamlessly interact with the screen, entering the painting into a 3D virtual Space in a way traditional painting is unable to; this exemplifies the union of challenges posed by virtual art and their creative, innovative solutions.
This space showcases the endurance and creativity it takes to be imaginative in this period of time, especially after two national lockdowns. This exhibition offers escapism from common fears and from the ongoing crisis especially impacting the arts – to offer a glimpse of ‘normality’.
Access Space and Information at their Website https://mafineart22.wixsite.com/my-site/exhibition
Space curated by Mia Takemoto and Will Jack. Exhibition Team Included: Dani, Emma Fiona, Frances, Mia, Will and Rhiannon.
[Image Description: White pixelated background with a black pixelated block with white writing reading ERROR 404]
Image Courtesy MAFA 2022- Error 404 ExhibitionCatalogue