Chair Person: Dew Harrison
Presenters: Paul Sermon, Ian Gwilt, Julie Penfold, Denise Doyle & Anita McKeown
On the threshold of crossing over being neither real nor virtual, an oscillation between two states of existence, online-offline, awake but dreaming in a sub-consciousness state, the bubble between starting and arriving, the in-between, a disappearance, the third space … Considering the diverse determinations as to what the liminal means in our digitally driven culture this panel asks ‘To what extent are artists digitally facilitating convivial spaces where participants can engagewith and co-create an art work?’. Six different approaches are displayed within the panel expertise to interrogate digitally facilitated liminality as either a transformative space of creative transcendence, or a convivial and social space where art can happen. Digital media and new technology is reconfiguring our relationship with the world and is also affecting how artists relate with their public. Now technologies can help to position art into the everyday of people’s lives and activities, outside the gallery space. Digitally enabled new spaces have opened up where artists can engage with audiences in a participatory experience. Within the cityscapes of our urban environments ‘Big brother’ media and cctv surveillance allow for few informal, ungoverned social meeting places so it is the creation of interstices between the formal constructed and observed social spaces that artists are interested in, where unorthodox art can happen and engage directly with its audience. Digital media provides such relational opportunities but as virtual platforms where accessing them means stepping from one world to the other, a conceptual moving from one state of being to another. Contra to human-to-avatar experience, virtual objects are transformed into a solid materiality by crossing this threshold. The threshold is then a magic alchemical space, an interstice between the real and the virtual, a moment of change, of becoming other. Artists continue to explore the notion of the ‘liminal’ that has arisen with the evolution of digital technology. Through this panel we hope to further interrogate current contemporary understandings of this amorphous state of presence by generating discussion and argument around its nature.
Questions to be raised:
- Does crossing the threshold from real to virtual spaces require a transformative object or is this a matter of reframing our conscious self-awareness?
- Can digitally enhanced material spaces allow a physical step through to an ‘other’ experience?
- How do we freeze the moment of such passing to acknowledge our changed state of conscious being?
- Is liminality a necessary and positive attribute to modern life in our technocratic culture?
- Dew Harrison is a Professor of Digital Media Art and Director of CADRE, the Centre for Art and Design Research And Experimentation at the University of Wolverhampton, UK, where she works as the Associate Dean for Research and Postgraduate Studies in the School of Art and Design. As a practising artist with a PhD from CAIIA (Centre for Advanced Inquiry in the Interactive Arts), her work continues to explore a theoretically informed computer-mediated approach to the territory between art, technology and consciousness studies in order to position a participatory concept-based art practice. This involves semantically associating ideas and concepts into non-linear multimedia form and digital outcomes have been shown both in the UK and internationally. She considers the dialogue between the virtual (digital) realm and the real world, as a semantic space for creative exploration. With over 50 publications to date, she is regularly invited to present at conferences concerning Consciousness Studies, Curation and Archiving, Digital Art, Art History, Interactive Gaming, and Museology. Her practice is often collaborative as exampled in her most recent installation work ‘Shift-Life’ where she worked with two programmers and an animator. This piece was commissioned by Shrewsbury Museum Services for the International Darwin Bicentenary, and funded by Arts Council England. pva.org.uk wlv.ac.uk/research/institutes-and-centres/cadre—centre-for-art-design-research-and-expe/