Inhabiting a space just off Broadway Market in Regent Studios, Space In Between shares its neighbourhood with other established galleries of the east-end, marking themselves part of the creative community thriving throughout Bethnal Green today. ‘Edit/Undo’ comes as the gallery’s most recent exhibition, widening the parameters of contemporary digital art and its immersive abilities to transform the mundane. In a world consumed by technology, artist Alastair Levy questions what life would be like if we were able to mentally command ‘Edit/Undo’ in real time, everyday moments.
The exhibition unravels as a minimalist display, with just four works occupying the space. First and most embracing is Leo Fitzmaurice’s immersive floor piece ‘Sh/ft’ (2015). This work establishes itself as the initial base for the exhibition, laid down as a foundation for the other artists to work with and around. It does so with fluid three-dimensionality, overlapping from floor to wall to create a type of virtual landscape viewers can physically step into.
‘Sh/ft’ effortlessly frames the surrounding artworks on display, including Alastair Levy’s glowing film ‘Protection’ (2014), a floating installation suspended from the ceiling. This work presents viewers with a semi-translucent blue-green object. After discussing the work further with the gallery’s co-director Laura McFarlane, the mechanical looking article is revealed to be a BMW airbag part, which has been photographed and overlaid several times lending the work an ephemeral quality. ‘Protection’ and ‘Sh/ft’ work within the space complementing one another, interweaving and uniting their shared narrative of the digital quotidian. Leading on from Levy’s installation, Fitzmaurice’s floor work draws viewers’ point of focus to Paul Flannery’s ‘Spectral Poem no.1’ – another work impeccably framed by ‘Sh/ft’.
Flannery’s spectrogram presents several different images converted into sound files, remade into rolling images which visually represent the work’s found variable sound. As a result the images are scratched and fragmented, focused through a circular composition which makes for an intensely concentrated image and sound piece. Juxtaposing this element of Flannery’s work is a star pattern laser projection which exposes illusive green and red light forms. Easily missed at first glance or forcing viewers to do a double-take,this element of ‘Spectral Poem no.1’ allows Flannery’s work to trickle across the gallery, moving away from its perhaps originally isolated corner. The illusive installation bounces between different surfaces throughout the space, once again offering viewers total immersion in an interactive, virtual setting.
Finally, artist Damon Zucconi works to dictate the gallery space through his 2-channel audio piece ‘Doppler Shifted Ringtones’ (2014). Controlling both sound and space, Zucconi’s installation is an uncanny regurgitation of commonplace, possibly dated digital sounds. These resonances come and go abruptly, as Zucconi’s enforced Doppler Effect functions to distort and fragment each noise. ‘Doppler Shifted Ringtones’ brings about sensations of nostalgia for the once heard, outdated digital age. The work shares its transient personality with that of Flannery’s laser projection piece, and operates in a way that dictates how viewers experience and understand each work on display in the exhibition.
Despite the exhibition’s minimalist approach and limited number of works, ‘Edit/Undo’ works elegantly in the space, perfectly occupying the gallery with a thoughtful and provocative display. The exhibition plays out a surreal experience which envisions viewers stepping into a digital, simulated reality formed through the carefully curated display of each artist’s work. Alongside ‘Edit/Undo’ curator Ellen Mara De Wachter has written an essay entitled ‘Some Past State’ which neatly explores the psychological ideas behind each of the artist’s creative drives. The publication accompanies the exhibition well, creating a lasting physical document which challenges the digital transience of each artwork.
‘Edit/Undo’ comes as a refreshingly relevant exhibition, particularly appropriate given the ways in which society and culture is so enmeshed in the digital. It is a must see.