On presentation

Its been slowly dawning on me that a large portion of the work of an artist concerns presentation. I wonder if, perhaps, it is just as important to design the context within which an artwork is presented, as it is to design the artwork.

Lets say, for example, that one had come up with an algorithm to generate thousands of beautiful grid patterns. How should one present it? As prints in a gallery? Should one distil the thousands of grids down to just a dozen? Perhaps one print should contain multiple grids? Perhaps a video with the different grids morphing into each other? Perhaps one could launch 12 gallery openings at the same time, each with a different set of generated grid patterns.

Nicolai's Grid Index

Nicolai's Grid Index

Carsten Nicolai seems to have a knack for designing an artwork’s presentation.

One might present his “Grid Index” text as a resource for graphic designers. But I doubt that is what it is. It is a simple artwork presented very cleverly. Patterns are revealed sequentially, or semi-randomnly depending on book-thumbing skills, at the viewers leisure. Repeated readings may reveal different combinations of patterns, drawing different inspirations. It is an algorithmic work (or seemingly so) whose author has identified a very suitable consumption format … the ‘coffee-table book’ format. Sit down and have a flick through… its a beautiful book.

An other solution to the presentation of algorithmic works is presented by the Creative Applications Network site. They’ve taken Carsten Nicolai’s concept one step further. They re-run their algorithms for every single book published. In other words, every book is different as a set of images, yet identical in algorithm. Very clever. It nails one of the key characteristics of generative art; infinite variations, whilst at the same time offering entirely unique artworks for each publication.

This makes me think about presentation for spatial audio works. The typical concert format is very poor, so for a start there are technical restrictions to control. But what other aspects of the context can I design to bolster the experience?

… is there something inherent to the experience of spatial audio that could suggest exactly which environment it is best presented in?

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