New York Digital Salon

Timothy Binkley, Chair

The New York Digital Salon has been organized in an effort to establish a regular venue for the exhibition of computer art in New York City. The computer has already had a profound impact on television, cinema, and graphic design. Photography is currently being transformed from an art form based on chemistry to one based on computation. The new arena of interactive multimedia is burgeoning as telephone and cable companies merge to create high bandwidth networks that will deliver interactive services to the home. All this activity signals a fundamental paradigm shift in human communication. The conduits of culture are migrating from passive analog media broadcast out of competitive centers of power to interactive digital media globally networked to a collaborative population.

Computers offer all artists radically new ways of creating and exhibiting their work, and the resources of digital technology have only begun to be tapped. In establishing the New York Digital Salon, we hope to foster experimentation and exploration on the digital frontier by providing a forum for the exhibition and discussion of the new work. It is our hope to contribute to humane and innovative applications of the technology.

This inaugural exhibition has the added distinction of being curated on the computer. A virtual counterpart to the real gallery was modeled using readily available software and hardware. Works selected by the “blind” jury were then scanned into the computer. This allowed much of the curatorial work to be accomplished quickly and easily. By placing and adjusting works in a virtual gallery, the curator is able to try out various hanging arrangements without hefting physical objects. Different alternatives are rendered on the computer screen to preview how they would look in the gallery. Our experiment may inspire museums and galleries to investigate prospects for computer-aided curation in their own venues. It also raises profound questions about how best to exhibit and view work created in a digital environment. This is one of the major challenges facing artists and audiences alike in a society whose fabric is interwoven with computer and telecommunication technologies.