When something goes wrong we fix it or ignore it and move on. Thankfully, the new digital art biennale, The Wrong, embraces all that is beautiful and compelling about what we often consider to be a mistake or an error. The biennale is an online platform curated by 30 artists from all over the world showing works from more than 500 artists who embrace all that is sublime in glitch, glitch, malfunction and error.
“Untitled” by Vince McKelvie
The artists are organized into pavilions just like a traditional site-based biennale. Each pavilion is supervised by an artist-curator from one of the many participating institutions around the globe. A number of these institutions are located in South America such as NNM Studio (Lima), No Lugar (Quito), Hit The Dirt (Santiago), Espacio Tumba (Buenos Aires), Áncora (Valparaiso), and TAL (Rio de Janeiro). Though these and the other participating institutions have physical spaces, the biennale is viewed completely online at its web portal. Unlike the exclusive atmosphere that has risen around biennales lately, The Wrong prides itself on being accessible for free to anyone who would like to visit using their computer. The biennale is even open to submissions from artists around the world working in the field of internet art and it is possible to submit your own artwork to a place called the Homeostasis Lab within the biennale.
As a result of this egalitarian attitude, the quality of the art presented does vary significantly from simple digital glitch transforms that we are accustomed to from our own tumblr crawling to more conceptually-driven video works exploring the ideas of technology commodification and obsolescence. One of the most clearly conceived pavilions is the IMOCA pavilion curated by Michael Staniak. In it we find work by Berlin favorite and Future Gallery member Jaakko Pallasvuo. The works in this gallery playfully manipulates our notions of what online art is, or can be. The pavilion itself is laid out to imitate a generic white cube art institution down to the last detail of the gift shop. The work inside, however, is anything but generic and although mocking the gallery as an institution, the curator has carefully positioned each artwork within the virtual space to create a dialogue between the artists – something that has been difficult to achieve in Internet-based exhibitions to date.
“Artworks” by Jaakko Pallasvuo
A second pavillion, Plastic Yet Still In Between, takes a more provocative approach to address the problem of curating and exhibiting art online. Here, a simple 3D environment picks up on the resurgence of ’90s graphics to present an online environment that the user can easily navigate to explore the artworks exhibited. This approach bridges the conceptual divide between online and offline artwork by creating a total experience for the audience; just as any well-curated exhibition should do.
Clearly, this type of virtual project finds a large audience among the tumblr generation. The biennale itself is partnered with the iPhone app Glitché, designed to allow iPhone users to create their own glitch-based artworks similar to some of those created by artists participating in the biennale. Although there is nothing new about the idea of celebrating the glitch – media art pioneers since Nam June Paik have understood the inherent beauty rendered by technology behaving badly – The Wrong succeeds in bringing together a diverse group of Internet artists under one virtual roof in a relatively seamless space that is fun and easy to explore. There is something approachable and familiar about this type of art and as a result, It has attracted attention from an audience far beyond the relatively insular group of technology-based artists that regularly support these kind of events.
“Quarks” by Mila González
The trouble with net art is that it can linger on the web for ages unattended to and unloved, but The Wrong has solved this by limiting their engagement with the public to a specific period of time. The biennale was initially scheduled to run for a limited time until the end of 2013 but due to its popularity it has been extended until January 31st of 2014. See it now or miss out on getting it Wrong.
Visit The Wrong until January 31st, 2014