Alt-w: New Directions in Scottish Digital Culture (group show)
- Liz Shannon
- 4 September 2008
Alt-w funds artists whose work engages with new technologies and the worldwide web. Featuring artworks by practitioners funded over the last eight years, this exhibition should be an embarrassment of riches. Yet, with such a heavy reliance on new media and interactivity, the show disappoints as much as it excites.
A website designed to show examples of web-based work by numerous artists is projected in the first room, yet, on the day I visited, the site appeared to be inactive, while an attempt to view Beverley Hood's film 'Madame I', available as a free download onto your mobile phone via Bluetooth, was initially similarly frustrated.
Elsewhere, a digital 'fly past' of the first battleship to be sunk during World War II is technically interesting but not particularly affecting as an artwork, while, unless you're already familiar with the story of the demonic possession of Christian Shaw, Donna Leishman's slow-to-load animated website will be unable to enlighten you. Works such as these raise questions as to whether these ideas are best expressed via new technologies.
Ironically, the show's most interesting works are concerned with processes and devices considered obsolete in the age of new media. Nicky Bird's album constructed from old photographs bought on eBay melds old and new technologies into a sensitive, multi-layered work, while Zoë Irvine's use of re-spooled, found audio tape is similarly worth dwelling over, offering the visitor the chance to record their own tape from the selection of audio material provided by the artist.
CCA, Glasgow, until Sat 13 Sep