This year’s Brighton Digital Festival featured the arrival of a new art space; a virtual one. e-PERMANENT is the latest incarnation of Brighton’s Permanent Gallery.
From May 2003 until November 2011 Permanent hosted a series of multi-disciplinary exhibitions at its home at 20 Bedford Square. During its nine years it hosted work from photographers, therapy painters, story film makers (including Annis Joslin, Beltran Obregon, Ben Rivers and the late Jeff Keen) and graphic art collectives Le Gun and Neasdon Control Centre.
“Circumstances change and it was no longer viable to stay in a physical space,” says Permanent’s Director Laura Mousavi. “But being able to move onto a digital platform meant that we could continue supporting artists’ experiments.”
Still: Anamorvista by Constant Dullaart 2012
The gallery debuted in September with Anamorvista, a commission by internet artist Constant Dullaart. Anamorvista is a net artwork that toys with the layers that lie between yourself and what you see online. Dullaart applies code to a YouTube player to distort and tilt the video in response to your mouse’s movements, “subvert [ing] internet standards in order to make visible the structure of the web.”
Having launched with this commission, e-PERMANENT is now looking for artists to submit work for this new space. In its last year, Permanent gallery had hosted the Pavement Series, in which the gallery’s window was offered up to artists. e-PERMANENT virtualises that offer, presenting artists with a specific online context in which to deliver new work.
“The Pavement Series was an open submission,” says Cheryl Gallaway of the design practice hexaplex who build the space for e-PERMANENT. “We thought that this online exhibition space could function in the same way, inviting proposals. We are specifically asking artists to make work for viewing within an online space. So we’re not thinking about artists who are creating work for a gallery and then showing it online. We want artists to think about what they can do with this space.”
Mousavi and Gallaway are conscious that an online gallery space creates a new set of challenges. “It does really make you think about what context you’re providing for the artist. How are you platforming their work any differently from how they would be able to do themselves online?” says Mousavi.
“What e-PERMANENT can do,” says Gallaway, “is commission an artist to create a piece of work, give context to it and create dialogue around it.”
e-PERMANENT will also feature new writing on arts and e-culture alongside providing an archive of work presented at Permanent Gallery.