As of 2018 Instagram hosts over 1 billion users worldwide, and is projected to grow even more over the course of this year. Alongside the platform’s exponential rise, the art world has drastically altered their social and cultural norms, arguably in favor of tailoring to social media’s new standards. From the rise of pop-up immersive experiences to shifting rules in museums and galleries, the way we experience art is undergoing a radical transformation. As with any new medium, Instagram offers both new points of accessibility as well as new limitations. What critics are still grappling to understand is whether or not these recent benefits outweigh emerging constraints.
As pieces that are tailored for Instagram continue to develop, many artists feel empowered to explore new conceptual work, particularly from a technological standpoint. Projection mapping for example, is expected to become a $6.4 billion dollar industry by 2026 and has been tagged in over 150 thousand posts. Experiential, virtual reality, and immersive spaces are becoming progressively popular as well, giving observers the ability to now participate in the art presented to them. In fact, brands are slowly moving away from traditional marketing tactics, and instead opting to collaborate with artists to create immersive events (such as Casper’s dreamery). Now, 3D animation seems to find a perfect medium through Instagram (with some artists boasting millions of followers) and their posts find a home at the top of user’s IG explore page.
While these trends provide exciting opportunities, they may also present themselves as obstacles to artists whose works are not compatible with instagrams norms. Additionally, artists who do have a prominent following have found the channel to be time-consuming and even detrimental to their creativity. In a recent Vulture article discussing the breakdown of artists and their platforms, creator Brad Phillips noted that people have paid more attention to his account rather than his art. Beyond creative constraints for artists, observers are also experiencing artwork differently. Thoughtful experiences are now being dismissed, replaced with the desire to get a “perfect” photo (sometimes at the cost of destroying hundreds and thousands of dollars worth of artwork).
It’s no secret that Instagram has become foundational for much of today’s artwork. Many artists are now empowered to share work that happens to be highly compatible with this new platform. Further, it is a resource for many users who are not able to go to galleries or museums, making art more accessible than ever before. However, critics agree that engagement on this medium is not necessarily the best metric to measure an artists’ success. Algorithms and subtle censorship can prevent artists who do not comply with Instagram’s norms to be excluded from artistic discourse. While the platform presents itself as a vehicle for artists and observers alike, we should be wary of making it the most prominent artistic platform.
At Lightbox, we’re all about immersive art, especially when it comes to playing with light. Despite the cold temperatures, 2019 has already offered us with some incredible exhibitions that are well worth a trek. We’ve scoped out what we think are the coolest immersive shows going on right now: they’re playful, thoughtful, and eye-catching (and in the case of #2, may be in the middle of your commute)! Check out what’s lighting up NYC:
Marianne Boesky Gallery
Curated by Lisa Freiman
In his first solo exhibition, Atlanta-based artist Paul Stephen Benjamin explores the linguistic, conceptual, and cultural constructs of the word “black”. The exhibition includes Benjamin’s paintings, photographs, sculptures, and single/multichannel installations. The show also features a black light installation as a passageway between two spaces.
Created by ATOMIC3 & Appareil Architecture, in collaboration with Jean-Sebastien Cote and Philippe Jean
Unveiled by the Garment District Alliance, this interactive sculpture follows the life cycle of an iceberg. Sound and light travel through the metal arches as you walk through this whimsical and thoughtful piece about climate change.
The Rubin Museum
The Rubin Museum declared that their theme for 2019 is Power. In the lobby of the Rubin is an interactive wheel where visitors enter their intentions, which then travel up an illuminated spiral staircase that displays all of the entries. Appropriately, the theme of this specific piece is to highlight the power of intention.
Whitney Museum of American Art
Organized by Christiane Paul, Carol Mancusi-Ungaro, Melva Bucksbaum with Clémence White
Programmed features over 50 years of video, conceptual and computational art. While the art was created by code, it also addresses the programming within the creations. This immersive exhibit explores both artistic response and contribution to programming technology.
The New York Hall of Science (NYSCI)
528 25-foot length pieces of pink and orange flagging tape hang into the main lobby of NYSCI. Esterle’s work moves and shifts, allowing viewers to see different shapes and color patterns as the day progresses. Impressively, Scattered Light uses paper clips and metal rods to create an inexpensive but arresting piece.
In 2019, Lightbox Labs launched its first ever Decode Experiential event, developed by Ligthbox’s CEO, Daphne Jouanneteau and Jess Conatser, founder of Studio As We Are. We spoke with 3D animator Hayden Zezula, photographer and director Sam Shannon, and Tumblr’s head of fashion and culture, Valentine Uhovski about what it means to create and support authentic art in the hyper-connected age of social media and experiential branding. While brands are generally focused on creating content that will fare well with social media followers, each of our panelists expressed that their success relies on staying true to their own unique vision. Zezula’s animations and Shannon’s films were displayed on our 360 projector as the panelists discussed their past experience with experiential branding, and what’s next for them.
“[…] brands should pay attention to DECODE EXPERIENTIAL in order to shift the conversation around experiential events while discovering artists designing creative spaces people will actually want to interact with.” — A Hotel Life
Last year, we got to see some developments in the contemporary art world. From groundbreaking experiential art exhibitions to thought-provoking audio-visual showcases, there’s a lot to be excited about for the year ahead. Here are our 5 favorite art moments from 2018:
From Austin TX, artist Hayden Zezula (known on instagram as “Zolloc”) showcases fascinating animations. Pairing a bright, pastel palette with soothing textures and movement, Zezula creates mesmerizing video animations shared through his social media. Look out for Zezula at Lightbox, who will be talking to us about his work at our Decode Experiential event on January 14th.
2) TeamLab Borderless Exhibition
With over 1 million visitors within the first 5 months of opening, the MORI Building Digital Art Museum’s collaborative museum in Tokyo displays stunning immersive projections. The different artworks combine to create “one borderless world”. From glittering strings of lights to flowing neon projections, TeamLab has continued to attract A-List visitors including Bella Hadid, The Weekend and Sam Smith.
Opened in June of 2018, Paris’s first digital museum featured Viennese art projected throughout their 3,300 metre surface area. Displaying works from artist such as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Friedrich Stowasser, the museum pairs the projections with classical music from Wagner, Chopin and Beethoven to create the ultimate multisensory experience.
In 2018, all of the artists featured in Britain’s Turner Prize Show worked with a digital art medium. Tackling societal issues such as human rights, decolonization, queer identity and social inequality through film, the Turner presented a thought-provoking digital showcase. Digital artists include Forensic Architecture, Naeem Mohaiemen, Luke Willis Thompson, and Charlotte Prodger (winner).
Kode9 and artist Lawrence Lek debuted their immersive art experience Nøtel that tackles the future of artificial intelligence. London visitors were placed in the multisensory dystopian environment that explored themes of humanity, capitalism and virtual reality.
Good Omens with spooky eyes, neon lights, 3D mapping, and beyond… We love it when creatives make it to our #LightboxNYC space. Scroll through to discover our favorite snaps from November taken by our community.
What happens when you country hop for 10 years straight to make the world a better place? CARE & Cargill stopped by our space to share their stories from around the world in celebration of their long term partnership where they exist globally and impact locally. Thanks to our HD projection mapping technology and other customizable digital features, guests were immersed in an audio and visual experience that had us traveling to far off places without having to pack a suitcase. Scroll through to see what you missed.
Our friends at Mashable & IGN stopped by our #LightboxNYC space to co-host a celebration of the brand new Amazon Prime TV series, “Good Omens“. Drawing from the premise of the brand new series in which an angel and a demon must join forces to find a way to save the world, our space was transformed into heaven and hell.
The upstairs became a fiery inferno and the downstairs an angelic space of peace where event goers got to flit in between to experience the juxtaposition of worlds colliding as well as celebrate the series in one go. Scroll through to see what you missed and check out the article by Mashable for more.
Meet CHiKA, a Japanese-born, New York based artist and New Media Resident at Mana Contemporary known for her LED lights, live video projections, and interactive works. Exhibited at numerous international venues and festivals, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Art and Design and more, CHiKA’s take on the experiential art space stands out amongst the masses making her minimalist geometric pieces love at first light.
We recently sat down with the artist to discuss her take on art and technology, invisible and visible lights, her newest residency with Future Lab at New York’s School of Visual Arts, and and her upcoming CultureHub LED Mappathon™ workshop. Read on to see why CHiKA is one to watch.
Lightbox: We like what you do. Tell us a little bit about your work and how you create it…
CHiKA: I play with Japanese homophones as a concept. Words have the same pronunciation but different meanings. For example, “EN” at the Bronx Museum means Circle ( 円 ), Connection ( 縁 ), and Feast ( 宴 ). “SEI05” at The New York Hall of Science means Star ( 星 ), Silent ( 静 ), Live ( 生 ).
All these meanings are hidden in the title of my artwork and help create a structure that gives meaning for co-creation with the public using the latest technology.
After coming up with a concept, I make a little goal and keep on creating and testing until just before the show starts. I love to find solutions and challenge.
L: What inspires your artistry?
C: I’m inspired by the invisible and visible, lights, shapes, sound in darkness, and co-creation with my public.
L: Did you always know you wanted to be an artist?
C: Yes, I always want to be an artist.
L: What comes first? Art or technology?
C: I do not think of art and technology separately. I process my creation with art and tech together. No separation. Technology helps to reveal invisibility with the audience, which excites me very much.
L: So what’s next?
C: I am very excited to be in the Future Lab Residency program at the School of Visual Arts in New York City next January. I will be researching and making new ways to fabricate my artwork. I also want a challenge to create installations without a computer. Simple on-and-off analog light work with new fabrication structures, prints, and video work.
I am also a founder of Mappathon™ and my LED Mappathon™ workshop at CultureHub is coming up on November 17th-18th. Students will learn basic knowledge of Projection Mapping technology to map Digital LED lights. Find out more information about the upcoming workshop here.
Like what you see? Follow the artist on instagram @_imagima.
SkinMedica stopped by Lightbox for the launch of their very latest day & night moisturizer, LUMIVIVE. To celebrate the special day, a number of influencers were invited into the space to get an exclusive look at the product’s atmospheric skin protection. After a welcoming speech, guests were then escorted to another room to experience a guided meditation for a mentally cleansing state of bliss ✨