This year I’ve been working on an exhibition together with Michael Borkowsky. We were looking for work inspired by computer games, and we decided to set up an open call for submissions. Through social media we appealed for venues, and that’s when Access Space approached us. At Access Space, people interested in art, design, computers, recycling, music, electronics, photography and more meet like-minded people, share and develop skills and work on creative, enterprising and technical projects, and so it seemed the perfect venue for our project. They provided us with flyers and have supported the project.
The open call was advertised in various ways, including through a.n Jobs and Opps, and received lots of submissions, so many that we had to turn around half of the artists who approached us down, many of whom we would love to have included. In fact, the exhibition attracted lots of attention, with many people interested in what we were up to.
As for actually curating the exhibition, we had already made a lot of decisions when deciding which work to short list, due to the restrictions of the exhibition space. This meant that we only had a few minor alterations to make when actually hanging, and everything ran very smoothly.
On the day of hanging, when we finally saw what the work that the artists had sent to us, we were blown away! Although we had seen photographs of the work it’s no substitute for the real thing, and the fantastic quality of everything we have in the exhibition is amazing.
I’ll admit that the idea of a computer games based exhibition is more Michael’s area of interest than mine, although I have always been a casual gamer (and a Nintendo girl). For me, the interest lay mainly in organising the exhibition and running a successful open call. My own piece of work is based on a game called Limbo, which I find stunningly beautiful. In keeping with my own artistic interests, Limbo appeals because of the obvious link with Limbo, or purgatory, in Catholic doctrine. Transposing figures from medieval artwork relating to purgatory, I placed them in the setting of Limbo the game. The piece consists of a glass frame in 3 sections (4 pieces of glass) with acrylic paint and cut tissue paper, to recreate the look of the game. My own work was always been a secondary issue for me however, with the exhibition planning taking priority.
The opening night was a great success, with many people coming to see the exhibition, beyond just those interested in art or games. Curious Machine provided us with some ambient Chip Tune music, and James Holden gave a reading of some poetry he had written especially for the exhibition.
We are really grateful to all of the artists who have sent work to be exhibited in the exhibition, and to everyone who submitted work. We are also grateful to Jake Harries and Access Space for their generosity and support, and to everyone else who has been involved and interested in what we have been up to.
We hope that this will be the first of many exhibitions based on the theme of computers and gaming, and we area already planning another exhibition with a bigger venue for some time next year. If you are interested, or would like to be kept up to date with what we are up to, please get in touch, or visit the website:
Personally, I am now looking at working on another open call, based on my own artistic interest in the sea, for some time next year, so I guess it’s time to start the process all over again.
PLAY! runs until 31st October at Access Space, Unit 1, AVEC Building, 3-7 Sidney Street, S1 4RG, Sheffield.