Saturday, November 23, 2013


After 18 months of preparation the inaugural The Wrong New Digital Art Biennale has been launched. Based out of Spain and Brazil, it is the first of its kind in the world to feature hundreds of digital artworks purely online. A collection of over 30 international pavilions, projects and events headed by curators from all around the globe, will be open to visitors for the next two months.

As part of this Biennale, Melbourne based artist Michael Staniak has been invited to curate one of ten international embassies to host offline projects. Michael has developed a project entitled IRL which has involved setting up a residency for four artists at Paradise Hills in Melbourne.

Participating in this residency are 4 Australian artists. The work made will investigate the recycling of found objects in the real world and found images online in order to recontextualize their meaning and uses. The residency, although resulting in mostly analogue works in a tangible gallery space, will be followed closely through an online format of social media discussion and blogging. In the social media world, IRL stands for “in real life”, where there is a distinct separation between what happens on and offline. IRL looks at how the work and discussions will be altered when uploaded to the Internet and whether or not face-to-face participation is at all necessary in the process of understanding the evolution of a body of work.

In addition to the IRL project, Michael has also curated iMOCA - one of the Wrong Biennale's online pavilions showcasing nine international artists working mostly via digital media:

"Commercial, institutional, profiteering, tacky, showboating, hype - these are all tags that have latched on to the character of the museum in recent times. The cafes, bars and gift shops are an unavoidable, not-so-subtle stop on the museum tour. The buildings are becoming more monumental, the shows heaving a bloated sense of grandeur. The museum constantly battles for attention in the public sphere, as do the artworks that adorn its walls.

So what is iMOCA? It is not trying to be an international mega museum. It is not trying to be a source of spectacle. It is simply an online space that offers nine international artists working through digital media to display their latest creations on the medium which the work was intended - the Internet. The site is not littered with incomprehensible jargon adding narrative where there may be none. It offers no dates and titles and context. It just features still or moving images that exist online, no distractions, no flashing lights, free for contemplation. Even the homepage pseudo floor plan offers simple navigation, something a maze of a contemporary museum does not.

But one thing a modern museum must shamelessly offer an audience is the opportunity to commodify the gallery experience. After all, the Internet is the primary international place of trade. Therefor it is only fitting that an online museum enter into that tradition. iMOCA allows the visitor to experience instant trading of digital files first hand and come away with a souvenir image of an object.

It is now up to the audience to decide. Will their experience visiting this online museum be a fond memory of viewing original works of the artists, or will it be a souvenir download that will forever stay on the hard-drive or be neatly printed and placed into a nice A4 frame? VISA, Mastercard and Paypal are accepted." (Michael Staniak, 2013)

Take the time to visit the iMOCA website and browse through the works of the talented featured artists. For further information on these projects see Nicholas Forrest's article for Blouin Artinfo here.

Michael Staniak is the Director of Paradise Hills in Melbourne and is represented by Artereal Gallery, Sydney. He will be showing new works at Artereal in June 2014.

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