Last week, new media artists Sara Ludy and Emilie Gervais gave life to and animated #IRL, a web-based performance presented during London art fair, ART15. Curated by the London-based Valentina Fois, the collaborative project invited both artists to mix and intersect their practices for a unique kind of 3-days-long dialogue.
Generated by both IRL interactions and URL creative processes, hours after hours of evolving, browser-based conversation questioned the meeting point between the virtual and the physical, translated into a dynamic and constant flux of GIFs, videos, images, sound, sometimes using mainstream—but no less kickass—iconography and aesthetics the internet at-large seems to love. “Unicorns, ice cream, black internet, goth for life, lust for life, cursors, butterflies, vampires, power supplies, charge stations, rivers, clouds... everything happens #IRL,” Emilie Gervais was able to explain to the Creators Project, as the digital "happening" wasn't only presented online but also physically, allowing the fair's public to witness their online interactions in the flesh.
Beyond simply the creative aspect, #IRL explored and raised social contemporary questions that explored the modern means of communication. To help materialize these questions, a Twitter account allowed anyone to comment, take part in the discussion, interact with the piece, and influence (or not influence) its evolution as the artists generated their answers one after the other.
While cutting-edge digital practices are slowly gaining traction in the world of contemporary art and art fairs at large, the format of this "digital freestyle battle" was fully able to engage a bunch attendees at ART15. “We had many people stopping by and asking different questions. I love it, it's fascinating for me to see in how many different ways #IRL is perceived,” Fois told us. “I guess an art fair is an unusual context for a digital project—especially when this happens live on site and online. Therefore, some visitors were genuinely curious and wanted to learn more. I am happy with the outcome,” she concluded.
For those who weren't in London last week or decided to #logoff from the internet, here are some screenshots of the performance:
Click here to learn more about #IRL.