A World's Fair—for Digital Art—Opens Tonight
The concept of the digital gallery becomes a must-see event in Kadeem Fletcher's Digital Madrid.
Darun. Images courtesy the artists
A massive gathering of digital artists from all over the world is about to drop, transmuting the concept of the digital art gallery into an event in the style of the turn-of-the-century World's fair. Rather than, like your average social media curator, slowly trickling out a collection of curated artwork over time, Kadeem Fletcher takes a different approach: make an event out of it, just like a physical gallery opening would. He tried it out in 2014 with the inaugural Digital Madrid, his first virtual gallery opening, leading to a successful string of openings. Now, its fifth incarnation opens tonight, at 8 PM EST.
Originally a space for strictly computer generated images, Digital Madrid has grown to encompass photography, illustration, music, and clothing design. This edition is skewed towards computer art, but also features fashion editorials, architecture photography, and ink illustrations.
All these works are transient, viewable only until the next show goes live in a few months. As of this publication, the website is dominated by a countdown to tonight’s unveiling. While Fletcher plans to make the archives available in the future, the anticipation each event builds is central to the whole concept. He developed Digital Madrid while studying marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and in his strategic approach, it shows. “I have the foundation for delivering ideas and products, and I definitely use the skills that I've learned in school to better any creative situation I am in,” he tells The Creators Project.
As building suspense and anticipation is key, Fletcher has kept Digital Madrid Instagram account well-pruned, with artworks sparsely sprinkled throughout update-style posts. Low key is the vibe here—at least, until tonight.
The artists selected for each edition of Digital Madrid represent diverse backgrounds and styles. Fletcher digs up most of them through his personal network, also accepting submission from friends, but artists have been seeking him out since the first edition
When asked about the name, Fletcher reveals it's only tangentially related Spain, and is more a symbol of an internationality–also a reference to his brother's favorite soccer team. He chose Digital Madrid to lend the project a worldly atmosphere. He’s from Trinidad, and has lived in NYC since he emigrated as a 13-year-old. His global interests lead him to recruit from all over the world, although he doesn’t favor any single location. “Truthfully, the artists’ personal backgrounds don't play a role in the selection,” he says. “No matter what, talent shouldn't be ignored. So if I think they fit the mold of Digital Madrid, then I reach out to them.”
Although he sees the wealth of creativity physically accessible to him here in NYC, Fletcher wants to create a space that unlocks the globe. He’s not, however, completely indifferent: he hopes to see a Trinidadian artist on the roster in the future.
Check out more images from some of the artists that will appear in the show, below:
Digital Madrid goes live at 8 PM EST. Check it out here.