Analogue Web Portal

Analogue Web Portal Axisweb in crayon, drawn at the Analogue Web Portal

Alicia reports back from our recent event - Analogue Web Portal at Oriel Davies


I just have to follow-up on my last blog…I hope you all ran down to Real Institute’s Analogue Web Portal at Oriel Davies, like I told you you should. It was a really great piece of work by the collective. Enter a small lobby area created for the event and detail what you want off the web; then sit back, relax, listen to the best elevator music ever played and within about an hour you have your request returned in analogue form—drawn on a piece of paper.

My search for ‘spiders, poisonous, Australia’ returned on first go, a small selection of web sites to visit, neatly laid out with side-bar ads and other details. I had to resubmit my request to visit my chosen web site, then stroll around the gallery, have a cup of tea and return to see if I’d gotten more information. Indeed, a lovely drawing of the website’s page with ‘Outback Australia Travel Guide’ in big colourful letters across the top and a list of poisonous spiders. Again, I ‘clicked’ on the ‘Redback Spider’ and some 40 minutes later—another cup of tea, more time spent looking at the video works in Oriel Davies Open exhibition (great, by the way!)—and voila, the information I’d been desiring. Details on the spider delicately drawn in vivid detail. Yes, I’d been there nearly all day but so lovely to get something individual, idiosyncratic and hand-made from the web. A computer just can’t do that.

Drawing is tiring and drawing on demand stressful. There was a dial between the two request slots on the portal wall that reflected the level of output being demanded. Green—the artists are delivering in a timely manner; orange—the requests are coming in fast and there are too many to keep up with; red accompanied by bells and whistles—indicating extreme stress and untenable backlog with freezing likely. The project cleverly reminds us of some basic artistic tenets—art is work; art is communication, different in form from language and speech, even when it uses language and speech; and most importantly, art is real. Simple, smart and ever so much fun.

Another thing to have a look at (listen to me this time, if you missed Real Institute): Elysium Gallery in Swansea is launching Beep2012: Wales International Painting Prize (on until 11 August). There’s a good bit of ambition coming out of Swansea and Jonathan Powell of Elysium is one of the drivers. The show wants to bring ‘the best contemporary painting from across the globe’ to Wales and states that ‘Wales currently lacks a proper large scale exhibition dedicated to contemporary painting’ and Beep aims to change this.

Whether painting still warrants this focus and attention is an interesting question to debate. Artists are less and less painters, sculptors, photographers, filmmakers, etc. and more and more just artists, moving medium as appropriate to their ideas. Are mediums still important? Why? I’m not running painting down; in fact, it’s a remarkably active and vibrant area of contemporary practice, still relevant and meaningful in our 21st century world. I’m more interested in why we are still attached to the idea of distinct mediums and what particularities medium specificity brings to discussion of contemporary practice.

Anyway, that’s me. So go and have a look and tell me what you think!

Contributed by Alicia Miller
Alicia is the Axisweb Associate in Wales. She is based in Ceredigion and is currently working on a doctorate about the history of SPACE Studios in London.

Alicia Miller's staff profile on Axisweb