About The Exhibition

Links in blue will open the glossary, in a new window.

Welcome to CrossTalk: Speech Acts & Interference in Networked Art
an experimental virtual exhibition designed to create greater social interaction around networked art.

On the homepage, the right-hand frame (which you're reading this text in) contains a virtual gallery of net art (you can get back to it by clicking 'gallery' at the top), and is positioned directly next to a real-time virtual critique in the lefthand frame. Through this juxtaposition, CrossTalk unites the act of viewing art and discussing art in the same browser window and on the same virtual plane. Every visitor to the website is invited and encouraged to register for the virtual critique and discuss thoughts, concerns, suggestions, related musings and anything else that comes to mind about the selected pieces or their related issues. In this way, the viewer also acts as a maker of the exhibition by participating in an unfolding conversation visible to fellow viewers. This results in the dialogue around the art becoming just as important as the artworks themselves to the whole experience of the show.

The thinking behind this model was born out of concern for the sharp decrease in the exhibition of net art online over the past five years. More and more common, a mixed strategy is being used where works of net art are displayed on a computer or another networked device in the traditional and physical space of the gallery. This poses a problem to those that create, curate and support net art, because the theory behind its creation is opposite to what physical galleries represent.

Because net artworks have no originals and no physical boundaries they can 'move' freely, outside institutions like museums and galleries. They are also inherently more democratic in their ability to be accessed from practically anywhere at any time. For instance, ask yourself: Where am I experiencing this exhibition right now? Likely you are doing it from somewhere other than a gallery or museum, and even more likely on a device that you own and you operate frequently. The experience of net art is far more versatile and individual than a static display can communicate. The repeated presentation of net art in a physical space (even if it the work is also accessible online) contradicts the very properties that make the art form unique—the properties of being both digital and distributed.

Although CrossTalk is not meant to propose a single solution to counter this move towards a mixed physical/virtual display strategy, it does propose an alternative model; one that affirms the virtual exhibition of virtual artworks. At a time when both net art production and networked communication are at their highest, it is only logical to explore the possibilities and realities of aligning the two. This exhibition should be considered a perhaps crude but ambitious step in that direction.

About the Curator:

CrossTalk: Speech Acts and Interference in Networked Art is curated, designed and programmed by Zach Pearl. It is the culmination of his thesis work for the anticipated receipt of a Masters of Fine Art in Criticism & Curatorial Practice this Spring from OCAD University. Zach has formal, interdisciplinary training in variety of fine art, performing art and design practices. He came into curating somewhat serendipitously through museum education and private gallery positions that served as the bread n' butter of his early twenties. Currently, Zach's curatorial focus is on the intersection between new media, relational aesthetics and community art practices. Accordingly, Zach has worked independently to curate a variety of projects that integrate aspects of each area for a range of venues, including the Gladstone Hotel, the Textile Museum of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Zach currently lives and works in Toronto, Ontario.