«Urban Pixels» is the public art exhibition curated by MoCDA, Museum of Contemporary Digital Art, in collaboration with EssilorLuxottica’s Eyes On Art project. Starting from 23 May until 10 July, five international contemporary artists (Entangled Others Studio) Krista Kim, XCOPY, Giuseppe Lo Schiavo and Lethabo Huma, exhibit works on very large screens installed in some of the most popular places in Milan, London and New York. Eyes on Art aims to get art accessible to everyone through new media and technology. MoCDA, provides digital art education and technology to artists, collectors, institutions and art lovers and exhibits digital artworks for the purpose of documenting, collecting and advancing the position of digital art. We talked about the exhibition, public art, NFTs and digital art with Filippo Lorenzin, Artistic Director at MoCDA.
What’s the common thread between the five installations?
Although some works have been created specifically to be exhibited in this exhibition while others have not, all have been chosen for how they interact with an audience as diverse as that of the people who visit and pass in front of the screens where they are installed.
Were the artworks originally conceived to be enjoyed in the physical space?
Continuum by Krista Kim is a traveling work that was created to be exhibited in public places on physical media. Antropogenica by Giuseppe Lo Schiavo, a work that joined the Permanent Collection of MoCDA, was created to be exhibited in Times Square and exploits the three-dimensionality of the support screen to create an anamorphic vision.
Urban Pixels brings digital art and NFTs in public spaces: is this about leveling the traditional art world’s players?
Digital art was born to be shown wherever there is a digital screen. It is no coincidence that in the 1960s and 1970s many artists interested in new media created installations in public areas. Unlike an oil painting or a marble sculpture, the materials used in digital art are part of the public’s daily life. A digital work is at ease both in the context of the city and in that of a gallery; there is no competition between a so-called “new art” and “traditional art” because the former is the consequence of the latter, with its own unique characteristics.
Was it easier to develop a public digital art project like this in Milano, London or New York?
The production of the exhibition took place in a decentralised way, meaning the people involved never met in person; digital communication tends to flatten the differences, so for the curators and artists the development of the works and the decisions taken on the individual installations have technically all occurred in the same way. What made the difference was the attention paid to the urban contexts where the screens are installed; each city involved in the project has an incredible creative history and tradition and it was a pleasure to work with the artists to choose and produce works that highlight or comment on certain characteristic aspects.
Are people ready to meet digital art on their way to work?
Not only on their way to work but also when they check for updates on Facebook or photos of friends on Instagram. As mentioned, digital art was born to be shared and shown wherever it is possible. Artists that are interested in the potential of social media use these platforms not only to show their works but as a medium to create art. It seems to me that we are asking ourselves the same questions that artists and experts have been asking themselves since the birth of the market society; what role can works of art play in a world that is increasingly filled with images and materials to be consumed? MoCDA wants to discover together with the artists and the public what the results of these dynamics will be.
It seems like Italy is really getting along with crypto art with many artists, exhibitions and talks. Are there countries that are more into NFT art or real world’s borders are no longer relevant?
If on the one hand the decentralisation of the blockchain has led to the creation of new important artistic centres in rapidly developing nations and regions, on the other hand it has led to great fragmentation. Communities of artists and curators are formed around shared goals, rather than geographical proximity. The Internet and the blockchain have led to a transnational globalisation that often prefers anonymity: many artists of the crypto world are anonymous, and no one knows where they reside; what is important is their works.
MoCDA’s next projects?
We recently opened , the latest exhibition of The Foundry, our artist residency program in collaboration with the Arium metaverse. This month we worked with Entangled Others Studio, composted of artists Feileacan Mccormick and Sofia Crespo, who create works with AI inspired by the marine world. In June we will open the doors of the Permanent Collection with the works of Giuseppe Lo Schiavo, Aurèce Vettier and Federico Solmi. The mission of the Collection is to document, enhance and question what makes contemporary digital art unique. Each month we will accept three new works, a curatorial strategy that allows us to carefully present each piece. In July we will open the MoCDA Digital Summer Show 2022, a virtual group show featuring works created by art students from all over the world. We met 16 art universities over the course of two months, collected 200 submissions and selected 30 works. Students participate in online group curatorial sessions, lectures and workshops.
Crypto artists to follow in 2022?
We recommend following trends rather than specific artists. Generative art has been gaining increasing interest lately, as are performance artists who are developing a very lively community interested in using the possibilities of the blockchain to explore their practices in new and experimental ways.
artist: Giuseppe Lo Schiavo
work: to define
from June 13 and for 4 weeks
artist: Lethabo Huma
work: to define
from June 13 and for 4 weeks
Entangled Others Studio – hybrid ecosystems – meshed salinity #1, courtesy of the artists and MoCDA
Entangled Others Studio – hybrid ecosystems – processor harvest #4, courtesy of the artists and MoCDA
Entangled Others Studio – hybrid ecosystems – wireless navigation #1, courtesy of the artists and MoCDA
Krista Kim – Continuum 03, courtesy of the artist and MoCDA
Krista Kim – Continuum 04, courtesy of the artist and MoCDA
XCOPY-Right-click and Save As guy, courtesy of the artist and MoCDA
After my master’s degree in art history in Genoa, I set out to explore the world following the cultures that most inspired me, from Canada to Hawaii. I continued my online studies specializing in digital marketing, today I work as a digital strategist for galleries, museums and professionals in the world of contemporary art. My heart goes to digital art & NFT but I also hang out among the exhibitions on the Côte d’Azur for geolocation.