Saturday, August 4, 2012

The new media art attracts collectors

The new media practitioners from India seek the viewer participation and involvement, using interactive technology to examine contemporary themes and concerns. By manipulating text, sound and image in novel experimental ways, they shift viewers’ stance from being passive spectators to that of active participants.

Their aim is to stimulate a new kind of aware viewership that opens up to new windows to the outside world or preset transcendental truths, overturning set notions of how the moving image communicates. But then there are practical issues that hamper the viewing and collecting. Video art is not easy hard to show in conventional art spaces.

It can take up a lot of space, its sound effect can easily spill over into other arenas, and its logistics can get complex because of cumbersome equipment. And that's something not considering challenging or bizarre subject matter that a practitioners like to tackle.

The idea of a collective simultaneous video exhibit with sound spill and light spill can get problematic. And with so much quantum of video now being produced, the real challenge is to do something more expansive and collaborative. Again the challenge of the works’ marketability and saleability is very much there.

There are gallerists like Christopher Grimes in Santa Monica, who consciously try and make the format as such, if not the content itself, more accessible by working around the gallery's space constraints as tried out in an extensive video art programming, a few months ago.

It is heartening to note though, buyers of video art in India are steadily growing in number. It received a big boost when Anupam Poddar launched the Devi Art Foundation dedicated to showing it. He has been quoted as saying, “I think the individual collector can buy it. The immateriality, easy storage and portability are some of the aspects that work in its favor.”

Another leading collector Swapan Seth feels it’s important to embrace and encourage newer technologies not only for artists but also for collectors. Youngsters, who have made the new media art their calling, should be encouraged, he avers. There is every reason to be optimistic about its future prospects and viability thanks to support and patronage from aware collectors, keen to acquire the video artworks.

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