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This virtual reality Instagram exhibition is changing the way we access art


by IMAGE
19th Jun 2020
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The pandemic has resulted in a new wave of creativity as artists try to make sense of the world and find new ways to reach people. Error is virtual reality exhibition viewable only through Instagram, here we meet Juls Gabs, the artist behind the concept


Hi Juls, we love Error. Tell us, how did you come up with the idea? 

Hi! I got access to London Museums data in quarantine and saw that 80% of audiences were on social media. People wanted to go to galleries and museums and couldn’t, but still wanted to experience a cultural offering somewhere (anywhere). As a response to this need, we decided to create Virtual Reality paintings on Instagram. 

Simultaneously, Stacie McCormick, the gallery owner of Unit 1 Gallery, London approached me. She is a great supporter of emerging artists in London. Along with the independent curator Akin Oladimeji, they wanted to launch a digital exhibition.  

I am fascinated by how platforms like Instagram, along with Facebook, Netflix, Google, and even the Apple Store all are tools that define a person. The classic oil portrait is now substituted by logarithms that read our accounts. We (the generation that has mainly lived in this millennium) know that fact, and use it to our advantage every day. 

Evolution is redefining the old techniques, and this is the natural next step. 

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Tell us how you went about creating it?

Spark AR is a software created by Facebook, or Instagram (is the same company, surprise!) and it’s completely free for everyone to download and use. It creates the cheerful Instagram filters that are taking over our stories and our Sunday mornings in bed.

In the exhibition, you will find two physical works I have in my studio, which I wrote into the software. And another two that were born completely digitally: drawn in photoshop, some of them converted into GIFs for creating flat animations. The result was the most accessible virtual reality painting ever, that opens straight into your Instagram account.

 CONTEMPORARY ART must fit in with the needs of CONTEMPORARY TIMES. 

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Why is art important now? 

Well, this is a serious question… History has proved that art is a pretty decoration in good times, and a motor for the survival of society in difficult times.  

Art finds creative solutions for problems, represents fears and preoccupations, and defines a time in a way that might be missed in books and data. It is the only industry that is totally outside of government control and is the resource to which academics and researchers go when there are no records the past. 

Art can always be considered a portrait of humanity because, and this is important, it is what defines us as humans. Since the Homo Sapiens, we have created.  Archeologists, psychologists and historians have found evidence of imagination and ritual among those people. Art has always been always present in our existence, and for as long as humans have existed we have created, in order to make sense of our world. 

Why is access to art important to you? 

Being in quarantine and seeing galleries and museums closed, made me realise that art needed to come into our homes. But this won’t disappear with the end of the lockdown. In terms of evolution, this feels like the next natural step in art. Art reflects society, and society is online... Access to art is important because everybody likes to see it. 

What are your plans for future exhibitions?
I am working on a concept called ‘Hypocrisy after Covid-19’.

It started as a personal research project to help me understand what the future after lockdown might look like, in a comedian-economical-political-domestic way (does that exist?) But it sucked me in, and I needed to know more and more…
I’ve interviewed doctors and historians, studied the consequences of wars and revolutions in history, and read the news to predict the changes that this pandemic might bring in 10 years. I think that the decisions we are making during these months will shape a new style of living.

I am hoping ‘Hypocrisy after Covid-19’ will evolve into an exhibition, where the audience can make their own decisions. I would like to offer two possibilities to the reader to choose from now and see the future consequences.

How long will the exhibition last? 

From 1pm this Thursday 18th June 2020 until the 4th of July, 2020.

How can people access the exhibition? 

The exhibition can be accessed online anywhere you have your mobile phone or tablet; from your living room, the garden, on the beach … maybe not when you’re driving. 

Visit @julsgabs on Instagram or here


Read more: 7 artists’ work you can buy that will support a good cause

Read more: A Dublin theatre designer recreates over 50 iconic paintings during lockdown – using her parents as models

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