I,M (Immaterial Museum)
MEIAC New Media and Digital Art Gallery, Badajoz
Interaction with digital art challenges commonly held concepts of the museum and curating because no physical space is needed to produce or perceive this kind of art. The Immaterial Museum was to be a small gallery to house the collection of digital art and servers of the MEIAC (Extremadura and Ibero-American Museum of Contemporary Art) while also attempting to reclaim for the public the gardens and rooms of the museum. The spatial rule set was achieved by combining two interlinked rings: an underground space laid out around an excavation, and a distorted tube, bent back on itself, poised in equilibrium a few metres above the garden. This ring configuration defines a space whose extent is impossible to perceive – a kind of mechanism of dislocation and loss of spatial references that expands the size of the museum into an infinite spatial loop.
The raised ring is basically a deformed toroidal room with a pitch-black interior. The light inside is reduced to a variable lighting system that travels slowly round the ring, and a series of three openings in the shell, each one oriented towards an external and completely abstract visual focus. The few traces of their visual appearance are converted into a luminous and material navigation system in the interior of the gallery. On entering this space visitors are invited to put on a device connecting them with the museum and its server: a small medical patch with an active Rfid antenna that exchanges small packages of data with the server and lets the system know each visitor’s position in the room, and also introduces into the visitor’s body different kinds of substances – a digital and physiological doorway into the museum.
The ring’s mono-hull is held at four points and clad with a reflecting surface so that its image effectively disappears. Like the inverse of an anamorphic visual construction, the supposedly real image of the surroundings becomes the distorted construction that, projected onto its surface, makes the visual appearance of the Immaterial Museum possible.
Rather than a building, the Immaterial Museum is a disturbance, a map of the visual, climatic and digital displacement of the museum garden that acts by spatially defining a domain for human interaction with digital art.