Curated by Grace Davies
With artists Rose Butler & Kypros Kyprianou, Alistair Burleigh and Matthew Pontin
Distance Learning creatively explores the blur and boundaries between real and virtual, interior and exterior, natural and artificial, local and global spaces, and the images and information that contribute to our understanding and 'experience' of the world.
Using moving image, installation and photography, the artists in Distance Learning have responded to new developments in technology by re-organizing and re-articulating space. The architectural spaces in Distance Learning point to new ways of experiencing and navigating space-both physically, in our homes, workplaces, and neighborhoods as well as on the Internet and are informed by the contemporary culture, virtual travel and technology.
Matthew Pontin's work explores photography and memory in terms of overlapping representations of 'actual' and 'virtual' journeys and experiences. In doing so he seeks to stimulate a dialogue with the potentialities of photography. Pontin's work uses the metaphor of travel, of journeying, to explore various discourses of ownership of images, of experience and of imagination. His 'created' visual travels are aesthetically rich in that his virtual journeys become only about seeing, about the recording or representation of the place, not about presence of the photographer.
Rose Butler & Kypros Kyprianou's One Lime Street pushes the idea of virtual and real journeying even further. The six-screen piece is a formalized meditation on the architecture of the famous Lloyds of London building and its exoskeleton lifts. People enter and leave one of six lifts and embark on interacting journeys, each journey, filmed from inside the lift has had the background buildings and horizon digitally locked in position. The result makes the lifts travel past the screens, an unexpected relationship between the camera, the vertical journey and the background perspectives result: a slippage between figure and ground. Through presentation of the cubic space in which the passengers enter and leave, we are reminded of the other spaces that are viewed through the rectangular screen; television, internet, photography, cinema and the possibilities of manipulation within these media.
Taking this concept one step further Alistair Burleigh literally fuses the idea of virtual and real space together in his piece VoidX ' Escaping the Screen, a three dimensional video installation. His cubic blocks ' physical boxes within the gallery space are wrapped by a virtual projected model of the same geometric arrangement. The arrangement soon becomes changed and the virtual blocks 'fly' around their physical counterpart colliding and separating providing an environment within which these two ordinarily separate realities merge. Virtual space becomes perceptually 'real' physical space.