Breaking Down Barriers: Transforming Mediums of Art and Design

“Everybody knows feminists hate fun!” This statement is painted on the wall upon immediate entry at the opening reception for All of the Things All of the Time at Platform Gallery on February 20. There were drinks, projections, and a loud and lively atmosphere at the launch party, where the project’s co-founders, Katie Duffey and Katherine Gagnon, officially activated a new collaborative website: BrowserAs.com.

BrowserAs.com is a digital platform that connects ongoing artists, curators, designers, and engineers to combine their efforts in virtual projects. Imagine an online gallery that is constantly changing, functioning as a medium for artists to collaborate and design virtual spaces to display art and to exist as art itself. The site is an applied tool that provides an opportunity to embrace boundless web space as a medium for the new artist, however the project is still in its early transitional phase.

The BrowserAs mission statement declares what the website aims to achieve.
The BrowserAs mission statement declares what the website aims to achieve.

Katherine Gagnon, the websites official curator, has been working on this project for over six months. She views this website as a mode of operation: “We don’t just see ourselves as just a gallery. We want to have the medium digital work match the home of where you see the works.” Katherine believes that BrowserAs.com is a means to have a conversation and bring various interest points together.

How can we interact with technology and consider something fine art if its not tangible? Will artists and viewers be able to appreciate art the same way if its on a screen and not hung on a wall?

The digital platforms’ co-founders challenge those questions on the night of the opening when they projected the websites main pages on walls throughout Platform. Each attendee is meant to experience the art the way they would on webpage as if they were in a gallery, however it still felt like looking at a bunch of computer screens.

BrowserAs consistently questions the concept of what the website actually is. The goal is to creatively utilize Internet space to present art in more unique and undiscovered fashion, however the medium is still confusing to artists. It’s still unclear whether virtual imaging is a different medium or just a categorized version of visual art itself. One could make the case that these steps are necessary for the project’s evolution, but something that is unfinished or ever changing will struggle to command attention.

Lit in the center of the Platform Gallery, the light sets a tone for the evening.
Lit in the center of the Platform Gallery, the light sets a tone for the evening.

Katie Duffy, the website’s designer expresses similar concern for the project. She says, “I want this to be organized and used as a conduit to artists who are underrepresented in technology. Design doesn’t just have to line up exactly with fine art or visual art.” Her vision is to use design as an applied tool to continue to facilitate collaboration. Moreover, she stresses the importance of collaboration among female artists.

The phrase, “Everybody knows feminists hate fun!” is a design illustrated by Valeria Molinari. A feminist designer who specializes in animation and motion graphics, she works in association with Katie and the website. A tribute to feminism and collaboration, this spectacle on the walls defines the free and creative culture that Katie Duffy attempts to inspire. She says, “Maybe one person’s feminism is different from another’s, but that’s ok. It’s all part of our creative process.”

In theory the BrowserAs.com project defines what many artists hope to accomplish: to create groundbreaking art. Combining technology with art seems unnatural but fascinating on the surface. The BrowserAs co-founders wanted to explore the possibility of manipulating unlimited virtual space and creating a new platform to display art. Unfortunately for the projects co-founders, the website proves that the idea is there, however it is lacking in full execution.

One of the exhibits original pieces designed by Katie Duffy
One of the exhibits original pieces designed by Katie Duffy

If you currently visit the website, you will view the first three collaborations that were completed in January, such as Time and Place, by Ryan Nord Kitchen and Ali Harrington, which is a visual investigation of reality and virtual reality and how the two worlds comingle. Without giving it away, the exhibit is created and animated in such a unique way that the virtual exhibit tests a person’s psychology, questioning how anyone can interpret what they are seeing and experiencing.

While this experiment is laudable and entertaining, it is the beginning of a period where art may stop being presented physically and tangibly as it once was. Artist will continue to explore the “unlimited” space of the Internet. With the technology currently available, artists realize that there are millions of possible methods how art can be experienced and viewed.

With a website like Browseras.com, not only can the art be appreciated, but it can hopefully provide a replicable art that affects appreciators the same way an authentic or tangible piece can when it is palpably facing you.

BrowserAs Launch Party
Platform Gallery
116 Mulberry Street, Baltimore, MD
BrowserAs.com

Reviewed by Dylan Hans

Dylan Hans is currently a Baltimore based writer interested in film, theater, and law. Dylan is not only devoted to writing about art and culture, but also a passionate sports fan and vocal sports blogger.

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