As previously covered, I have decided that the SYP publication will be a combination of a virtual exhibition and a physical printed publication.

Following some research and testing I tentatively decided that the virtual exhibition platform should be Art.Spaces by Kunstmatrix. This post is to cover my initial trial run with the platform to ascertain its suitability in more detail, and summarise my findings.

As expected, one can’t use the free trial version to put together a fully-fledged online exhibition, but the constraints are thankfully few. Basically, the only limits in trial mode are:

  • Maximum of 10 artworks
  • No publishing to a public audience (you can however preview it privately as you go along)

Setup process

I will now briefly run through the steps of creating an exhibition and any commentary I think might be useful to remember.

Room

After initial exhibition configuration (title, description, preview image) the first major decision is the room layout. There are a handful of templates that resemble actual gallery spaces, plus a bunch of other ones that are less real-world and more sparse.

You can also choose a wall colour, although annoyingly you get no preview; to try each colour you need to actually select it and then preview your space. Quite an odd, easy-to-fix oversight in my opinion. I chose green as a vague nod to the notion that the construct of the series is a walk around my local area, and much of the imagery is rural or semi-rural.

For now I chose a large, airy space (a simulated 400 square metres) with a clear roof rather than virtual windows. It allows for up to 30 artworks so plenty for my needs.

Artwork management

Adding artworks is quite straightforward.

You set the dimensions of the artwork as if they were physical in real gallery space, so I set most of mine at 100cm wide.

You also get to set a virtual frame and passepartout, but again like the wall colour, this is not WYSIWYG so you need to tweak and preview until you like what you see.

Curation

Curation is the system’s word for placing your artworks in the space. This is mostly intuitive as the default artwork locations are marked and numbered, and the artwork list is on-screen to drag and drop from.

You can deviate from the default placements though; as seen in the screenshot above, I chose to have three images on a wall designated for four, so just spaced them further apart and didn’t use one of the placements.

That’s pretty much it for the basics.

One thing the system doesn’t easily allow is to place text on the wall (e.g. introduction, artist statement etc). The simple workaround was to make an image containing text and treat it as an artwork in the system.

Trial walkthrough

Although the trial mode doesn’t allow me to publish the exhibition for other people to review, I did work out that I could screen-record my own preview wander round the space:

Although only half-full, I think it gives a reasonable idea of what a finished product might look like.

There are three ways of navigating the gallery space, two of which are demonstrated in the video clip:

  • Clicking ‘Next’ (and/or ‘Previous’) will position the viewer in front of each artwork in turn
    • Shown in the first half of the video
  • There is also a ‘Guided Tour’ option that is similar to the above but auto-moves to the next artwork after a specific time interval
    • I haven’t shown this as I haven’t yet worked out how to tweak the interval
  • Freeform wandering around using keyboard arrows and mouse cursor (computer) or touchscreen scrolling (tablet/phone)
    • Shown in the second half of the video

I’m pretty pleased. The system has a few quirks and a few gaps, but none are dealbreakers. The end result looks good in my opinion.

I’d be interested in anyone’s comments on this so far!