I’ve been tweaking the virtual exhibition for the last week or so, taking feedback from previewers (my peer study group) and generally fine-tuning it.

The main updates are detailed below:

Decal and intro

I added a large transparent-background text-image using the same typeface as I chose for the catalogue, to mimic a decal that might go on the wall of a real-world show.

I also updated the introductory notice / artist statement and added a self-portrait.

User contributions video

I always wanted some form of user interaction / contribution, and hit upon the idea of asking people to submit their own ‘forgettances’. I started with my study group peers and crowdfunding backers, then widened it slightly to an OCA Photography group on Facebook. I got over 20 submissions. Some were duplicates (the number of people who have turned up at an airport on the wrong day!) and some were too similar to my own in the main show, and in the end I got the starting version of the user contribution list down to exactly 20.

Presentation-wise, I discovered an easy way built into the Mac OS to generate an animated video where each item (photo, or in this case, a screen grab of text) is placed in virtual frames. The animation simulates the movement of a camera panning across a virtual wall of ‘framed’ artworks.

20 of these makes for just over 90 seconds of video, plus a little opening credit and a fade-out at the end, so the total length is 1:46.

I had done a version where I interspersed the text frames with more images, but the unanimous feedback from reviewers was to keep it simple and stick to text.

The video autoplays if the user gets close enough to it while navigating the virtual room.

Linking in the Exhibition Catalogue

As the printed Exhibition Catalogue is a core part of the overall publication, I needed to come up with a way of promoting it in the virtual room. I created a ‘poster’ and added that to the exhibition.

It explains about the catalogue and includes a link to request one – it goes to a form on my website that captures postal addresses. I subsequently realised that every artwork in a virtual exhibition on this platform has a link that by default generates a contact message to me, but is not removable but is editable. So now all the artworks have their link pointing to the Catalogue Request form on my website.

Layout

I initially placed the video ‘screen’ at the end of the raised platform in the virtual room, but then realised that this would be the first thing the visitor would see on entering the virtual exhibition – the system does not start the viewer at the start of the sequence of artwork, and nor does it allow you to set a specific starting point… rather annoying. So I moved it to the outside wall of that raised area. I’m afraid I neglected to screenshot these prior experiments, only the final layout.

Moving the video screen meant putting one of my own artworks in that prime spot. In the original sequence it was ‘Lamppost String’, which is one of the new additions in the expanded edit, and while I stand by its inclusion in the overall set, I don’t consider it one of the standout images I’d like people to associate with the series. So I swapped it for ‘Red Glove’, a long-standing personal favourite. I also increased the size of that particular artwork by 50% to better fill that wall space.

Regarding the exhibition catalogue poster, I settled on that being at the end of the sequence. While some people will wander around freeform, there is a Guided Tour option that automatically moves through the artworks in sequence; in this flow the final image is on the right hand end of a wall, and there is one space for something on the wall perpendicular, just before a doorway that separates the end from the start.

Preview

Although the exhibition is not due to go live for a couple of weeks (exact date TBC), it is – to all intents and purposes – complete and ready to view. So, if you’re reading this, you can have a sneak preview.

It is at this secure link, and the password you need is forgot.

I’d be interested in any feedback!