The Minecraft Gallery is an entire ecosystem of a virtual exhibition space built entirely inside the open world sandbox game, Minecraft. The work is a continuation of a conceptual media work from 2017 called “Minecraft exhibition” where images photographed inside other video games were displayed as art works inside a rudimentary gallery space I had built in the game, Minecraft. The main bulk of the work was in figuring out how to modify the textures of existing elements in the game to display the foreign material. The work was inspired by a book, “Inside the white cube”, by Brian O'Doherty and research in the area of contexts giving objects perceptible value. Curating my own spaces has been a long running theme in my work questioning the idea of the exhibition in response to the idea that an exhibition holds some sort of pre-existing notoriety to be called an exhibition when in reality an exhibition is any literal exhibition or presentation of anything. Other works of mine how followed a similar path like “in a box” which was really a prank where I presented to my peers and tutors the idea that I had shown work in a gallery space and I was presenting them photographs of my work in the context of the gallery, when infact the images had just been projected into a small cardboard box I had pimped out with white paper to create the illusion of a gallery space. The work was really to spark the question in the minds of viewers, who had taken my gallery ruse at face value, of “what is a gallery?”, “What is an exhibition?”. Does an objects value change based on what context it's in? if it's on plinth in a gallery or on the ground in the middle of the road. The Minecraft Gallery was conceived at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic as a means to still experience art in isolation. Based on previous work on the idea of the exhibition space and now applied to the new context of being a potential valid platform for artists to submit work and patrons to view it. The exhibition space exists in a virtual world accessible by anyone at anytime. The intricacies of the project are deeper than just playing a game the work involved to set this up required understanding and developing a system of working along with overcoming an enormous amount of logistical hurdles. Some examples of the work involved are; converting paintings and artworks from the real world into representations of themselves in the Minecraft world, they are formed with the main elements of the game, called blocks, that are close to the colour of an accumulation of areas of pixels in the image of the actual paintings and artworks. As well as installing and learning how to use a program that allows the placement of enormous amounts of blocks to build structures in the game, with computer commands, that would otherwise take years if you were to individually place blocks to make the structures. Considering one of many structures I have created consisted of upwards of 2,000,000 blocks, and the average individual block placing rate is about 3 per second, it would take you 463 of none stop placing to complete just one of those structures. The list of intricacies, like all seemingly simple projects goes on (and on, and on...).
The main goal of the work is for the virtual art gallery to be validated as a real gallery and for the space to function as a gallery, showing works from artists all over the world and others who submit work to be shown in periodical exhibitions or for people who want to use the exhibition space to exhibit an entire exhibition of their own. The current exhibition I am curating inside the Minecraft Gallery is a range of paintings and media work by artists from all over the world and will be opening on the 10th of April 2020.
The point of the project is a is to create a virtual art gallery that has all the same facets as a gallery in the real world, to ask the question of “what really is an exhibition space?” and “why do objects possess value in the context of an exhibition space?”