Opening its doors last year, Lightbox–a space dedicated to intertwining art with technology and experiences–hasn’t quite hit the radar yet. But as the venue is preparing for a one-night-only group exhibition named “7 X 10,” it’s time to take a closer look at the Time’s Square-based digital art vanguard.
We asked director Manish Vora to educate us about Lightbox and the importance of digital art before the opening tonight.
Lars Byrresen Petersen: What exactly is lightbox?
Manish Vora: Lightbox is a space dedicated to the intersection and interaction of art, technology and experience. We provide rising artists with a digital palette and host breakthrough private functions
LBP: Tell me about the creation of lightbox?
MV: Lightbox was started by Tom X. Lee, an innovator and entrepreneur who wanted to design a sustainable model for the arts in Manhattan, while also pushing the boundaries of contemporary digital arts and experience. In addition to lightbox, Tom has helped build other successful companies including Epocrates and One Medical.
LBP: How does this space tie in with Artlog?
MV: For the past six years, I have been developing art experiences and producing collaborations with artists and brands as a founder of Artlog and Grey Area. When Tom (a national pioneer in design and experience) asked me to develop new programs in collaboration with lightbox, I jumped at the chance.
LBP: How long has lightbox existed?
MV: The space opened a little over one year ago at 339 W 38th St in Manhattan. One of the goals of the space is to help support rising digital artists in Manhattan.
LBP: Explain the concept behind your exhibition 7 x 10?
MV: For this exhibition, the Artlog team selected 7 creators from a range of fields–curatorial, architecture, fashion, film, the list goes on–to develop a series of 10-minute multi media experiences. And further upping the ante, we gave them less than two weeks to create the content.
LBP: How long will the experience be open?
MV: 7×10 is a one night event, but the content is meant to live on. The power of this digital medium is that while hundreds of hours were spent creating the content for the show, in a single moment we can hit play and even send the content to be displayed elsewhere. For several of the pieces in the show, the work is just a prelude to much larger works being developed.
LBP: You say that everyone is a digital artist, can you elaborate?
MV: If you agree that curator is the most over-used word in the creative dictionary, then in the same vein let’s call every person who posts what they believe to be an artistic photo on instagram, an ingenius tweet, a video an artist.
LBP: Can you tell me what is special about digital art?
MV: Watch the cyborgs, Neil Harbisson and Moon Ribas, on CNN, TED, and come see what they are doing at lightbox. They enlisted filmmakers John Fitzgerald and Matthew Niederhasuer, along with artist Woohun Joo and together created Cyborg Futures, an immersive experience that translates color into sound and sound into color. The project was demo’d this week at lightbox for The Future of Storytelling and I am confident will be developed into a major installation.
LBP: How do you think it affects traditional art?
MV: Digital art is just another set of powerful tools and medium that allows artists to continue on a never ending path of innovation.
LBP: Do you think it’s consumed in a different way than traditional art? I mean; is it easier devoured and understood or the opposite?
MV: I think “Video Art,” as it has been displayed for too long in too many museums, has given digital art a bad name. I think museums are just waking up to how technology, experience and interactivity can be implemented in their white boxes.
LBP: Who’s your favorite digital artist and why?
MV: If you buy into our premise that we are all digital artists then I will say it’s me. Why not me? I can neither draw nor hardly handwrite a legible letter, but in two weeks i helped create two hours of multi media content and five hundred people will experience it for one night and hopefully many more will see it online.
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