Tate in Space

Tate in Space

Tate in Space  (“Tate Space Island” by Softroom)  (photo courtesy Tate and Softroom,)

Tate in Space (“Tate Space Island” by Softroom)

(photo courtesy Tate and Softroom,)

Tate in Space is an internet-based and site-specific project developed and implemented by the British artist Susan Collins. Tate in Space was intended to speculate on the innovative potentials of the the Tate as art institution, it explores a dynamic area between fact and fiction. The iconic image of Tate in Space, designed by the Softroom architectural studio, shows a bright orange module – an upcycled external NASA fuel tank - circling Earth in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO). Thus, Low-Earth Orbit is the specific site of Tate in Space, and the web-presence acts as the online component of a development program for a new satellite (all puns are intentional) location for Tate. Each new exhibition for Tate in Space would take the form of an additional modular element. Tate in Space has a uniquely speculative existence that is made believable by the reputation and financial capabilities of the Tate. Further, Tate in Space is able to costume itself in official Tate graphics and styling, contributing greatly to its credibility. As collateral for this veracity Tate in Space included a “Live Webcam” view of Earth from the satellite (http://www2.tate.org.uk/space/webcam.htm)and a page dedicated to the best times and locations for using a telescope to view the satellite from Earth (http://www2.tate.org.uk/space/satellite.htm).

Image courtesy Tate

Image courtesy Tate

Rhizome says that Tate in Space

“ … is intended as an agent provocateur; a catalyst ... that also invites debate and reflection on the nature of art in space, cultural ambition, ... Tate in Space can be viewed as an example of interactive or immersive fiction, with each browser/participant bringing their own extra terrestrial cultural fantasies to the project.” unauthored, (undated) Rhizome | Tate in Space

Proposals for additional exhibition spaces were submitted by well-established architectural practices as well as students and took a number of interesting and innovative forms; one based on a mobius strip. The proposals for the structure took full advantage of the digital media available for communicating such forward-looking ideas. For example Space Group Architects provided a video to accompany their proposal which uses chromakeying effects to illustrate the unique potentials for people occupying an exhibition space in outer-space provided by the new Tate. ( http://www.spacegrouparchitects.com/press/tate.htm ) A handful of these submissions are available for download as foldable paper models. ( http://www2.tate.org.uk/space/models.htm ) The number and diversity of these models and proposals is clear evidence of the successful provocation and inspiration of Susan Collin's ideas and framework for Tate in Space. These proposals also highlight the importance of a wider audience in bringing this fiction into existence through a mutual imagining.

Image courtesy Manuel Carballo Amat

Image courtesy Manuel Carballo Amat

Tate in Space was nominated for a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) award, a rare honor for a piece of Net art. Tate in Space remains a web-based project and idea, in this way it is under constant threat of disappearing, as is the case with all Net art. The semi-imaginary quality of the project's presence on-line reflects the simultaneously liberating and demanding qualities of the satellite's location in outer-space. For example, while the exhibition space exists in zero gravity it also has a very limited audience (those inhabiting the ISS? those that can afford private space travel?). This aspect of Tate in Space opens up fascinating dialogues about accessibility, how a remote location like this might be experienced through media like video and virtual reality, and overcoming limitations through speculative thinking. Tate in Space opens amazing opportunities for artists to think on a different level and form an entirely new artistic discourse. It provides a platform for reflection on how Earthlings view themselves and art.

The Digital Museum of Digital Art, or DiMoDA, is similar to Tate in Space in its cumulative, modular formatting and as an exhibition space that challenges ideas of real and virtual. DiMoDA is a virtual institution devoted to Digital / New Media art, it is run by Alfredo Salazar-Caro and William Robertson its directors/developers. DiMoDA first opened for the Wrong digital art biennale in late 2015. When first launched DiMoDA was presented as an app-based pavilion and IRL “embassy”. The Digital Museum of Digital Art is viewable with an Oculus Rift Headset and controller or as a stand-alone app. Visitors to DiMoDA begin in a central atrium and can then enter the modular, individual exhibitions through portals.

DiMoDA – image courtesy The Creators Project

DiMoDA – image courtesy The Creators Project

The Stolbun Collection in Chicago, which will exhibit The Digital Museum of Digital Art from February 12th to March 31st, 2016 describes DiMoDA as:

“... dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting and exhibiting Digital artworks from living New Media artists, while expanding the conscious experience of viewing Digital art in a Virtual space.DiMoDA The building is intended as a home for contemporary digital art and an incubator for new ideas, as well as an architectural contribution to the Internet’s virtual landscape.” unauthored, (undated) DiMoDA ( http://stolbun.org/dimoda.html )

DiMoDA creates a new kind of artistic discourse for artists, and challenges the viewers acculturated habits of viewing and experiencing artworks. While Tate in Space exists primarily in the form of a web presence and the viewers' imaginations The Digital Museum of Digital Art has claims a virtual space for itself. Part of the intention of both projects is to accelerate ideas within current art and architecture discourses, distinguishing themselves from the “white cube” space while acting as vehicles for near-limitless experimentation and exploration.

Photo courtesy University College London

Photo courtesy University College London

Susan Collins work is an investigation of the material of the digital, the unique materiality of digital media. To the same extent that Tate in Space explores the qualities of the impossible and imagination in digital materiality, her project Seascape, 2009, explores memory and the archive. Seascape gathered video from five webcams placed along the seashore of England, over the course of one year, capturing the ocean scenery 24-hours per day. Each camera is associated with an individual screen. The image of the ocean is collected and displayed one pixel at a time, unfolding on the screen at a pixel per second, and populated on screen from upper-left to bottom-right; a process that takes approximately 21 hours (320 x 240). In this way the image occurs cumulatively, rather than a “live” video Seascape presents an additive and ever-changing image, a majority of which is remembered and one pixel of which is of-the-present, an image of something always becoming. As in Tate in Space a remote location is made available in a publicly accessible space. In the case of Seascape accumulated or “archival” material is immediately available and constantly replaced, like the stillness and continual flow of the ocean itself. This makes manifest a precariousness that exists in any piece of Net art.

Susan Collins

Twitter = https://twitter.com/susancollins

(many great pictures from Seascape)

video interview,





Tate in Space











downloadable models









The Dgitial Museum of Digital Art





Low-Earth Orbit