Designer and lecturer Adam Griffiths became interested in adopting a “non-space” for a public gallery. The term non-place was coined by the French anthropologist Marc Augé to refer to human spaces of transience where people remain anonymous, where the spaces do not hold enough importance to be deemed real “places”. As a result, Adam has developed transient_space, a digital, projected gallery housed within Manchester School of Art’s vast atrium space that “explores the concepts of time, space and culture of the transient screen”.
Projected across four, large public screens, transient_space takes place in a constant space of flux “where the public transfer and crossover from sections of the ever-busy university building”. Distracted students busy themselves in the atrium filled with woes of impending essays and crit deadlines. The non-space becomes solely a place of transportation or passiveness and an intriguing, experimental space to host an exhibition amongst the hustle and bustle of passing students.
The second exhibition to be carried out in the space is Disrupt the Channel, inspired by a body of research from 2001 by Professors Lisa F. Smith and Jeffrey K. Smith. The study evaluates that the average time spent viewing an artwork in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is a measly average duration of 17 seconds. On this statistic, Adam says, “I found this an interesting premise to curate a show around, engaging an audience with a fast-paced, time sensitive stream of works on the screens. The curator adds, “I tried to recreate the feelings of our scrolling habits through volumes of quick, disparate content via the web.” Each exhibitor was commissioned to make a 17 second piece of work based on the notion of disruption to be projected on the large walls.
“The rationale was to disrupt the tireless space” of the Manchester School of Art’s atrium with the video installations exhibiting now until 26 October. The walls transform into canvases for a quick, visual experience connecting “digital windows with a vast indoor setting”. Additionally, Disrupt the Channel manifests into a tele-present state as it is a live and adaptable exhibition platform which the curator can update freely without limitations; even from the other side of the globe at the push of a button.
The exhibition features 38 international creatives whose practices occupy both the physical and digital realm; a crucial aspect of transient_space. Featuring practitioners such as Sulki & Min, PlayLab Inc. and Pitch Studios to name a few, Disrupt the Channel is a unique chance to see this extensive list of innovators in one sensory place.
Each creative has approached the 17 second brief differently. PlayLab Inc are running a transient advertisement on the screen, offering one second ads to the general public that will rotate throughout the duration of the exhibition. Alternatively, Adam’s own piece focuses on his childhood interaction with artwork through the computer screen. “Some of my first insights into artists such as Magritte were accessed through the old desktop computers and Encarta ’96 on a floppy disk,” says Adam. Essentially, transient_space is a speculative exhibition venue where social experiments on non-spaces and attention spans can be measured in an infinite amount of ways. Supplied with Adam’s passion for the project, transient_space assures to produce future intrigue for Manchester’s art scene.
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.