The UK’s first permanent immersive digital art gallery will open next year with an exhibition of AI space images, courtesy of NASA


UK gets its first permanent immersive digital art gallery. The space, which opens in Coventry in April 2022, comes as experiential light shows like the Van Gogh Experience draw millions of visitors across the globe. Keen to get into the action, local authorities and the national government are supporting The Reel Store, which will occupy the former home of the Coventry Evening Telegraph newspaper.

The inaugural Reel Store exhibition will feature a project by rising digital art star Refik Anadol. The show “Machine Memoirs: Space” is the product of a long-term collaboration with NASA. Its arrival coincides with Coventry’s tenure as the British City of Culture and host of this year’s Turner Prize exhibition.

To create the work, Anadol uses AI to sort and analyze two million publicly available images of space taken by satellites, telescopes and NASA’s International Space Station. Then, his AI produces new digital interpretations of the far reaches of outer space. The resulting images will be presented in a “360 cinematic experience” accompanied by “3D audio”, according to the organizers.

“‘Machine Memoirs: Space’ invites us to dream of an alternate universe where machines collaborate with humans to speculate about our existence and create an alternate future,” the artist said in a statement. “It’s a bright future where machines and humanity, in combination, are healing agents. “

The Telegraph Hotel, which houses the Reel store. Courtesy of The Telegraph Hotel

The Reel Store takes its name from the old life of the building (the reels of newspapers were stored there before they were printed). The post-war building is typical of the 1960s architecture that includes much of Coventry city center. The gallery will house an adaptive audio system in space and an 800 square meter (8,610 square feet) fixed projection map canvas with 14 4K laser projectors.

While many emerging artists work with NFTs, non-commercial spaces with the capacity to display their technically demanding work are scarce. Support for the gallery, which is backed by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports and Coventry City Council, is a testament to the authorities’ growing belief that such projects can serve as an economic engine for a region. .

“The key to me,” said David Welsh, cabinet member in charge of the arts at Coventry City Council, “is that while we know this will be a fabulous attraction for visitors, all of our communities in Coventry will have also a unique art place on their doorstep.

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