Gallery in Your Pocket: An Interview with Chiara Passa

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Francoise Gamma

Widget Art Gallery, developed and curated by Chiara Passa, is an exhibition space that fits in your pocket. This digital gallery is an app for iPhones and iPads. Over email, I asked Passa several questions about the project:

What was your motivation behind starting the Widget Art Gallery?

Different reasons led me to start the Widget Art Gallery.

The first one is that I’ve always wanted to do my own curatorial digital art project in relation to a space.

The second reason is the economic crisis. So, it was unreasonable for me to rent an exposition space since it was too binding, and three years ago I decided to create a virtual display space that Id thought extremely coherent in order to show digital art; simple to manage for me and easy to understand for users. Due to our needs that seem to be increasingly handheld, WAG was born. The Widget Art Gallery is a mini three-D, single art gallery room that fits into people’s pocket.

The virtual gallery-room, every month, directly on people’s mobile, hosts a solo digital art exhibition related to the dynamic site-specific contest. So the WAG works both as a sort of kunsthall showing temporary exhibitions and as a permanent collection museum because it conserves all the past exhibitions inside an online archive.

The third aim is a conceptual and emotional one. Recently, I was surprised by the increasing involvement of the audience that I am seeing in some recent mobile-art projects, so I wanted to create a virtual space accessible to everybody by simply using an internet connection. The Widget Art Gallery is a free Safari Mobile Web-based App and works online through two different links for IPhone and IPad. It’s also possible to download the widget version for mac-osx dashboard.

The fourth motivation is a technical one. I’ve built the WAG within the HTML5 programming language and JavaScript functions; therefore it’s simpler to manage and to make some modifications each time there is an update and to switch to the next exhibition, without depending by Apple Store and their decisions/upgrades.

Do you think that bringing the online exhibition to a mobile platform brings it closer to the initial experience of the modern gallery show — i.e. trying to have a private interaction with a work of art in a very public place?

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