art meets tech at TMRW digital gallery

Mary Sibande's 'A Crescendo of Ecstasy' VR exhibition at TMRW gallery, Keyes Art Mile.

Brought to our attention by Mary Sibande's A Crescendo of Ecstasy, Joburg's first digital gallery TMRW is a unique space where art and technology intersect, blending the boundaries of augmented and virtual realities. Although the concept of a digital gallery may be new to Johannesburg and is poised to be an art experience unlike any other, it is cottoning on in varying forms worldwide (as denoted by Paris' first digital museum of fine art Atelier des Lumières – dedicated to fine art in Paris). The digital platform plays an increasingly pertinent and encompassing role in our daily lives – it's how we engage with and see the world. It seems only fitting it should integrate into the art world, too. Utilising virtual tools, TMRW offers artists the opportunity to generate works that live across digital mediums, experienced against the backdrop of reality immersions, made all the more tangible through 3D printing and video experiments. We caught up with TMRW's co-directors Ann Roberts, Anton Taljaard and Derek White to find out more.

1. How has the concept of a ‘digital gallery’ been received by South Africans, or Joburgers?

The response has been phenomenal. TMRW has been attracting consistently large audiences with great ongoing traffic through its various exhibits.

2. What exactly is a digital gallery?

The Mixed Reality Workshop (TMRW) is an art space that enables contemporary artists to develop skills and knowledge, and create and reveal works of art that utilise technology as tools of creation and/or exhibition. TMRW views the new technologies as additional 'brushes' that can be added to the repertoire of all artists, just as technology is now a ubiquitous part of all our lives, both in business and personal capacities.

3. How applicable is an art gallery with a virtual reality and technology focus in today’s digital climate?

With the talk of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and Industry 4.0, it seems appropriate that there exists a space where the art world and audiences can focus and utilise new technologies. Right now a physical space is needed, but in the future, who knows? At TMRW we integrate technology into traditional physical installations to create immersive environments, allowing the artworks themselves to be elevated above the 'gimmick' of using new technologies. If the audience is over aware of the tech, they might miss the content of the artwork.

4. What can viewers look forward to in the near future?

An ongoing programme of innovative works in collaboration with some of the continent's most revered artists. Visit TMRW gallery at Keyes Art Mile, 21 Keyes Ave, Rosebank;