How to curate a virtual exhibition? We have been grappling with this question since the last few months in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19. In past years, the WSA Summer Show was curated and celebrated in the seminar rooms, studios, and corridors of the Bute Building. This year, it is on this website that we mark the achievements of our students.
The materialities of sketches, drawings and models have been transformed into images and photo galleries. Instead of building display walls, we have been building web posts, headers, footers, categories, and sidebars. Through our buzzing chat groups and online meetings, we have been able to troubleshoot technical glitches while working dispersedly across the globe. Through using the ‘tags’ we have been making connections between works, not just within a given programme or year group, but across the school. Moreover, we are envisaging the exhibition website to be a ‘living’ platform, where new work might be continuously added by the students.
The building of this website is as much a collective curating process as the building of a physical exhibition might have been. Like the work displayed on this website, the website itself is akin to a project undertaken by students supported by tutors, technical experts and professional staff. But most importantly, in curating this exhibition, we have formed a community of learners who are exploring the possibilities of the virtual medium while reflecting on the social practices of curation.
Dr Hiral Patel, Lecturer
How this year went for you?
Virtual exhibition at the Bute Building
A prototype by Dan Stone, Year 2
The almost Avant Garde of the early 2000s internet has settled into an International Style of safe formats: smooth and beautiful but only in a few corporately defined variations, we have a typology for commerce, homepages and social media, combinations of modules, tested elements. Conversely, the day to day architectural practice is only just coming around to the potential digital technology offers, so it seems fit for our website to embrace the pointclouds, the cad model and the multimedia, that we increasingly work with, as also being experiential. How can we begin to incorporate these seemingly insubstantial works, and the best part of the exhibition is the sharing of experience, so how can we develop a sense of shared space, and in a short time period? This virtual exhibition is only a demonstration. It explores little. It proves we can still explore, and lays a foundation. Looking forward to next year.