Adobe announced the official opening, on Oct. 6, 2010, of the Adobe Museum of Digital Media (AMDM). A one-of-a-kind online museum, the AMDM is an interactive venue to present and preserve groundbreaking digital media works, inspire creative ideas and experimentation, and provide a forum for expert commentary on how digital media influences culture and society.
As social and cultural discourse moves increasingly to the Internet, artists, designers and other cultural producers are turning to digital media to explore and express their ideas. Founded in this spirit, the AMDM will feature programs and works in fields as diverse as visual art, film, performance, design, architecture and social media, and will engage a wide range of curators and cultural luminaries to develop content and programs. It will reflect the mission of traditional museums in upholding the highest standards in creative processes and curatorial practices, yet it will present these in a digital venue leveraging the interactivity, lack of physical boundaries and 24/7 availability of the online world.
"Adobe works with a wide range of creative professionals every day. We see extraordinary digital projects that take advantage of current technology and point to where creative minds will take digital media in the future," said Ann Lewnes, senior vice president of global marketing, Adobe. "The museum was inspired by them and is a tribute to their talent and innovation. We believe digital media plays an important role in shaping our society as well as our creative culture and should be celebrated in a space where the medium is literally the message."
The museum is the result of a collaboration among Piero Frescobaldi, co-founder of unit9, a U.K. based digital production company; Filippo Innocenti, founder of the U.K. based firm Spin+ and professor of Architecture Technology at Politecnico di Milano University; San Francisco based advertising agency Goodby, Silverstein and Partners; and Adobe.
The AMDM is designed to echo the sensory experience of a traditional, physical museum, yet is contained entirely online. Museum visitors will have a three-stage encounter with the virtual structure: museum exterior, museum interior and a viewing pod from which to experience the exhibitions.
Valley - AMDM's Inaugural Exhibition
Valley, the latest work by the renowned American artist Tony Oursler and the AMDM's inaugural exhibition, explores our relationship to the Internet, underscored by Oursler's often raucous, disarming humor. The title "Valley" is a reference to Oursler's fascination with roboticist Masahiro Mori's 1970s theory, which conflates Jenstch's and Freud's theories of the "Uncanny" with the development of human-like robots.
Masahiro Mori posits that the closer machines come to resembling real humans, the more psychologically disturbing they become. Thus, Mori coined the phrase, The Uncanny Valley. Oursler's Valley extends and deepens this theory to suggest the Internet, a mirror of human consciousness, is fast approaching The Uncanny Valley. In this artwork, the artist has divided the Internet into 17 interrelated zones in an attempt to frame the mercurial system.
"I looked at the poetry of the Internet and what is happening with it now - warts and all, how technology enters our lives, how it can work for us and how it's a product of us," said Oursler. "If my work gets people to think about how they're spending their time on the Internet and have some self reflection about what that time means to them, then this project will have been a success."
Oursler's Valley invites the viewer to interact with artwork on an entirely unique virtual platform, made possible through the artist's collaboration with the AMDM team. Oursler believes that the online platform offers an exciting and dramatic departure from the classic museum paradigm. He designed this project to take advantage of the possibility of a new type of interactive relationship with the viewer, recently made possible by the Internet.
The AMDM's presentation of Valley is augmented by a curatorial guide featuring the exhibition's curator Tom Eccles, executive director of the Bard College Center for Curatorial Studies, Annandale in Hudson, NY. As the AMDM's first guest curator, Eccles said, "I chose to work with Tony on this project because he's been consistently at the forefront of new technologies and was one of the first artists to give dimensionality to video, TV screens and projected spaces."