Intravox, the Lethaby Gallery’s latest exhibition opens today. We spoke to UAL Chair of Interactive Digital Art Fred Deakin, the artist and musician behind the exhibition, about what visitors can expect, his interest in the audio-visual relationship and his thoughts on digital fine art.
Tells us about your new exhibition ‘Intravox’.
I have this theory that in this digital world and age of downloads, the depth of music experience has been lost. Intravox is an attempt to create something that takes music into a new space. I think that music experience can be more soulful.
This exhibition is about voices; it is definitely a different mood to my previous exhibitions and much more contemplative. It is kind of alternative to a gig or a club, you come and experience a piece of music with visuals but you also collaborate in creating it. The piece can’t exist without an audience. The idea is that one person can use it but you need five people to trigger the whole piece. Hopefully it is enjoyable to watch other people play with it as well, it is a spectacle and a performance by them.
What first inspired you to explore this relationship?
When I was a teenager I lived in a record shop, I am exaggerating only slightly, but that was my coming of age cultural experience, that was my gallery. I used to buy a lot of vinyl, they’d have great sleeves and when you played them the music would seep into your world in a very different way to the way that people experience music through MP3s, iTunes or YouTube.
Do you think that visual art and music are in some ways co-dependant?
Definitely, I don’t think that you can really separate them. I am quite lucky as I have my foot in both camps, but most artists understand the power of the visual like David Bowie for example. There is a guy called Tim Gane from a band called Stereolab and he says that the record isn’t finished until the sleeve is done and I totally agree with that!
A lot of the students that I work with here, for example graphic designers, are dabbling in music. It is a very similar world to them, it’s all software they can download for free off pirate bay and have a muck around with, so why not. I think that for young people it is very much about creativity.
With the digital sphere constantly developing, where do you see the future of digital art as fine art heading?
I think that there is a strange notion of what digital fine art is. The digital space is very creative, very innovative and it is creating what I see as art on a regular basis.
There are great people like FIELD and the guys that I am collaborating with on this project who are all making creative work in the digital space, but the fine art world ignores it because they can’t sell it. It was the ability to sell that turned street art, the Banksy phenomena, into fine art. I am glad that this hasn’t happened yet in the digital sphere because I think that what is happening is part of a really vibrant subculture. It is all about the digital street art I say!
Do you see interactive art as a way of engaging a wider audience with art?
I think we all consume digital content now and people are much more literate digitally. I don’t do what I do in a gallery space very often, it is quite an unusual space to me so I guess if it invites audiences from other areas come to the space then that is a great win!
It is interesting, I am not sure if it is my natural habitat but we will soon find out. Hopefully it would invite some gallery goers to my DJ sets too.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
I am running a workshop for UAL students called Modules and it is happening in 2016. It’s a collaborative creative project, which will invite the students to work in small teams across the colleges. I also, hopefully, will have an album out in the New Year!