Remote Civic Studio
Gallery 8.5James O’Toole
Issues of access to galleries, archives, and information is at the heart of Gallery 8.5. This curated digital gallery hosted on Instagram seeks to reimagine the traditional ‘white cube’ gallery as a more inclusive space for artists and viewers alike. Given the ongoing quarantine, providing digital spaces not only for art but also for community building is essential. The hope in beginning Gallery 8.5 is to build a digital community that outlasts the current pandemic by giving people a creative outlet and the means to interact with like minded, artistically inclined people.
The gallery’s ongoing call for works of art, is limited to drawings that fit on an 8.5”x11” sheet of printer paper. This format makes contribution feasible for a vast majority of people regardless of art experience. All too often people on the internet exist merely as spectators. By minimizing the barrier for participation Gallery 8.5 is hoping to encourage more people to actively engage with a digital community by adding their art and ideas to the gallery.
In addition to greater accessibility, a digital gallery is able to disregard limitations of space and time that inhibit physical spaces. There is no limit to the amount of work displayed in a digital space. Art never needs to be taken down to make room for a new collection. No physical space means no hours of operation which means people can engage with the gallery any time they see fit. Social platforms aid in Gallery 8.5’s desire to be a communal space as people are able to react and engage with art and other viewers through comment sections.