UK’s first digital art gallery to open in Coventry - Museums Association

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UK’s first digital art gallery to open in Coventry

The Reel Store will welcome visitors from April 2022
Art Digital
An image from Machine Memoirs: Space exhibition, which will be the Reel Store’s first exhibition
An image from Machine Memoirs: Space exhibition, which will be the Reel Store’s first exhibition Refik Anadol

The UK’s first permanent immersive digital art gallery is to open in Coventry next April as part of the legacy of the City of Culture 2021.

The Reel Store will be based in the basement of a post-war building that formerly housed the Coventry Evening Telegraph. Work is currently underway to transform the old reel store to create an exhibition space – an 800m2 fixed projection mapping canvas with 14 laser projectors accompanied by a spatially adaptive sound system.

Further details about the ticketed attraction, including the cost of visiting, will be announced soon. It will be run by Coventry City of Culture Trust.

A spokesperson for the Reel Store confirmed that the budget for the exhibition spaces and shared public areas is £1.625m. Other costs include: £1.247m for projection equipment; £375,000 for artistic content; and £125,000 for technical fit out costs not included in the construction programme.

The project is funded by  the government’s Getting Building Fund through Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Midlands Engine and West Midlands Combined Authority. It is supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport; Coventry City Council; the Patrick Trust; the Linbury Trust; Edward Cadbury Charitable Trust; and Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.

The Reel Space’s first major exhibition will be Machine Memoirs: Space by artist Refik Anadol. The product of a long-term collaboration with NASA, this exhibition uses artificial intelligence to reimagine two million publicly available images of space taken by NASA satellites and telescopes, and the International Space Station, capturing the deepest regions of outer space.

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Through machine learning, the computer sorts and categorises these photographs to create new digital interpretations of space.

Machine Memoirs: Space provides a 360-degree cinematic experience of futuristic visuals accompanied by 3D audio, allowing audiences to encounter the spectacle of space science through augmented reality.

“Having experienced some truly magical immersive art shows in Tokyo, Paris and London, I am delighted that Coventry, a youthful and pioneering city is launching the Reel Store with Machine Memoirs – a new way to experience the wonder of art,” said Chenine Bhathena, the creative director of Coventry City of Culture Trust.

“Right now, Refik Anadol is leading the way in this field and we are proud and excited to be collaborating to deliver his first long running UK show.”

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