Daata Editions launched in May 2015, presenting editions by 18 artists that were available to be acquired as downloads. Over one year on, Director David Gryn discusses their latest releases, and Daata’s role in an art world that is finally coming round to the digital. New works will be released as Frieze London kicks off this week.
Can you tell me a little about the latest artworks that you’ve released?
We have released many new artworks over the last several months, on the site we now have over 65 artists and 350 commissioned artworks. To coincide with Frieze Art Fair we will release new sets of artworks by Ed Fornieles, Ariana Reines, Daniel Swan, Artie Vierkant, a single work each by 6 New Contemporaries selected artists — Melanie Eckersley, Hannah Ford, Jasmine Johnson, Scott Lyman, Scott Mason, Abri de Swardt — and the Daata & Artspace commission Terrorist of Love by Keren Cytter, which will be the latest artwork that is free to download. We have also just recently released new artworks at Expo Chicago by: Larry Achiampong, Casey Jane Ellison, Rashaad Newsome, Tameka Norris, Saya Woolfalk and Gutter Records selects: Jake Chapman, Graham Dolphin, Joachim Koester & Stefan A. Pedersen.
What do you look for in the artists you work with?
We look for artists who have an interest in using a variety of digital mediums. Artists whose work we perceive will speak to and engage an audience who will primarily view the work via the website. We work with artists who are known to us via the art world ecosystem and artists who collaborate well.
Are any new or young artists particularly exciting you right now?
I visit, tutor and lecture at many leading art schools and I am mightily impressed by recent encounters with graduates: Molly Palmer, Susannah Stark, Elliot Dodds, Jonathon Montagu, Alice Jacobs, Anna Grenman, to name but a few. As Curator of Film & Sound for Art Basel at Miami Beach, I get to discover new artists all the time, as many leading galleries send me links to their artists’ work and submit them for the programming that I have been curating for the last 7 years.
We have launched a new section on Daata called ‘Curated’, and this is conceived to work with other voices in the artworks and introduce artists we may not have collaborated with or even heard of before. We have started this off with curator Katherine Finerty and her exhibition Reuse, remix, recode: Digital identity politics and the Power of PL►Y, from which she has now introduced artist Phoebe Boswell to the site.
We are interested in all generations of artists, it is just that the newer generations of artists use digital means as a (generalised) more natural process — but not exclusively. I am always excited by the artists that I am working with and the potential of those I do not know.
Although in many ways you offer an alternative to the traditional physical gallery structure, have any particular galleries or institutions taken well to the concept of Daata Editions and provided strong support? Further to this, which spaces do you feel are really embracing the digital age?
We have had great support and collaborations with a variety of leading art fairs — NADA, Independent, Frieze, Expo Chicago, Chart — and these in turn bring us in direct parity and contact with the galleries that are selected for these fairs. There are galleries such as Arcadia Missa, Seventeen, Pilar Corrias, Bitforms, American Medium, Postmasters (to name just a few from the top of my head) who really get it and treat artists using digital mediums as equal to artists using any other medium.
We have had great support from the Hammer Museum, Julia Stoschek Collection, Zabludowicz Collection and KIASMA Finland, all of whom have acquired most of the works that were released initially on Daata Editions.
The digital world is constantly developing, have you found that Daata is required to evolve at a faster pace than other art platforms to keep up with this?
We set up Daata to be a platform to service artists who work with digital mediums and inherently the mediums will evolve and develop, but the internet is a rather established outlet so we see it as a hyper-normal method for display and distribution and are interested in propagating this. We are not really able to predict what future developments will sweep us all off our feet, but we believe we are perfectly placed to adapt and engage with whatever comes next.
Developments in the dot com / internet development world are super fast. But I see our project as an equivalent to websites like the Guardian or the online record store Sounds of the Universe (also designed by our designers Studio Scasascia) that provide a platform for the distribution of information and downloadable music. We are always open to new methods of collaboration and technologies.
We set up Daata to be an online equivalent of a gallery, but not trying to be a gallery. So we need to serve artists and audiences with a long term solution. We do not have a crystal ball on how the future will unpack, but we have informed instincts and these are how we can create solutions. The surprising fastest adopters of what we are trying to do are enlightened collectors, as they are often fascinated by the new, the innovative and the unexpected.
How has the relationship between art and digital development changed since Daata began? Do you have new challenges now?
In the short time since we started I have seen a move towards a greater desire for collaboration from potentially competitive or rival platforms. As we each have our own strengths and output I strongly believe that there has to be a wide array of similar platforms, much like there are similar galleries worldwide, as we can only ever have a finite capacity and indeed budget to commission and work with a limited number of artists at any time.
Our challenge is not about the future, but about what is around us and how we can convey what we are doing to audiences and that they can have a relationship with the artworks we distribute and display.
What do you see in the future for both Daata and the wider relationship between art and the digital?
Simply that the conversation of and around art made with digital mediums will move onto the conversation about the artwork and the artist — the artist is paramount and that was always the purpose of Daata, to be a leading voice and example in the landscape of online distribution platforms — and that we will be joined by many other fantastic players and their voices.
daata-editions.com/. All images courtesy the artist and Daata Editions.