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Curating with Algorithms

Mathew Caines ‘Interview with Edwin Coomasaru, Director, International New Media Gallery, Guardian Professional, 23 September 2014

Hi Edwin, can you tell me a bit about the International New Media Gallery?

Founded in 2012, the International New Media Gallery (INMG) is an online exhibition platform. Run by a team of volunteers, the INMG showcases the latest photography, moving image and digital art. A number of elements set the INMG apart from more traditional galleries but primarily we make contemporary art freely available on computers and mobile devices.

Why choose to take the gallery model online?

I founded the INMG to explore the potential of web-based technology to diversify and expand audiences for contemporary art. This meant rethinking the whole exhibition experience. Rather than using spaces with carefully coded rituals evoked by the grand neoclassical columns or pristine white walls that some find intimidating, why not give up some curatorial control and let each visitor decide in what kind of room or street they view the art?

Not that I’m naive about the impact of the internet on diversity; being online is no guarantee of visibility and the primary influencer of visitor demographics is education. This is why education is at the heart of the INMG: we publish extensive catalogues, free to download, and hold public talks with each exhibition. Presenting art alongside contextual information is important (even if it goes unread) to declare the right of uninformed visitors to be there. The educational aspect is also a learning resource for us, as curators and researchers.

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