Inside Inspace

A new home for digital art in Edinburgh

Feature by Alex Cole | 29 Oct 2009

At the far end of the Edinburgh University campus, hidden in the shiny, mysterious new Informatics building, lies the future of new media galleries.

Inspace, a modern approach to public engagement facilities, is built for the 21st century and, it sometimes seems, inspired by both the Jetsons and Tron. Awash in projectors, camera, sound systems, copious wifi, robot dogs, and a curious sense that you’re about to be served by a robot maid, this is the ultimate performance ground for any new-tech installation project.

The gallery’s opening, held on 11 September, featured guest performances by the Cybraphon, a digitally controlled wardrobe playing music on Twittered command, as well as a massive Puffersphere displaying 360-degree content, rotating LED spheres made by visiting German artists displaying the earliest printed text in Scotland, a time-delayed wall/webcam of the many viewers, several robotic dogs which loved to be petted, and the kind of canapés that could only come from the future. All very slick, very impressive, and a collective slap in the face to anyone unaware of just what is possible with current digital technology.

The goal of Inspace is to raise awareness of the role of technology in society, biology, art, medicine and the humanities, and to put a 300-square-metre “shop-window” up for exhibitions, education events and the impressive efforts made by artists in residence and Informatics students.

When the initial opening euphoria wears off, it’s hard to say just what the new exhibition space will house – the whole point of the facility is to host surprising and unexpected exhibits. It’s also difficult to say whether artists will truly take advantage of everything the space has to offer. That said, this is Edinburgh, and if there’s anywhere welcoming to the weird, new and wonderful, it’s here.

Inspace is located on Crichton St, Edinburgh, EH8 9AB.