The UK’s first permanent immersive digital art gallery will open next year with an exhibition of AI space imagery, courtesy of NASA

The UK is getting its first permanent immersive digital art gallery. The space, which opens in Coventry in April 2022, comes as experiential light shows like the Van Gogh Experience attract millions of visitors across the world. Eager to get in on the action, local authorities and the national government are supporting the Reel Store, which will occupy the former home of the Coventry Evening Telegraph newspaper.

The Reel Store’s inaugural exhibition will feature a project by rising digital art star Refik Anadol. The show, “Machine Memoirs: Space”, is the product of a long-term collaboration with NASA. His arrival coincides with Coventry’s tenure as Britain’s city of culture and host of this year’s Turner Prize exhibition.

To create the artwork, Anadol uses AI to sort and analyze two million publicly available images of space taken by NASA’s satellites, telescopes and International Space Station. Then, its AI produces new digital interpretations of the far reaches of outer space. The resulting images will be presented in a “cinematic 360 experience” accompanied by “3-D audio”, according to organizers.

“‘Machine Memoirs: Space’ invites us to dream of an alternate universe where machines collaborate with humans to speculate on our existence and create an alternate future,” the artist said in a statement. “It’s a hopeful future where machines and humanity, in combination, are healing agents.”

The Telegraph Hotel, home of the Reel Store. Photo courtesy of The Telegraph Hotel, London.

The Reel Store takes its name from the former life of the building (reels of newspapers were stored there before being printed). The post-war building is typical of the 1960s architecture that comprises much of Coventry city centre. The gallery will house an in-space adaptive sound system and an 800 square meter (8,610 square foot) fixed projection mapping canvas with 14 4K laser projectors.

While many emerging artists work with NFTs, non-commercial spaces capable of exhibiting their technically demanding work are rare. The support for the gallery, which is backed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Coventry City Council, demonstrates the authorities’ growing belief that such projects can serve as an economic driver for a region. .

“The key for me,” said David Welsh, cabinet member for the arts at Coventry City Council, “is that while we know it will be a fabulous attraction for visitors, all of our communities in Coventry will also have a completely unique artistic place at their doorstep.”

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