Art, it seems, still needs its access and appeal widening. It still needs to reach young people – and the ICA, that hotbed of hype and hipness, has come up with a new way of getting it to them: via their Playstation Portables. Because if the youngsters won’t come to the art, then make the art downloadable and PSP compatible.
From today, gamers more used to getting the latest shoot ‘em up for their console can download ICA: The Show – Episode 1 , a ten-minute magazine-type film in four segments – a feature, film, music and design. It’s supposed to be different from the kind of culture show that crops up on TV – you know, those unloved half-hour long to-camera patchwork shows that pass prettily but vacantly through a series of arts and culture items without saying much about any of them.
How different can ICA: The Show really be? It’s shorter, certainly. You’ve got to want to watch it, because you’ve got to download it – you can’t rely on this shot of the arts accidentally slipping into your consciousness just because it happens to be on before Desperate Housewives. And… it’s the ICA, the brand that says “different – or die trying to be.” Episode 1 features onedotzero “the annual digital creativity festival”, a look at Mirrormask and New York band Battles all squashed into a ten minute package that is meant to be watched while on the go: not exactly like carrying a piece of the ICA in your pocket – where, for example, is the draught Budvar and the boys in black-framed glasses propping up the bar with the latest copy of Adbusters? But for a collaboration between a static, real-space contemporary arts institution and a portable, wireless games console / digital media station, it’s not a bad start.
There’s talk about boundaries being pushed, of the often insular and elitist art world forming “a new and lasting relationship with a community of visually aware young opinion formers.” There’s an excited murmur of phrases such as “diverse audiences” and how clever this collaboration is as it literally puts art and culture into people’s hands. But that’s by the by; what’s most important to ask is… is it any good? Because that’s what matters in all this arts and stuff, be it downloaded and in your handbag or hanging on a wall in a gallery with restricted viewing times – that’s the only question that matters.
Any PSP owners who would like to do a joint viewing with an ICA follower, please contact us here at Londonist: because, you know, we love a good juxtaposition of aesthetic notions realigned through the manipulation and, dare we say it, exploitation of the raw and as yet unshaped meta-narratives of the new New Media. Yeah.