The 4th edition of the Recto VRso festival took place in the Laval Virtual World on April 14-16, 2021.
Crédits photos : Laval Virtual / Virbela
On April 14-16, the international digital art festival Recto VRso took place online in the Laval Virtual World. Created in 2018 by the Laval Virtual exhibition, the festival was organizing its 4th edition. Let’s look back at this exclusive virtual event with Judith Guez, founder and curator.
Key figures of this 100% virtual Recto VRso
This year, the edition of Recto VRso was totally new. Facing the health crisis, the festival became a 100% virtual event. For Judith Guez and her team, it was “a challenge a completely new format”. The programme of this virtual edition included: conferences, live performances, meetings, seminars and exhibition spaces. “Normally, Recto VRso mostly proposes exhibitions. This year, we had a virtual 3-day conference programme!”, explains Judith.
In the end, 800 curious people registered to attend this 4th edition to discover digital art. 45 countries were represented among the visitors, speakers, exhibitors, artists and other professionals. 36 speakers carried out conferences, with still a high percentage of international people. In the “Areas”, we counted 40 exhibition spaces and 8 research-creation seminars. Finally, 30 artists exhibited online, presenting their artwork on the event website. Very good results for this premiere!
A large focus on digital art
The theme of the 4th edition of Recto VRso festival was: “Virtual Exhibition / Real Exhibition: Online art”. Artists, culture professionals and creators conducted reflections on artistic adaptations during the current period. How are works now distributed online? What happens to the artwork in virtual adaptations? What new artistic forms are emerging in these online spaces? This unique edition was also an opportunity to build a link with the history of digital art and Net Art. “We invited Maurice Benayoun, pioneering digital art artist, and who has been participating in Laval Virtual for many years, as well as Maxence Grugier, journalist, who is interested in historical evolutions of this domain”, tells Judith.
Other professionals from the cultural sector talked about hot topics, like Roei Amit from Réunion des Musées Nationaux – Grand Palais, Valérie Hasson-Benillouche from Galerie Charlot – one of the only digital art galeries in Paris. They gave lectures and questioned the virtual adaptations of museums and galeries, as well as the artwork status. The festival welcomed Yann Minh, pioneer of cyberspace and the first to explore the creation of virtual exhibition spaces.
In parallel, the Making Lemonade event took place, organized by the French Embassy of Korea, the Goethe Institut and the Art Center Nabi of Seoul. Some lines of thought were common to those of Recto VRso and concerned the diffusion of online art and its market. Participants “questioned the future of digital art, in relation with the current context”. All the conferences can be watched in replay.
Artistic effervescence has spread to the programme
Even if the edition was virtual, Judith Guez had at heart to propose moments to meet and enjoy artistic performances. During the 3 days, two artists collecive put on a show! On the first night, the collective In-Dialog, composed of artists, designers, developers and researchers, presented its latest project on live. “Birds of Springs” is an audio-visual performance, with poetic overtones, to be admired with contemplation.
For the closing night, Cookie Collective gave a live performance of Creative Coding. It is a form of algorithmic art creation; artist-developers use code and mathematical formulas in real time to make an image evolve. The performance took the form of battles: two people confront each other live for several minutes.
In addition to these moments of live artistic performance, the festival created about forty exhibition and meeting spaces for artists and professionals. Two exhibition spaces, the “Areas”, allowed participants to meet: the Recto VRso Area was a space for partners and art centres, where a selection of works from 2021 were also presented. The Research & Creation Area hosted schools, universities and laboratories with “a programme of seminars and project presentations“. And in this effervescence, “There was also a ThinkTank created by Marie Leblanc and Urszula Gleisner, with professionals from the art world around the issues of adaptation and virtual museums“, says Judith.
Let’s meet in July for the physical restitution
The Recto VRso festival is not over in 2021! In July, the second, smaller part of this 4th edition will take place in Laval (Mayenne, France): #2 Physical: Restitution. After the presentation of the artworks online, the idea is to place about ten of them in a real exhibition space. Judith Guez has also invited Rachel Seddoh and her team, who are working on the transposition of works with an ecological component.
Between these two virtual and physical moments, the Recto VRso team is also working on an exhibition and reflection catalogue for the period 2020-2021. “The idea is to show everything that emerges and the possibilities for exhibition and creation during this period,” enthusiastically states Judith. Next date for the Recto VRso digital art festival: 7 to 11 July 2021!