Interview with James Smith from this is tomorrow
Posted by Lorena Muñoz-Alonso on 21st September 2011
In only two years of existence, the online art magazine this is tomorrow has become an essential daily read for all those interested in the international contemporary art scene. The brainchild of James Smith, it grants access to a world-wide selection of exhibitions -carefully handpicked due to its currency, quality and relevance- thoroughly documented and reviewed by a growing pool of writers. All available in just one click! We meet with this former artist cum enterpreneur from London to discuss his project, the advantages of internet-based media, exciting artists and... Scrabble.
You started this is tomorrow two years ago. How did you come up with the idea and what is the specific ethos of the project?
The idea of the project was born out of a real sense of frustration. Here we were with one of the greatest tools for disseminating and discussing art ever invented and institutions, artists and funders were not (and to some extent are still not) exploring the possibilities with any true vigour. Art has to engage with the present to remain relevant and I felt that this emergent technology was being ignored. Thus the ethos of the site is to simply display artwork online in the best possible way and disseminate it to the widest possible audience. Not every one has the time or is even in the same location as these shows and events, we want to offer, albeit in a small way, a chance to experience the work.
James Smith and his inseparable laptop
Rise Art is also an online venture dedicated art, in which the interaction and say of the community is essential, since they decide the artists we produce limited edition prints with. What advantages do you see to working within the Internet realm?
There are many advantages, but in a perverse way I think the key is to do less, to do more. The Internet offers so many new ways to approach information that the temptation is to employ them all. However at the heart of any of these tools has to be the notion of the audience and the question of how best to work with them.
What other online venture/projects do you follow?
The art world projects I tend to follow are the vitrolic Cathedral of Shit, the wonderful SelfSelector, the art market innovators Artspace, archivist’s extraordinaire UbuWeb, online curatorial pioneer or-bits.com. I also follow a few tech blogs such as Mashable.
Given your knowledge of the international art scene, which institutions or galleries do you find most exciting at this very moment?
I am going to say that UK institutions are leading the way in terms of what I consider most exciting in the art world right now. In no particular order, Eastside Projects in Birmingham for redefining what it means to curate and challenge the very boundaries of exhibition making. In London, David Roberts Art Foundation for their redefinition of what it means to run a private collection with intelligence as well as a wallet; Raven Row for all the art it helps us re-discover and finally, Auto-Italia South East (the ones to watch).
Tell me a few names of artists whose work you absolutely love.
Seth Price is a genius, gelitin for that moment when I need an aesthetic poke in the eye, Tino Sehgal when I need the opposite, Oliver Laric - finally an artist who articulates the impact of digital media in the wider world, Cyprien Gaillard, Taryn Simon, Lundahl & Seitl… All brilliant, and out there for discovery!
What can we find you doing (or where) when you are not working on your magazine or looking at art?
Hmm, I live almost totally nomadically so it can be hard to find me. In my spare time I am currently addicted to online scrabble.
James Smith is the founder and editor in chief of the online art magazine this is tomorrow