A Case for Digital Art

New media artists are creating some of the most innovative and exciting art today. But how do you find a platform for work that only exists on a screen? The art marketplace, Daata Editions, has the answer and they want to share it with you.

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The concept of digital art is a much-debated topic. For collectors, the idea of buying a work that's not a physical object can be hard to grasp, and that makes it difficult for galleries to show the art in question. But the fact of the matter is that digital art is some of the most weirdly wonderful, smart work being made by young artists today. They just need a platform for it.

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That's where Daata Editions comes in. The pioneering online marketplace commissions 18 video, sound, and internet artists to create six new works each season. Launched last year, and now in its second series, which was released last week, Daata has worked with established artists such as Tracey Emin and up-and-comers like Chloe Wise and Amalia Ulman. Paradoxical filmmaker Jon Rafman is even giving away his Daata commission for free!

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The most important part is that Daata is giving these artists the ability to create works that might not otherwise be made. And for that, we should all be grateful!

Here, a sampling of eight of our favorite artists with fresh, new works created through Daata Editions. 

Artist: Chloe Wise (b.1990)

Work: "we've been drinking since noon," 2015

What She's All About: The Canada-born, New York-based artist Chloe Wise first made waves in the art world with her faux designer bread bags (imagine a Chanel bag covered in pancakes!), but she's also become known for her multimedia works.

As part of Daata Editions' first group of artist commissions, Wise created a series with sound bites heard at Art Basel Miami Beach (an excerpt from one part is seen here). The video follows a woman as she drinks Red Bull at the beach, gazes into a mirror wearing a pink tracksuit, and sends a text message from a flip phone, among other things. By examining these absurd and self-conscious activities, Wise takes on our social personas.

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Artist: Jacolby Satterwhite (b. 1986)

Work: "En Plein Air Abstraction #1," 2016

What He's All About: Making a name for himself in the realm of video art with his work at the 2014 Whitney Biennial, Jacolby Satterwhite's utopian works explore memory and personal history in surreal virtual spaces. His latest series, "En Plein Air Abstraction," takes on movie tropes, queer eroticism, and themes from disaster films.

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Artist: Jon Rafman (b.1981)

Work: "Oh the Humanity," 2015

What He's All About: Best known for his works using Google Street View, which find contradictions between technology and human experience (such as an image that shows the same man in two places on one stretch of sidewalk), Jon Rafman's work is both melancholic and humorous. His commission for Daata Editions, free to anyone who wishes to download it, features an overcrowded sea of people animated in a wave motion to a soundtrack of eerie techno spa music. It's one of those things that you kind of just have to check it out for yourself.

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Artist: Jonathan Monaghan (b. 1986)

Work: "Earthly Delight," 2016

What He's All About: Jonathan Monaghan's work hovers between the real, the imagined, and the virtual, exploring the ideas of wealth and technology. Part of Daata Editions' second season and through a partnership with New York's Bitforms Gallery, Monaghan created the computer animated "Earthly Delight," a play on the creation myth on commercialism.

Artists: Leo Gabin, a collaboration between Lieven Deconinck, Gaëtan Begerem, and Robin De Vooght, (est. 2000)

Work: "Girlhood," 2015

What They're All About: This Belgian trio gives new meaning to artworks made from found objects: By splicing together amateur YouTube videos, the group makes a commentary on how individuals, especially American youth, put on certain characters, performing for their digital audience.

Artist: Michael Manning (b. 1985)

Work: "Chill Late Night Hang Out," 2016

What He's All About: Michael Manning works across sculpture, painting, and video. His post-analog art explores the differences between material and digital works. For his Daata Editions commission, Manning created a series called "Activity Playlist." Meant to function much like a screensaver, these works set a certain mood and can be paired with your playlist of choice (but the artist suggests Post Malone, Pink Floyd, Ducktails, and Jamie xx).

Artist: Sara Ludy (b. 1980)

Work: "Glass Dragons 1," 2016

What She's All About: Sara Ludy's digital works explore the relationship between the physical and the virtual worlds. Her Daata Editions commission seeks a spiritual connection to technology through the cosmic and serpentine movement of the relief.

Artist: Takeshi Murata (b. 1974)

Work: "OM Passenger," 2015

What He's All About: Exploring the themes of media narratives from film, advertising, and pop culture, Takeshi Murata manipulates and criticizes the imagery and ideas in consumer culture. In a series of vignettes for Daata Editions, the artist appropriates media archetypes like Popeye and a cartoon witch (a Kabuki-Disney villain hybrid) in absurd and abbreviated fairy tales.

See daata-editions.com for more information on how to buy something!

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