Last week saw the launch of Adobe's Museum of Digital Media (AMDM); an online viewing space that allows visitors to reflect on the impact of technology through its virtual exhibitions. The space itself is a curator's dream designed by Italian architect Filipo Innocenti with unlimited capacity, no walls and infinite creative possibilities. In the real world the building would occupy 57,680 square metres of prime real estate but in the virtual world its pod-filled towers soar 50 storeys above busy city scapes that simulate scenes from New York, Paris, Venice. Yet the museum is accessible to everyone everywhere 24/7 for free online, and a tour guide in the form of an amorphous-gliding-talking-eyeball is always available to take you on a building tour. As is to be expected of a company like Adobe, the production values of this tour and the building are high, with visuals and graphics that are exquisite. In this way the building's architectural excellence issues a challenge to artists invited to show in its atrium since they must demonstrate an understanding of digital media that is equally fresh and innovative.
The AMDM's inaugural exhibition is the solo show Valley by American artist Tony Oursler. It is a show designed to work with the expansive potential of the atrium, to mirror (or through the use of talking heads) even mock, the way we experience technology today. With the moving image and a virtual flow chart the visitor is invited to interact with seventeen areas of thought and activity related to the internet including categories such as Dark Side, Automaton, Shopping, and People. But despite Oursler's ghoulish mapping of the contemporary, the display is fractured and unsatisfying. It fails to deliver on the expectations established by the awesome museum infrastructure and its curator Tom Eccles. But this is the first of many more displays that promise to challenge and extend an ever expanding digital archive and this is a process that we are all invited to view. So, take a tour of the AMDM – visit the exhibition.