A building constructed of concrete slabs with a sign reading “Hyper GIF 3D Gallery” awaits you beyond pixelized trees. An open door beckons. Within it, a description of the current show declares “Akihiko Taniguchi, solo show of GIFs.”
This is the entrance to a browser-based 3D art gallery. While the street you begin on consists of detailed high-rise buildings—across the street is a restaurant, and next to it a brick building appears to have flowers painted on it—the interior of the gallery itself is, much like physical art galleries, comprised of off-white walls, wooden floors, and black labels, leaving color the exclusive domain of the pixel art pieces themselves. A two-dimensional red piece of meat is elevated in the center of a room like a statue. In another room, abstract designs in blues, purples, and greens decorate the wall, like modern art meeting pop art.
A digital gallery of this sort may be the only way to effectively display pieces without putting them on screens in a physical gallery, creating a remove between the art and the viewer, and also without printing the GIFs on paper and fundamentally altering the nature of the work. While past digital art galleries have focused on either migrating traditional art to a digital medium or as venues to preview produce-on-demand physical copies of digital art, Taniguchi’s gallery seeks to keep digital art within a virtual space.