The Space: A Summer of English Arts on a New Experimental Platform

This Olympiad summer, the arts in the UK will be consolidated onto a single online platform called The Space. What’s more? The content on The Space is being provided for free! There’s room, or more fittingly, seats for all, at venues such as the World Shakespeare Festival or Yayoi Kusama’s Obliteration Room at the Tate.

“The Space is a new way to access and experience all of the arts – for free.

Available on computer, tablet, smartphone and connected TV, The Space invites you to take part in the biggest summer of arts the UK has ever seen, whenever you want it and wherever you happen to be. ”

The Arts Council England in partnership with the BBC created The Space as a way for people from all over the world to experience the country’s rich and dynamic arts scene. In effect, a summer of English arts to all! (Albeit without the English summer and its cool Constable Skies).  So The Space is certainly something to look forward too because it will feature some of the UK’s best theatrical productions, dances, musical performances, art exhibits, poetry readings, along with content that has been specifically created for the platform.

Through the course of the summer, the performances staged in theatre, dance, film, and music will be showcased via recordings and live streaming while exhibitions at museums and galleries will be presented via behind-the-scenes footage, photographs, and interviews with artists and curators. The Space will also feature experimental and interactive digital art that can be experienced on the platform itself. Finally, for poetry and literature, there will be a variety of formats, including podcasts, poetry readings, and interactive audio-visual timelines such as the 60 Years in 60 Poems.

While live streaming and online exhibits aren’t entirely new to the performing or visual arts, the presentation of all the arts, all at once, and in one place, is certainly a novelty.  As such, The Space is truly remarkable because it is no ordinary task to fit an entire country’s arts scene onto a single platform! If other countries too made their arts available on interactive, well designed platforms, the internet would surely be a destination in itself. Perhaps the introduction of The Space suggests that it already is?!

The Space also signals another significant trend; the quality of arts being made available online continues to improve. Whether it is in opera, film, or even, educational art history, we are privy to some great material. At the same time, the problem with the online format is that there are times when our Google searches are less than serendipitous and our social networks less than social. On such days, we miss out on a lot of online events, projects, and experiments.

Yet on The Space, what will remain certain is most certainly the art. And at the end of each adequately sunny day across the Atlantic, the platform will be populated with new content for visitors to see, hear, read, and experience. Moreover, the content on this living library of the arts will be available until October. After that, it will be time, once again, to continue our search for the arts on the virtual infinity of the internet (The outer Space).