“The Grotto as a Gallery for Australian Contemporary Art” presented by Nelson

  • ©ISEA2016: 22nd International Symposium on Electronic Art, Peter Nelson, The Grotto as a Gallery for Australian Contemporary Art
  • Image from peteracnelson.com


Session Title:

  • Cultural Heritage and Politics

Presentation Title:

  • The Grotto as a Gallery for Australian Contemporary Art




  • Grottspace is a computer game environment where each level is an instantiation of a grotto art gallery, populated by an exhibition of Australian artists from the artist-run community. I have created exhibitions for Claudia Nicholson, Sarah Poulgrain + Llewellyn Millhouse and Philippe Vranjes. The medium of this project was a conglomerate of software that allowed for a specific location, artworks and supporting media to be kidnapped, and reassembled into something that I call an art gallery, that can be downloaded and played on a personal computer. Grottspace seeks to offer an art gallery that highlights its own lack of neutrality, and uses its history to enrich the presentation and reception of Australian contemporary art. This virtual grotto has been modeled and textured based on a 19th century grotto that still exists under a car park in inner Sydney. This site exemplifies the connection between the British invasion of Australia and the Picturesque theories of landscape that influenced the aesthetics and ideology of this process. In Grottspace I created a gallery that was overtly contaminated by history and context. I thought this might be an interesting way to present the work of my community — to put the art and the gallery together in a machine that amplifies a feedback loop of culture and context.