DIGITAL: SUSTAINABLE FUTURE.

As the arts world moves online, is their an environmental impact. Caimhe Clements investigates…

By Caoimhe Clements: Arts Columnist


Relying on digital in the face of a crisis, provides a global network, smaller carbon footprint and keeping humanity connected.

How did this event impact how we experience art?

With a heavy heart museums and galleries across the globe closed their doors to the world last year. This industry started to experience challenges including; how to represent artists, keeping a strong presence and how to recover from a crisis.

Keeping a strong gallery presence is important to stay connected to their audiences. The solution was relying on digital platforms, from social media to the official websites of galleries and museums.

One may argue digital is the tool we will continue to highly depend on to find global success, if this is correct. Welcome to the future.

Speaking with Niamh McNally who is an Irish poet and writer, she expresses ‘digital exhibitions open many educational, political, social and economic doorways for a greater amount of people’. Further explaining that she personally enjoys taking part in digital exhibitions.

Digital exhibit is an opportunity to broaden your artistic experience, build a global network and challenge how we can experience art in a new way. Creating an experience for the audiences is based on decisions from scale to colour palette, these disciplines are challenged in a digital exhibition.

How can an individual grow in their artistic practice if they are not challenged?

Northern Ireland art student Leonie Smyth expresses ‘Help our carbon footprint and in times like these help prevent any unnecessary risk’, in relation to how digital exhibitions are arguably better for our environment.

Carbon Footprint refers to the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organisation or community.



Leonie continues to saya strong and connective online presence is important for any artist as this leads to global opportunities.’

Artists are adapting eco-friendly practices as a personal artistic response to the current event of climate change. Although some cultures have been implementing those eco-friendly principles to art work for centuries, this includes the Japanese culture, the art of Japanese fabric folding which started way back in (710-794).

Judith Guiney, a ceramic artist reflects on how good it is to see parts of the art world make steps to being more environmentally responsible.

When we speak of art, the term ‘sustainability’ takes on many meanings and public opinion on this social and economic movement has expanded dramatically in the past few decades.

Reinforcing sustainable practices have continued to evolve in the years since to reward those who follow sustainable practices and encourage adoption.

What does suitability mean to your practice?

The great work of artist Olafur Eliasson reflects highly on how artists use sustainable materials to underscore the danger of climate crisis. In his 2014 installation titled “Ice Watch,” the artist used large chunks of ice that had fallen off of a glacier as a call to action for the climate emergency.

Digital exhibitions will be an important part of the art world. The arts change as artists challenge create thinking and the action to produce work. Sustainability practice and digital exhibitions allow us to witness how the future of the art world might look at.

What does this challenge mean for your artistic practice?


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MACKAYAN: digital sustainable future