The Zium Society Creates Digital Spaces for Digital Artworks
About Zium itch.io page, the expression Zium receives two definitions. “A virtual gallery game, made up of eclectic and wonderful things,” it reads. “Kind of like a zine, but the video game version of the museum,” the opposite read. In other words, at the heart of the Venn diagram between galleries, museums and video games, you may discover a Zium.
Curator Michael Berto launched the first Zium, the Zium Museum, in 2017. “I really like art galleries,” he says, almost instantly once we start talking. A fairly easy inspiration, but many others have been layered in as well. “I was definitely inspired by what was happening in games, especially things [game designer] Pippin Barr was doing. Really deconstruct what an art gallery is. For example, Barr had recently launched a digital gallery that featured dozens of water textures taken from different Unity sports engine video games and asset packs.
Other video games also toyed with the idea of museums as part of their larger whole. In an end from 2011 Stanley’s parable, the participant can discover a museum that highlights the sport itself, giving it a meta twist. “It just blew my mind,” Berto says. “I was like, ‘Oh, I would love to do something like that.'”
And he did. With the freedom to create his own digital gallery, he was also able to tap into the inspirations he noticed every day. “One of the main motivations was just looking on Twitter and seeing [artwork] which I was very much in love with. … They would show a gif of a 3D model, and I would say, I want to look at this in all its facets. the Zium Museum was a strategy to achieve precisely that, with players able to walk around the house and view these digital works of art from any angle.
Since MuseumBerto and dozens of collaborators launched two additional Ziums, the Garden and the Gallery. The basic precept has remained the same – in the Gallery, for example, there are great 3D figures created by Joost Eggermont. Players can exit the gallery completely, stepping into the great past void for a better look at themselves. “The gallery sort of disappears, and suddenly you’re almost looking at a picture or a painting…I like that you’re just still, there’s your artwork, and it’s your own personal context,” says Berto.
Asking more about being allowed to roam the void, I called the gallery exit a “secret,” knowing there were a few hidden in the Ziums. Berto identified that it doesn’t really matter, as long as there are indicators that explicitly tell you what you can take out on the outside. But, he mentioned, speaking more specifically about my own emotions, “I really like that you’re not supposed to do this because you’re kind of breaking the rules.”
In other words, the Ziums feel close enough to a physical gallery that, if anything plays with the format, offers an intriguing new layer. But Berto leaves just as much behind as the contributing artists, especially in the new releases. “In Zium Museum, I was like, ‘Oh, the thing is, it’s in the video game engine, so you should be able to interact with everything,’ he said. Now he’s completely happy just putting work on the wall – and there’s a lot of nice ones in the Gallery. But most artists choose to do one thing with the format, resulting in a large number of types of artwork.
Two of my favorite shows in the Zium Gallery play with the digital-physical divide in a very alternative way. Graffam’s Cat object permanence is a sequence of polaroids, painted in acrylic. They exist, physically, separate from Zium, and often their physicality is part of the affirmation. Graffam lives with ADHD and clusters of complications, each influencing their reminiscence. “I collect stuff as overcompensation for my lack of ability to remember important moments, saving them as trigger objects so I can keep at least a slice of my past,” reads part of their the description of the sequence.
“So it’s kind of funny that it exists in a virtual space,” they tell me. “While this may seem at odds with the physical nature of Polaroids and paintings, I believe they can still effectively exist in a digital realm.” They worked with Berto to include both an effective reflection of how objects look in a body gallery and additional points for the digital model, such as how the centerpiece extends outward into the room, creating an optical fantasy that wouldn’t maintain the same energy in real life. The mixture seems to me to be one of many Zium Gallerythe greatest representations of its potential.
The different is that of Julián Palacios I hope to see you again once. Walk down a hallway Gallery, I walked into a room that was basically a completely different sport. Described by Palacios as an “immersive music video”, I hope to see you again once is a trance-like exploration of a track, a prep station, and a goodbye. This is one of the many points of the Gallery which could in no way be recreated physically. But it’s also kind of enhanced by the feeling of going from a near-ordinary building to a surreal dreamscape.
Palacios, which revealed different video games that simulate the mist of reminiscence and objectives like Promised, sees the Zium as an amazing alternative for artists to “try out new ideas”. He considers another basically complete game in the Zium as his favorite example, Arcadia under constructionwhich is a prequel to an individually launched sport, Even in Arcadia.
Digital exhibits have grown in popularity over the past couple of years, and not just because museums were looking for ways to coping with the pandemic. Other game developers made them, art collectors manufacture them, and even fortnite been try The format. But there are nevertheless a variety of possibilities for experimentation.
One of Berto’s favorite contributions to the Gallery is the work of LaumeB, where a primarily personal work room also opens, from the appropriate angle, to a second house that projects the artwork into a room of its own. Between exploring myself and talking with the various artists involved, I feel like Zium have only scratched the ground of methods by which they can blend the physicality of their inspirations with their digital actuality. Berto is engaged on a VR model of the Gallery – to start, including another layer to what the Ziums already get by mixing the 2 together. “It’s not quite like being in a real gallery and not quite a computer game gallery – it’s like this other weird thing,” he said.
And this mix adds another layer to what Berto loves about galleries in the first place. “A gallery is like a supermarket of ideas,” he says. “One moment you’re immersed in a vision of the French Revolution, and the next you’re in front of a box of laundry soap with a teddy bear inside. Dalí The Metamorphosis of Narcissus one floor below Andy Warhol Cow Wallpaper.” Or, within the Zium Gallerya misty, interpretive one-story boardwalk simulator that extends into a full-fledged room, where large sculptures peer through the house’s windows.
“In a gallery you so often find a kind of variety that really excites the imagination – and the consciousness – in a pure way,” says Berto. In the Ziums, this selection takes on a whole new format.