Curator Randy Winchester is excited about MIT's newest art gallery. Open since the beginning of IAP, it's free to students and accessible 24 hours a day. But it isn't in a campus building -- it's on television.
ArTtV runs on channel 8 on MIT Cable Television, which manages the 56 channels provided free to all on-campus dorm rooms, as well as various subscription services and several channels devoted to MIT content. While brainstorming ideas for an IAP project, Winchester, the team leader at MIT Cable, realized that one of those channels could be used to display student artwork.
"We can run anything that can be pasted into PowerPoint. That means that if you're an artist or photographer or visual designer, we can show your work," he said. But Winchester soon realized that PowerPoint's simplicity allows even more flexibility. "I thought, why limit it to the visual? What about writing and poetry? Pretty much anything you can fit into a 720-by-540 PowerPoint slide will look good on TV."
That led to a December call for submissions, which Winchester collated into a display that recently ran on the newly inaugurated ArTtV. Submissions from seven MIT students and affiliates included photographs and computer graphics, an illustrated story, paintings and a short video. A repeating slide show displayed each static image for about 15 seconds before moving on to the next one. Title slides identified the artists. The complete presentation lasted half an hour and ran around the clock during January, culminating in an online vote allowing viewers to choose their favorite work.
Beginning Feb. 11, ArTtV will begin a month-long exhibit of the paintings of Boston-based artist Bren Bataclan, which will show in the time slots between live MIT programming. After that, Winchester hopes to keep ArTtV running as a showcase for MIT and local artists. He urged students and affiliates to send in their art -- from poetry to travel photos.
"This is a community resource. It's simple and informal and it's a great way to reach an audience," Winchester said.
ArTtV's schedule and the guidelines for submitting work are available online at MIT Cable's web site, http://web.mit.edu/mitcable.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 11, 2004.