In 2020, Samsung partnered with Niio, the premium platform for new media art, in a global art competition to discover the most inspiring digital art from around the world. Artists competed for the chance to be exhibited internationally on Samsung’s The Wall, a large and deluxe 4K MicroLED 4K digital art canvas.
“Samsung’s dedication to bold innovation has enabled us to offer users new technology with the power to transform experiences and challenge the limits of digital displays in commercial and residential spaces with quality content,” said declared Mary Peterson, Vice President, IT and Business Solutions, Samsung Electronics Canada. “Samsung’s partnership with Niio is a celebration of the artistic community and the convergence of artistic and technological exploration through next-generation digital art creations, all featured on The Wall.”
The collaboration with Niio was driven by Samsung’s commitment to visual display in all its forms, while supporting creativity and the arts. The competition demonstrated this commitment, with the artwork of the carefully selected winners to be displayed on the Samsung wall in select locations around the world, including the Samsung Experience Store at the CF Toronto Eaton Center – bringing every detail to life. vivid and vibrant images.
“Our mission at Niio is to make art more accessible to people seeking meaningful artistic experiences, while retaining the rarity and integrity that make it valuable to collectors and artists,” said Rob Anders, Co-Founder and CEO, Niio. “We were delighted to partner with Samsung to provide artists with the opportunity to share their work on the iconic and prestigious large-scale canvas, The Wall.”
The competition was open for entries in early 2020 under the theme ‘Digital Realism’, to show digital arts transcending the boundaries of artistic expression using The Wall’s innovative display technology. The open call received 494 art submissions from 59 countries which were then judged by a jury of professional art consultants and Samsung representatives.
In July 2020, Samsung was delighted to announce the winners of its contest with Niio. Among the winners there was Alex McLeod, a Toronto-based visual artist who creates works of interconnection, life cycles and empathy using the computer as a medium. Alex won third place for his moving picture work, “ The Gallery, ” which allows the viewer to experience an environment that first appears as an art exhibition, revealing something else in its display through rhythm and audio signals.
Samsung Canada recently had the opportunity to connect with Alex McLeod about his artwork and learn more about his experience at the Samsung The Wall X Niio Art Awards.
Q: What is your artistic practice, your background and your direction?
A: I do all of my work on the computer – virtual environments that range from tactility to abstraction. I did my undergraduate studies in drawing and painting at OCAD, but I have always had an affinity with digital work. After graduation I learned 3D software on my own and have been doing art ever since. I am interested in the invisible interconnection between matter and energy. The molecules that make up the worlds before us make up our world; the air we breathe has passed through countless lungs. There is something special about this. It’s like opening a portal to our own world.
Q: What was your experience with the Samsung The Wall X Niio Art Awards?
A: I never earn anything, but also, I never enter anything. Niio has been such an incredible supporter of time-based new media works, so when I saw the call in my inbox I felt maybe this was the right opportunity for me. I certainly didn’t expect to win. I’ve been doing this kind of art for over a decade now, and at the time, there weren’t many people there. Now there are some amazing people doing amazing things. It was truly an honor to have been selected.
Q: How do you see joining open international calls like the Samsung The Wall X Niio Art Awards bringing opportunities or positive impact to shortlisted artists?
A: I think in a number of ways it certainly helps legitimize the artist’s practice. Whenever an artist wins a major award, they are listed in the first line of their biography. Another way in which this is useful is to place the work in the eyes of the public and especially the jurors. It is increasingly difficult to have an impact by sharing the content we create; there are so many amazing content creators out there, but how could we all be seen? International appeals offer an advantage as jurors are required to view your submission. Even if your work is not selected, it may be more appropriate for something later.
Q: What is the impact of technology like Samsung’s The Wall on digital art?
A: Videographers were once confined to small cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and video tapes. Now, large screen televisions are often more economical than traditional printing and editing jobs. The wall further narrows the gap between creator and viewer. Presenting large-scale digital work once required projections and a dark room, which is not ideal. We’re in the early stages of digital and analog equalization, and it’s exciting.
Q: Can you share some information about your work, “La Galerie”?
A: Yes I did after my show, Ghost Stories. I was thinking about the place, the role of the exhibition and how to expand it. A handful of people outside of Toronto or Montreal were able to fly or drive to see the show in real life, however, recreating some aspect of it, virtually anyone with a an internet connection was able to take advantage of it. Of course, my sculptures didn’t come to life the way they do in the video and that’s why this medium is so wonderful; you can tell the viewer that you are in a familiar place, then take them to a magical place a moment later.
Q: How do you think digital art engages audiences emotionally, especially during the global pandemic?
A: I had the privilege of traveling often. I have watched so many videos on the internet of people walking in their streets or their forests. It’s a super wonderful stuff that only video and digital art can provide. It’s transportation without leaving your seat.
Q: How do you think display technology like Samsung’s The Wall and new media art platforms like Niio can inspire by providing seamless access to gallery-quality moving images to people around the world?
A: By providing seamless access to contemporary digital art, we are not only creating a balance between the digital and analog experience, but we are also paving the way for future creators to think without borders. Our virtual world can be anything we can imagine.
Alex McLeod’s winning artwork, along with the first and second place winners of the competition, will be on display in The Wall showcases around the world. Each piece of art will come to life on Samsung’s The Wall, the next generation of premium display technology, redefining what it means to deliver an immersive and luxurious viewing experience.
To learn more about The Wall, please visit samsung.com/ca/business/microsite/the-wall, or to take a virtual product tour, please visit displaysolutions.samsung.com/showcase/virtual-experience/the-wall.
Niio is the world’s leading digital art platform, connecting over 4,000 artists, galleries and collectors with art professionals and art lovers. Founded in 2014 by Rob Anders and Oren Moshe, the company’s mission is to empower media artists and inspire people around the world through seamless access to high quality moving images.
Thanks to its patented and secure technology, art professionals are able to save, showcase, publish and distribute their multiformat works. Collectors, consumers and businesses can discover, trade and display thousands of moving digital works on demand, on any type of digital screen or canvas.
Niio is headquartered in Tel Aviv, with operations in the United States, Asia and the United Kingdom, and clients in more than 40 countries. Download the Niio app on Android, IOS, Samsung Smart TV and on Niio.com.