The stage for public art in London just keeps getting bigger and bigger, at least from a digital standpoint. Earlier this year, Europe’s largest billboard located in London’s Piccadilly Circus was taken over by digital artworks thanks to CIRCA. Just half a mile away, London’s Denmark Street area is undergoing a £1 billion revamp, which will include the world’s largest digital canvas.
Measuring in at 2,000 square metres, the digital canvas will boast 360-degree screens with 8K resolution that will illuminate the street with art. The project is spearheaded by Outernet, which is overseeing the redevelopment of Denmark Street, also known as Tin Pan Alley, once London’s music epicentre. Expected to be completed in the autumn of next year, Tin Pan Alley will gain new bars, restaurants, office and retail space, flats, a boutique hotel, designated busking areas, and one of the largest new music venues to be built in London since the 1940s.
The massive screen will be the focal point of a cube structure that will be used, as you might expect, for advertising and promotional stunts, but it will also feature artworks by various artists. To oversee the artistic facet of the screen, Outernet has brought in artist Marco Brambilla to curate a public art programme to compliment the anticipated hustle and bustle of the area.
“At this scale I don’t think there is anything like this in the world which is so exciting,” said Brambilla of the project according to The Guardian. “Once it starts, hopefully it will become like the Turbine Hall. Think of those epic installations which we all remember like Olafur Eliasson’s Weather Project and Bruce Nauman’s sound installation. The ambition of it is to create a series of installations similar to that.”
Ascending to the level of the Turbine Hall at Tate is a tall order, however, Denmark Street’s screen could pull it off as contemporary artist Marina Abramović, a powerhouse in today’s art world, will be among the inaugural artists to grace the project’s digital canvas. In addition to Abramović, Bruce Conner’s film Crossroads is part of the line up along with digital readymades.
Brambilla likened the screen to a window as the technology offers such a high resolution that the ultra-sharp images are “almost lifelike.” He continued, stating: “The technology just keeps getting better and better and I think it’s got to the point where the technology is not part of the conversation, it becomes about whatever material we want to show.”
“Outernet Arts is about creating somewhere works can be displayed that is inclusive and accessible for everyone, and Marco is the perfect person to lead all of this. He is inspirational and a true creative visionary,” said Outernet Global CEO Philip O’Ferrall, who referred to the digital canvas as “epic.”
Once completed, the Denmark Street project is likely to transform the spot just down from Tottenham Court Road Station, and perhaps the glow of the massive screen will be part of the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. In the meantime, if you’re looking for large-scale digital art around London, new works by Barcelon-based artist Daniela Ortiz and California artist Cauleen Smith, curated by Elvira Dyangani Ose, will be presented in Piccadilly Circus.
Edited November 6th: feature image adjusted.