Despite the lack of physical involvement, it can be a lot of work setting up a virtual booth. How much work really depends on what you're willing to put into it. There is much to be gained, for example, by offering the text about your artists and their work in multiple languages, VIP being a truly global event. And while we have English, Spanish, Turkish, Russian, and even a bit of French, German, Irish, and Italian among those of us in the gallery, you try to translate "fantastic compositions depicting organic, inorganic, synthesizable, theoretically feasible and nano-nonsensical molecules" into all those tongues. (Yes, I know, the obvious rejoinder is "why don't you try writing that in solid English first." :-)
As I've noted before, for our gallery, VIP 1.0 was a really big success. And, as with other art fairs, after you've been through it once, all the logistics are actually easier the second time.
But yes, as was widely reported, there were some challenges when VIP launched its inaugural edition. As Will Brand has noted on Art Fag City, though, the team behind the world's first online art fair has taken some serious steps to ensure smoother sailing this year:
this year the fair will be on Amazon’s EC2 cloud. VIP, though, is going further than that, forming an internal tech team from scratch to re-design every piece of the site. “Every piece of code has been rebuilt internally,” Kennedy told AFC, from the database architecture to the front-end. Thankfully, this includes chat, which last year ranged from moderately dysfunctional to actively debilitating.
The second step is the user experience. VIP has hired a full-time User Experience Director, a sign of their seriousness about improving the interface and a step more websites ought to take.
The thing is, as any art fair organizer can tell you, sh*t happens during these events. (The electricity went out in a 3-block radius just as we were beginning a tour for some very important people at the Moving Image London, for example. In the first NADA Art Fair, the lights went out as well, and we were showing paintings by flash light.) The question to my mind has never been "did everything go perfectly," but "how did the organizers handle it when issues cropped up"?
As we approach the launch of VIP 2.0, and virtually pop in and out of our booth, the experience just gets better and better. We are sincerely impressed with how the VIP team has moved the venture forward. I hope you'll join us online and see for yourself.
Dates: February 3 – 8, 2012
Times: Begins at 8:00 AM EST on February 3
Ends at 11:59 PM EST on February 8
Tickets: Visiting VIP 2.0 is free with site registration and login.
Register for access to VIP 2.0
Labels: vip art fair