Following the success of its netart commissions in 2000, Tate will launch new works by artists Heath Bunting and Susan Collins on 1 July. Tate’s website, www.tate.org.uk, now registers over 1.5 million unique users a year. As well as providing information on the four Tate galleries and the Tate Collection, Tate Online, sponsored by BT, continues to develop a distinct and identifiable programme, including exhibitions of work created specifically for this medium.
Heath Bunting will develop a new work in a series that is currently underway at www.irational.org/borderXing. In this series, he carries out border crossings in Europe, locating specific national boundaries and undertaking walks that traverse them without interruption from customs, immigration, or border police. The walks are documented with notes and photographs. Bunting’s walks recall the work of Hamish Fulton and Richard Long and can be seen as contributing to the tradition in conceptual art that takes as its subject themes of landscape and space. Crucially though, these walks question political, economical and juridical aspect of travel. The work will continue to develop throughout the year.
Susan Collins has initiated a development programme for a Tate in Space. At this stage of the programme, the Tate in Space website is the key route through which members of the public can follow developments, witness the architectural process, and follow the notional Tate Satellite orbiting earth every 92.56 minutes. The site explores ways in which a Tate in Space might extend visitor experience and engage new audiences. Tate in Space online will act as an arena for debate and reflection on the nature of art in space, raising questions about cultural and institutional ambition and the very human desires to observe and communicate.
Alongside these new works Tate has commissioned supporting texts. Florian Schneider will discuss the work of Heath Bunting and Paul Bonaventura will examine Susan Collins’s project. Josie Berry will provide a contextual overview for the works. These texts will be available on the Tate site on 1 July 2002.
As a twenty-first century network, the Tate galleries and Tate Online engage with the art of the past but also intervene in the debates and practices of the present, through Tate’s collection and displays, the public events programmes and the exhibitions and commissions. The website, powered by BT Openworld, has grown to be among the most successful museum sites in the world, with visitors from more than 140 countries in 2001. Since BT and BT Openworld became Tate Online’s partners, visitor figures have almost doubled, with May 2002 registering 197,00 unique visitors, the highest figure to date.