“In all the arts there is a physical component which can no longer be considered or treated as it used to be, which cannot remain unaffected by our modern knowledge and power. For the last twenty years neither matter nor space nor time has been what it was from time immemorial. We must expect great innovations to transform the entire technique of the arts, thereby affecting artistic invention itself and perhaps even bringing about an amazing change in our very notion of art.”

Paul Valéry, Pièces sur L’Art, Le Conquete de l’ubiquite, 1931.
Quoted by Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, 1936.

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Does Valéry’s sentiment have a true meaning or does it only gain meaning when interpreted, in this case by Benjamin? Does the entire citation gain a new meaning when read by each reader? In short, does meaning emerge from an artifact at the level of the work or at the level of the interpretation?

This is a question that is central to the exploration of art as a concept and it is the primary focus of Impressions of MoMA (iMoMA).

iMoMa is a virtual museum. It will consist solely of photographs of works found within the Museum of Modern Art. While such a museum is nothing new—MoMA themselves have a virtual gallery of all their items—iMoMA will focus on the impressions of visitors to the museum.

For each item in MoMA’s collection, iMoMA will have a website displaying photographs visitors to MoMA have taken of that item, capturing their own unique impression of the art MoMA has on display.

The result will be a pastiche of images that will force the viewer to critique their own relationship to the artwork in the photographs. Furthermore, the viewer will have to question whether or not the photographs themselves are works of art. In this way, iMoMA is designed to educate viewers not only about the artwork in the photographs, but about art in general and the ways in which the Internet can change how we both see and perceive it.

Submissions to iMoMA will be collected via the Internet through a website established for the project.

iMoMA is designed by Travis and Brady Hammond who will handle all aspects of making iMoMA a reality. Travis Hammond is the art director for a private auction house specializing in the sale of rare antique dolls. Brady Hammond is a web developer and works with distance education.