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Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

The Unilever Series: Tacita Dean






Nexus Production (Nexus Interactive Arts)


Innovative | Experimental


Tacita Dean FILM installed in the Turbine HallTacita Dean FILM installed in the Turbine HallThis website was created for The Unilever Series’ twelfth commission in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. British artist Tacita Dean created a new film work for the space: a silent 35mm looped film projected vertically onto a 13 metre high monolith.

Tacita Dean Video ScreenTacita Dean Video ScreenDean is famously a champion of analogue techniques and, in fact, the work (itself entitled FILM) is a celebration of film as a tactile medium. Many film effects that are now easy with digital technologies have their roots in painstaking handmade craftsmanship. Each frame in Dean’s film is manipulated by hand: collaged, coloured or cut. Creating a website for a project so resolutely about an analogue process, posed a challenge. Tate worked with Nexus Interactive Arts (NIA) to create an immersive website, working with and between analogue subject matter and digital technology to give an interactive user experience with rich content exploring what it means to make films on film today.

Tacita Dean Video ScreenTacita Dean Video ScreenThe top “layer” of the site is a video taking you through a series of cinematic tableaux, each one describing a part of the film making process. It shows a physical film set, built and filmed with a crew of filmmakers experienced in both analogue and digital formats. Using a long tracking shot, the video layer uses filmic lighting and analogue techniques such as stop-motion animation to bring a sense of tactility to the experience.

Tacita Dean commissioned content screenshotTacita Dean commissioned content screenshotTechnically, the website uses unique HTML5 techniques to create an edge-to-edge browser experience that acts as an interactive gateway to the content. It includes over 20 original articles and films especially created for the site with a range of film-makers and artists.

Tacita Dean commissioned content screensTacita Dean commissioned content screensThe innovative technical development of the site pushed the boundaries of browser compatibility and the quality of video that can be displayed as a base in this full-frame setting.  The main focus of the development was to achieve a balance of seamless navigation and user experience while maintaining the highest video quality and playback performance. 

Variations of the site will work for iPhone and iPad, allowing the widest accessibility and capitalising on the non-Flash development approach.


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