Friday, June 9, 2023

Artists are reinventing the way Covid-19 will shape the art world

Must read


While some artists burn out on screens, others have discovered that there are unique benefits of socially distant digital projects. On the one hand, the Internet is much more accessible than a SoHo gallery; for another, it is a living canvas. “The idea that works of art are finished once and for all is no longer tenable,” says concept artist Agnieszka Kurant. “They should evolve like living organisms and respond physically to changes that are taking place in society and in the world.”

Kurant demonstrates this concept in Conversions (2019-2021), an ever-evolving ‘paintings’ series that uses data from social media feeds owned by members of different protest movements, including Black Lives Matter, Women’s Strike in Poland and Extinction Rebellion. Each article uses AI to analyze the sentimental tone expressed through thousands of posts. This information is then transmitted via a computer simulation to a custom printed circuit board that heats layers of liquid crystals on top of a copper plate, their color patterns constantly evolving with the tones of voices cast on the internet.

The “paintings” from the series by conceptual artist Agnieszka Kurant Conversions change based on tone expressed in social media posts.

Photography: Galerie Agnieszka Kurant / Tanya Bonakdar

With the internet feeding so many works of art today, and with so few places open for people to view those works, why even bother turning them into a physical piece? For Denny, it’s an antidote to the relentless screen time started by the pandemic. “At first I was like ‘OK great, digital.’ I’m an artist interested in technology, ”Denny recalls. “And then, after a month, [I thought] “I never want to look at another website again.” I was more obsessed than ever with tactility, space, materiality and objects. For Kurant, tangible work does not consist in appropriating gallery real estate, but in redistributing capital. With Conversions, each time a crystal “picture” sells, a portion of the profits is redistributed to the social movements that inspired the original articles. “I want to divert the flow of excess capital from the art market,” Kurant says.

The pandemic has posed even greater hurdles for musicians, who, unlike visual artists, need an audience of sweaty bodies filling crowded concert halls. Singers like Phoebe Bridgers and Lianne La Havas have switched to streaming performances right from their bedrooms or even from the tub in an attempt to replicate intimacy with fans. While some parts of the internet love this content, it is definitely no substitute for live broadcasts. And the musician is suffering too, now juggling the impossible expectation of being a social media influencer in addition to a creator.

Experimental composer Holly Herndon explores the demands that online culture places on artists on her new podcast Interdependence, co-hosted with her partner, Mat Dryhurst. “We’re trying to move away from this idea of ​​the independent artist,” says Herndon. “I think what could be the future of the creative industry is rather than independent players arguing, a kind of network of interdependent players who could prove to be mutually beneficial.” Similar to Kurant, Herndon identifies a self-help system as essential to helping artists survive in a precarious economy. Herndon explains that these new networks would encourage creative collaboration, increase the visibility of new talent, and allow artists to seek fair compensation. All of this, however, depends on ending the pandemic and releasing musicians from their home-confined live streams, which Herndon says can be “so cranky.”

Just because artists are finding new ways to exhibit their work doesn’t mean street art is a relic of the past. As cities recalibrate to their new realities, the restructuring of public spaces has given more opportunities to some artists to show their work. Chashama, based in New York, encourages owners to allow artists to use the vacant space until it is rented. It’s a win-win: artists get the resources they need, and neighborhoods are seeing an increase in foot traffic (aka business).

Chashama’s model also creates community, which the nonprofit Problem Library tries to replicate in San Francisco. Recently, artist Vanha Lam, known for her work using folded paper and canvas, pitched at Problem Library her idea of ​​installing a large-scale indoor Zen rock garden that she would tend to use on a daily basis. Organizing Director Blake Conway found his space on the ground floor of the new Mira condo complex near the Embarcadero. Such large-scale projects, says Conway, “expand thinking about what is possible in these spaces.” Possible now – and possible in the future.

More WIRED stories


- Advertisement -spot_img

More articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest article