In this text, I try to set out my subjective vision and fantasize a bit about the future of art mobility based on dialogues, surveys and observation of the practices of my colleagues in the field of culture and creativity.
Lucy Nychai
May 2021
I will not immerse the reader deep in the topic of art residencies and art mobility, if you have skills in the topic, I advise this material, prepared by me a few years ago at the link (text in Ukrainian) Арт-резиденції як нове культурно-мистецьке явище
So, the times when we can touch the practical implementation of the theory of quantum polyreality - now.
Interviewing the participants of the DAM Conference 2021 - which was attended by representatives of the Ukrainian, European, Asian and American art communities - I found that within a year we have become accustomed to new tools and even practices of offline formats have come to terms with the fact that this is our new reality. Everyone is sure that we will return to normal life, but cyber reality is already an achievement of cultural and artistic projects and it will not disappear anywhere. In his presentation of the research, Luigi Galaimberti, a member of the Res Artis Council, the world's largest international art residency platform, cited a landmark example of the UK government's social advertising, a cyber future for art and a hint for artists to rethink their choices and perhaps retrain. I consider this message significant because it is a statement of one of the progressive countries in the field of cultural industries.
Slide from the presentation of Luigi Galimberti for DAM Conference 2021
Read about the reaction to this government advertising campaign from the art community here. Artists do not agree with the proposal to change the profession, so we are discussing cyber art)
Even today, managing cultural and creative projects is absolutely impossible without online and digitalization. The possibilities of communication platforms are growing, visualization tools are reaching a new level and most importantly, functionally, these tools are increasingly available to a variety of audiences.
That is, augmented and virtual reality, common website templates and various messengers have become accessible, popular and easy to use.
If we talk about the tools that are most often used by the organizers of international digital art residencies, they are, first of all, tools for communication. Most programs use e-mail, ZOOM, WhatsApp, Telegram, as well as various Google tools (Google Hangouts, Google Meet, Google Drive, Google Calendar) often use Instagram or Facebook for communication and presentations. The issue of presenting results is not always present in the programs, sometimes the goal is communication, exchange of experiences and impressions, advice, for the sake of feeling interested community - in the language of the virtual world - for empathy experience and mobility for ideas, such as Cel del Nord in its program Together, Separately. They contain reviews of artists about the process and impressions of the program as a result.
If, however, the programs are intended to present the works of residents, then here begins the most interesting. For the presentation of works, curators use different tools depending on the mediums and ideas of the artist.
This can be a residency page on Instagram or Facebook, which during the program becomes a platform for research and communication of the artist with the viewer, as in Speak AIR programs. Digital works or video documentation of performances, a series of works or other visualizations are posted on CO-Residence and DAR's own websites. DE: formal curators use separate sites to present projects on the platform WIX, which is considered the most functional for such tasks.
The closest to the classical - physical and museum-gallery world of art - are virtual platforms with imitation of exhibition spaces, as similar as possible, or absolutely identical to the existing ones. Such spaces have a suspension system, exhibition tables and captions to paintings. Here you can put 2D images, 3D sculptures, turn on music, videos and run an auto guide who will walk you through the exhibition. One of the virtual platforms I have tested is the platform Kunstmatrix -- developed by German programmers, who actively entered the market immediately with a commercial offer, because the idea from the beginning to make a tool convenient for art dealers to sell art. A similar site - ArtPlacer, by the way, thanks to the masters, the CEO appears in search of "kunstmatrix". Ukrainian product, which is also developing on the market - Pangram.
Screenshot from the exhibition "Two Dots", 2020. Created on the platform KUNSTMATRIX
There is a free public space - MozillaHubs, but there is uncertainty as to when this developer campaign will end. Here, any artist or developer can place their objects, spaces, galleries to present their work simply by registering. Unlike the previous examples, this platform has no walls - only what the artist himself will create can appear here. The advantage is that here you can communicate and experience a group experience. The only inconvenience - the viewer can get to your exhibition only by direct link. This is a very good training ground for getting used to the cyber future.
Screenshot from the opening of the exhibition "Artist is absent", 2020. Created on the platform MozillaHubs
There is also commercial digital "real estate" - plots on Metaverse sites - Somniumspase, Cryptovoxel, Decentraland, on which most art projects related to cryptocurrency focused. An interesting point is that the guest can walk around the digital city and come across the opening of the exhibition, as well as receive invitations or messages from the event platform. There is also plenty of public space available for free to visit. It looks like Tate Modern - available, free, but as the author to get there - options are not visible. Here everything is visible but expensive and the cost has grown incredibly over the past six months. This allows you to get used to the art market of the future.
The digital art world is quite friendly - there are different communities that allow you to be part of something successful or just enjoyable. The gaming element of the digital worlds is a very good marketing tool for spreading valuable or free experiences. By the way, everything virtual that affects your experiences is called experience, that is, the intangible that cannot be called an object, but only an impression of the object, and this is the main value of the three-dimensional digital universe. object in augmented reality. There is also an opportunity to exhibit works in group exhibitions on other people's sites, or to collaborate with artists - owners of digital galleries for joint events.
Ease of exchange and mutual support is due to several, in my opinion, the main elements: we share experiences, impressions and emotions, this exchange does not entail a logistical and legal train of problems, we pay with "toy" money as a child and, most importantly, there is a feeling that you are outside consumerist systems, you have a new set of needs and rules, you begin to differ.
It is in spaces like that I see an opportunity to create the most adequate digital experience of art residency programs.
There is an awareness that new tools are creating new art markets, and there are art critics, art dealers and art lobbyists, some are new thought leaders, and some are penetrating the physical world of art.
A new market is developing on the crypto art sales platforms - NFT. Foundation, Super Rare, Known Origin, Nifty, Gateway, Open Sea, Rarible, Marketplace, HEN, and others that are constantly appearing - they are primarily partially self-supervising or prescribing a "whitelist" for a certain logic of the sites, usually involving the community to co-moderate activities, responsibilities, and promotion. Classical scanned art as 2D objects also began to enter here. This market was especially fueled by the fact that one of the most famous auction houses, Christie's, was interested in the topic of crypto art and a demonstration auction, which had a million-dollar profit. On the positive side, digital art, which has always been an outsider in the large art market, has gained value and become valuable. Nikita Khudyakov, media artist, XR diver, teacher and culture manager, believes that the emergence of NFT - a form of a certified digital art object or cryptoart - can affect the very process of creating digital art, saying that "there is undeniable potential in how the process blockchain can be used in works of art, as well as algorithms and the materiality of the Internet in general, and over the next few years this process will be exciting. "
In the process of organizing my first virtual residency program, I randomly selected tools that could mimic a real cohabitation program - in terms of the communication for which my program exists in Nazar Voitovich Art Residence.
We used Google Drive as a basis for sharing materials, for daily communication Telegram and met weekly in ZOOM. During the program, residents mastered MozillaHubs tools and programs for creating digital objects and experiences. Finally, we moved the communication to MozillaHubs during the creation of a virtual exhibition space.
Even then, I had questions about the possibility of replacing these formats. And even then, in communication with residents, we discovered that it was a wonderful new experience, but it can not replace live communication. I received almost similar responses in the course of my survey among the conference participants. And Tom Milnes, founder of Digital Art Residence, said that online and virtual programs are best suited for digital art and that physical programs should not try to switch to this format.
But time encourages us to at least try, if not replace, then at least adapt programs to the virtual world.
Advantages of virtual and online art residency programs
In addition to some inconveniences, I tried to find out from the curators of the residences whether there are any advantages in the format and got convincing useful arguments:
Includes artists who cannot travel due to disability, money, family obligations, or paid work
The means by which artists who do not usually meet can meet because it is global. Opportunities are being created for artists who cannot obtain visas through their country of origin
Artists who postpone applying for a personal residence because they are distrustful or do not feel like members of the "art world" seem more willing to take a risk and join a virtual program
Inclusion of digital media
Opportunities for artists working in new media and digital art
Environmental friendliness
This is better for climate change
Then I had the following question about definitions and formulations - can we call digital program formats "mobility", can we more accurately say "globalization" - where location does not matter and it is a program of "global dialogues"? Tom Milnes argued that it is mobility because, "certain mobility ideas for digital art residencies are related to accessibility ideas for young artists and artists from around the world, for people without access to funding, young artists from marginalized backgrounds, and It is very good that over the last few years there have been people who are ready to support them. We can give a voice to people who work with the 3D Internet, as well as with art institutions. "
Indeed, digital mobility programs are the mobility of digital experiences and ideas. And the concept of residency is just a platform, an environment created by curators and managers to share this global experience.
And in fact the quality of the environment mainly depends on the quality of the internet connection and most importantly the participants of the programs.
A very interesting initiative as an example of a virtual environment, which I would call a residence, is the telegram group CryptoArt Ukraine, which was initiated by Nikita Khudyakov and already has 655 residents. It is a place where there is a mutual exchange of experiences, search for tools and mutual support both in finding the best solutions and in promoting each other. Journalists come here to write interview material from artists, curators and managers appear with suggestions, and artists exchange competitions and opportunities. And the most interesting thing is that on the basis of this community, joint accounts on Twitter and Instagram have already been created and the First Crypto Art Exhibition has been organized at Unit City in Kharkiv on 120 monitors - "Mac's field"
The future is today. Virtual platforms for communication and presentation are available and open. Residence programs, which remain mostly physical, have been given a new field of opportunity. Atr mobility has become more global than ever before. So, thanks to the crisis, we have new tools and this is an advantage, not a threat to the physical world of art.
Exploring new opportunities for mobility programs for the arts and the International Conference, which can be viewed at the links below, took place as part of my individual project with the support of the European Union in the House of Europe program (House of Europe)
For more information on the Conference program, see the link
Video conference with Ukrainian subtitles and consists of two sessions. We hope you find this experience useful.
session 1

session 2

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