During the Covid-19 lockdown, we have been called to adjust our everyday realities instantaneously. Over the last few months (depending on which part of the world you are coming from), the phrase ‘social distancing’ has become the norm. Bound to the domestic environment, we have created new forms of public and private spaces. Out of necessity, we are using technologies, which already existed, even more to communicate with our colleagues and loved ones. New cultural initiatives have emerged, as a response to theatres being shut, the postponement of musical events and cultural festivals. As audience members, we are now able to visit our favourite museums virtually, and watch theatre and dance performances streamed online. In these extraordinary times, we are called to adjust to new realities, be it working from home, communicating more via online platforms, creating new places - virtual and physical - to exist in. The way that we position our bodies towards the screen of our computer, the way that we position this object and our bodies in the room that we are in, in order to participate in these events, or to communicate with our colleagues and loved ones, is an act of orientation. When we are ‘visiting’ an exhibition online, or ‘being’ in an online meeting, we are creating a new place. We bring our imagined geographies into this virtual space, and we exist in them momentarily.
Together / Apart: Going New Places, explores these new imagined realities. At a first level, this is achieved via the chosen mode, the online exhibition and the two parallel online events attached to it. The exhibition raises questions on the notions of ‘togetherness’, ‘alienation’, ‘distance’, the ‘public and private space’, and the new meanings that these thematics may have acquired through the conditions of lockdown and the social distancing regulations imposed by governments. The seven participating artists (Hun Adamoglu, Michalis Charalambous, Demetra Kallitsi, Panayiotis Mina, Alexandros Pissourios, Mala Siamtani, Natali Yiaxi), are called to respond to the new realities of Cyprus and the UK, through an assemblage of contemporary art mediums.
The two parallel events delve into the general thematic of the exhibition, inferring to the title, and raise questions about the post-pandemic era and its effects to the society, the urban environment and the arts. At a panel discussion with the artists, we discuss the ever so current issue of the mobility of the arts. At the round-table discussion we debate the changes that have incurred in public spaces, and the effects that social distancing may have on public art.
Cited text: Rachel Hann (2019). Beyond Scenography, Routledge