In “Artists and Curators Share Pro-Tips for Successful Virtual Studio Visits,” Rea McNamara (Hyperallergic) features artists and curators who weigh in on the benefits of screen-sharing, PDFs, personalized Zoom backgrounds, and other tips. One of these is Marsha Pearce, a curator and visual art scholar who hails from Trinidad and Tobago. Pearce explains:
In May 2020, I initiated a conversation series titled Quarantine and Art (or Q&A), which ran for four months and featured 26 creative practitioners. The series was conceived as a number of virtual studio visits with artists from the Caribbean and its Diaspora. The world had gone into lockdown, and I found myself thinking about community and intimacy — how I could leverage the virtual environment, and mobilize a deep interest in art practice as a portal between spaces of “here” and “there.” However, the Q&A virtual visits do more than bridge a geographical divide, offering an opportunity for both curator/researcher and artist to recalibrate their focus and consider the poetics of a shared moment.
Online engagements also invite a revisiting of how we understand (im)materiality. The digital domain can dull sensations of texture, scale, and even color in the mediated experience of physical artworks — rendering them immaterial. However, (im)materiality comes into play in other ways. Listening intently and probing something mentioned in passing can transform seemingly insignificant references (so-called “immaterial” information) into significant insights. The “material” shows up in this way.
Virtual studio visits are also a possible means to rethink power structures. How might we reimagine artworld relationships in this “new normal”? I have found the online “visit” to be an opportunity to look beyond a digital veil to a present humanity. When I engage it, I try to imagine a world, in bell hooks’ words, “where a vision of mutuality is the ethos shaping our interaction.”
[Photo above: Virtual studio visit between curator and visual culture scholar Marsha Pearce and artist Richard Mark Rawlins (courtesy Marsha Pearce).]
For full article, see Hyperallergic.