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Life During (and After) Covid-19 - Artistic Strategies and Breakthrough Responses

Posted by the ThoughtWorks Arts Team
Sunday, 8 November 2020

Program director Ellen Pearlman moderated The Grid panel Life During (and After) Covid-19 - Artistic Strategies and Breakthrough Responses.

The live panel discussion focused on how the current global pandemic has impacted art institutions, collaborative work, and audience involvement, especially in relation to innovative indy-led network solutions. 

Panelists Kristina Maurer (Senior Producer European Cooperation, Ars Electronica), Mattie Barber-Bockelman (Programs & Projects Manager, CultureHub) Sarah Weaver and (Director, NowNet Arts), Michael De Cock (Artistic Head, Royal Flemish Theatre) shared how their respective organizations responded and adapted to the vexing constraints of the lockdown - highlighting how technology was initially a form of crisis management but quickly evolved into opportunities developing unique collaborative remote solutions.

Flyer for The grid: Exposure

All of the speakers touched upon the challenges of creating new platforms that could both highlight their unique programming while also circumventing common streaming limitations, including a space for audience input.

Ellen Pearlman illustrated how Art-A-Hack’s Special Edition COVID-19 2020 “Dancedemic” (a remote and collaborative live-performance which utilized biometrics on dancers) worked to both display live time biometric data from the performers, input using sound and video from virtual collaborators across the globe and engage audience members. This approach provided audience feedback - something integral in any performance but not easily captured through online viewership.

The discussion also contextualized the challenges of each represented art organization based on the governing and funding or lack of structure of their respective countries, and how that support (or lack of support) was handled, while simultaneously factoring in how Covid-19 was (and continues to be) managed.

This virtual event was co-hosted by ThoughtWorks Arts and EUNIC NY and was part of a The Grid’s four-day conference Exposure: Art + Tech + Policy Days in conjunction with the In Kepler’s Gardens project of Ars Electronica. All the events took place entirely online mobilizing artists, technologists, and policymakers from around the world to explore innovative ways to reconnect the world within the constraints of Covid-19.

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