Defrag is a new event series curated by Jake Charles Rees in collaboration with Somerset House Studios that explores the role “technology plays in the development, production and consumption of art and culture.” The series will invite current Somerset residents as well as invited guests to discuss and unpick the contemporary human experience seeped in “confusion, control, creativity, appropriation and resilience.”
The first talk will be an in conversation between The White Pube (artist, critic and curator duo) and Werkflow, who are currently residents at the Studios where they will discuss the creation and consumption of art through the lens of social media and other commercial technologies.
With time (or lack there of) playing a key role in how we move about in our daily lives, heading to a gallery to see a show can sometimes feel heavy in the efforts of planning a day out rather than a casual encounter. Online artist residencies and social media takeovers are increasingly common, and they make a lot of sense. Whether you are the artist or the viewer, there are positives associated with its wide reaching and instantaneous capabilities.
Integrating art viewing into a daily scrolling ritual not only moves more fluidly with the scroller, it situates that experience alongside a number of other narratives and platforms. These spaces are often set up as an attractive alternative to the glass ceiling of galleries and institutions that legitimise ones practice through the power of its reputation. While there is still a level of administration, coding and labour in the back end of an online exhibition, these spaces often provide a more accessible and less costly platform to experiment and support emerging artists.
There is also the reality of self-publishing and the need to keep up with the immediacy and autonomy of self-sharing. The potential for decentralising the art conversation and opening up an international dialogue is there, but the internet is not a separate space from ourselves. It’s rather an extension that carries with it the same politics of the real world, raising similar questions: What is the currency and value of labour on the internet? What’s the difference when work is shared through an organisation rather than the individual? The online residency is a comparatively recent practice, and one that is continuing to grow.
Here are some online residencies, in no particular order, worth a scroll-through:
Muhammad and de la Puente’s White Pube personalities span across other social media outlets, gaining a following from their playful and accessible approach to art criticism. The programme began in 2015 as a space for both artists to share their thoughts publicly. A desire to expand the conversation and to create an opportunity to “shine light on people we think need fairy lights around their heads” led to its current form. They are now office residents at London’s LUX.
Run by artist Fabio Santacroce, the Bari-based project space gets its name from the multi-floor staircase it uses to hold exhibitions and events. 63rd-77 STEPS was started in 2014 with Amalia Ulman‘s Landing Talk, since extending into off-site locations and its own website hosting online projects. Each space is chosen for site-specific reasons and a curatorial aim to explore “the periphery” both spatially and metaphorically.
The Basel-based art space, run by the Christoph Merian Foundation, began in 2011 and provides curators with a space for two years to carry out projects. In 2015, it began running an online programme, beginning with web residency # 1, Juliette Bonneviot‘s Xenoestrogens. The projects are placed within the webpage scroll among other events and announcements, and take the form of a dropdown.
The new web residency is part of Akademie Schloss-Post and invites artists to apply for a four-week slot on the webpage to explore a digital project. The residency began in 2016, and funds successful applicants through an open-call process, asking them to respond to a theme.
Run by Marenka Krasomil, the online space supports the process stage of developing concepts and ideas, with an aim to “have fun.” They are currently hosting ‘[Middle Class]‘ (2016) by Andrew de Freitas and the current resident is Lina Hermsdorf. Past projects include Verena Issel‘s chat-based online soap opera exploring voyeurism and self-profiling, and Balz Isler‘s daily online drawings. After the residency is finished, the work is taken down and exists on in screenshot format.
Run by Epp Õlekõrs and Keiu Krikmann, the Tallinn-based non profit gallery occupies two spaces: a small physical one in the city centre and konstanet.com. With a focus on “international collaborations” with emerging artists, the aim is to merge both realms and develop a conversation between the two spaces. Current residents are Maria Metsalu + Nikola Knezevic, who worked together to create dreamy Vimeo sequences, you can click back and forth between.**
The fourth edition of Art Licks Weekendis on across London, running September 30 to October 2.
Happening at various locations around London and free to all, the three day art and culture festival will be host to a number of artist-run projects, young galleries and curatorial collectives that are at an early stage of their career. Bringing together contributions from emerging artists, the festival aims to celebrate the “grassroots projects [that contribute] to the cultural life of London.”
The press release frames the evening within a humorous yet succinct message that declares: “The White Pube is tired of white ppl, white walls, and white wine. So for one night only, we are hosting brown ppl, white walls and chai. Come and view work by brown artists in a real vacuum, where brown-ness is banal, where you can O.O the art without the white-iarchy lookin over ur shoulder, askin if they can eat ur Other.”