During the last six months, we’ve really adapted the ways we connect with each other. With our group studio closed and the chances to meet up limited, we’ve used phone calls and texts, emails, and Facebook. We’ve sent and received work by post and we’ve had some interesting Zoom sessions (as well as some frustrating ones).
It’s fantastic that we have all of this technology at the tips of our fingers, but I think for a lot of us, it’s not as straightforward as it initially seemed at the start of the Pandemic. The detachment that being behind a screen creates seems to be heightened when we think about the ways we usually connect. A talk about art and life, in the context of the studio, becomes a mutual discussion and an exchange of words as well as the unspoken ways we communicate. In conversation, we play off each other, subconsciously using body language and subtle signs to gauge how the other party might be feeling or where the next step of the conversation should go.
Spontaneous discussions happen, someone asks for feedback, this sparks another conversation and the sharing of influences. Often real-life creeps in, and stories emerge and truths are shared. The exchanges are fluid and empathetic and the studio becomes a safe place where you can share your experience, and feel understood.
We don’t have this right now. Conversations happen but in a slower and more reserved way. In this context, the screen feels like a barrier, a screen which may be shielding us from danger, but one that also shields us from human emotion, chance encounters, and everything that goes along with us being together.
And in the same way, it’s shielding us from developing artwork together, in the interconnected way we usually work, a very human form of expression which doesn’t seem to translate across the lines of digital communication somehow.
So, we’ll carry on using these new ways to communicate and try to find ways to bring in the humanity that we’re all missing. And we’ll just hope that in the not too distant future we can return to the fluidity, expression, and safety that the studio brings.