you're reading...
Articles in English

The Exhibit and SoFLaFoto: virtual platforms of artistic opportunities

By: Yenny Hernández and William Riera

The global health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic not only forced us to experience prolonged social isolation amidst the rhythmic pounding of uncertainties in our chest, but it also dissolved the physical walls of galleries and exhibitions, replacing them with online exhibitions. The internet has made it possible to explore new ways of exhibiting online, in the short term as well as the long term, reaching audiences wherever they are.

Culture in these times of pandemic has turned out to be a timely incentive to face the new social reality that we have struggled to embrace for lack of any other possibility on the horizon. Artists, curators, dealers, galleries, museums, cultural centers, and art lovers in general, have sought and generated alternative solutions and services from the virtual world. They took up the challenge of sharing their exhibition projects in different ways, both in design and implementation: from setting up an exhibition within the walls of a room to developing curatorial strategies by using a monitor in order to create a digital presentation that needs to be attractive and fresh, engaging without being overwhelming, dynamic and user-friendly, accessible to any viewer regardless of their cultural and geographic horizon.

Despite the fact that online exhibitions were already trending in the art world as early as last year and were embraced by a large majority of galleries and museums, the move to digital exhibition formats took longer to materialize. That was the case of The Exhibit (https://theexhibit.io), based in New Zealand, which has been offering its platform since 2018 as a socializing portal for virtual exhibition projects. But their business certainly blossomed overnight in the light of the global pandemic when many artists, curators, galleries, and cultural institutions found their virtual solution strategies to be an effective means to display works of art in an easy, economical and accessible way, not only geographically but through the very diverse options offered by different electronic devices in modern days life.

« Octubre »

The period of confinement contributed to the realization of the South Florida Latin American Photography Forum (SoFLaFoto) project. William Riera, a Cuban American photographer based in Miami since 1995, had been concerned for a while by the absence of unifying spaces for the promotion and research in the area of photographic art in South Florida. He wanted to create a platform whose primary objective was the visualization and promotion of Latin American photography: to show photographs that reflects the life of the Latino community both within the United States and in the different countries of origin of said community.

Therefore, the SoFLaFoto project emerges as a platform that takes on the challenge of locating, collecting, organizing, and sharing information related to the works of photographers who have documented, or are documenting the life of the Latino community, and also the works of those who have documented or are documenting the Latin American region (Hispanic America, Brazil, and Haiti) addressing the many issues that are relevant to the community such as memory, history, diaspora, immigration, identity, family, religion, gender issues, racism, addiction, inequality, LGBTQ rights, etc., all within the realms of contemporary, documentary and street photography. In addition, the project seeks to collaborate with Latin American artists, curators, and researchers in the field of photography.

Currently, SoFLaFoto provides an online presence on the Facebook (@soflafoto) and Instagram (@soflafoto) platforms, but in the near future it will have its own website with an online directory of artists, information about their works, as well as a wide range of informative resources on Latin American photography.

Taking into consideration the direction where the art world was moving forward, SoFLaFoto embarked in a process of researching different curatorial and exhibition strategies associated with social media networks like Instagram and Facebook. As a result, SoFLaFoto chose TheExhibit as the most suitable platform for its virtual exhibition projects on the basis of simplicity, availability, costs and accessibility. The scope of these online shows is limitless, helping artists reach a large, new and diverse audience, beyond their own networks, thus providing additional connections and exposure.

TheExhibit and SoFLaFoto offers to those of us who are dedicated to the fascinating universe of photography and curatorial experimentation not only the opportunity of a virtual platform but also a new set of challenges for each new project. It has certainly been an enriching and professional experience. We have examined the new online exhibition formats and the new associated strategies of communication, implementation, and promotion, the new ways of exchanging and sharing information, and how to engage, encourage and inspire the viewers beyond the opening day. We also took up the challenge of conceptualizing the curatorial work for the exhibitions in an attractive, coherent, and functional way available on the internet, visually capturing the interest of the viewer and encouraging them to connect with the exhibition and its content as a space of experimentation and a means of sharing the author’s approach.

« La enfermedad sobre la enfermedad en La Habana »

Thanks to the sponsorship of SoFLaFoto and the large array of possibilities offered by TheExhibit to enhance the exhibition experience, so far, we have developed three virtual photography exhibitions. The first one, entitled Octubre (https://theexhibit.io/exhibition/octubre), available for viewing on the platform from June 28th, 2020 to July 31st, 2020. This photography series of the same name by photographer William Riera (@wrieraphoto) highlights the color red as a common thread both visually and as a statement of the works of art. This series constitutes a kind of personal travelog of the artist as he passed through Russia in 2019, where the memories that he kept from that period of time, touched him body and soul and coincided with the strong presence of that country in the Cuban culture as well as the education of the artist. The artworks in this project are unmistakably the reflection of a current nostalgic look, which from an artistic perspective, has struck a chord with its creator.

The second virtual exhibition, “When the memory turns to dust” (an English version of the original Spanish title “Cuando el recuerdo se convierte en polvo”), by Cuban visual artist Ricardo Miguel Hernández (@ r.miguelon84), opened to the public from August 1st to October 30th, 2020 (https://theexhibit.io/exhibition/cuando-el-recuerdo-se-convierte-en-polvo), is deeply rooted in the work on archives that the artist has been developing for some years by collecting old photographs taken between the twenties and eighties of the past century, to later construct a new aesthetic and conceptual statement from the fragments and clippings of photographs that he has been working with. His photocollages constitute a metaphorical polysemy about social memory, where Cuba plays a major part in this exercise of reformulation of new visual codes that the artist is carrying out.

Finally, the third online exhibition is entitled “Hold Still: Pandemic in Havana”(an English version of the original title in Spanish “La enfermedad sobre la enfermedad en La Habana”), by Cuban photographer Manuel Almenares (@manuelalmenares_visual), available on The Exhibit from January 15th to February 28th, 2021 ( https://theexhibit.io/exhibition/hold-still-pandemic-in-havana ). This exhibition displays a selection of works of the photographic essay carried out by its author in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic in his hometown of Havana, through which he reproduces scenarios of endurance and coexistence of the Cuban people facing an extreme health crisis. His essay stands out for the discerning and sharp vision displayed in each scene, for perpetuating frames that are well known to many Cubans differently, this time with a certain halo of regret and sadness.

Beyond any doubt, these exhibitions made us grow as art professionals. It allowed us to explore and undertake different methods and paths for a successful implementation of the new dynamics for presenting art exhibitions today. It led us to reinvent our views and methods of curating an art exhibition finding new and richer perspectives in digital curation practices. As a result, we have widened our scope significantly in terms of accessibility and involvement, and for us as curators and cultural managers we were successful in reaching the right balance. TheExhibit and SoFlaFoto are ideal platforms to conquer global audiences, to create spaces for professional exchange, to share ideas and projects with a wide lens, to meet other industry professionals, and to open ourselves to the world and to new perspectives on contemporary art and digital curation. We hope that virtual exhibitions will be seriously considered in the future, and not just as a temporary solution for an art industry in crisis, caused by a health threat. They should grow in scope and scale, transforming these virtual strategies into spaces for communication and dialogue, a solution for the arts of the twenty-first century.

Discussion

Pas encore de commentaire.

Votre commentaire

Entrez vos coordonnées ci-dessous ou cliquez sur une icône pour vous connecter:

Logo WordPress.com

Vous commentez à l’aide de votre compte WordPress.com. Déconnexion /  Changer )

Photo Google

Vous commentez à l’aide de votre compte Google. Déconnexion /  Changer )

Image Twitter

Vous commentez à l’aide de votre compte Twitter. Déconnexion /  Changer )

Photo Facebook

Vous commentez à l’aide de votre compte Facebook. Déconnexion /  Changer )

Connexion à %s

Retrouvez toute l’information sur le marché de l’art

artprice
%d blogueurs aiment cette page :