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Welcome to the View from Here: an experiment in long-distance collaboration, sharing our experience of lockdown

So many people are feeling the impact of social distancing, but at the same time the experience of lockdown is something that’s interestingly shared across the international community. We’re viewing this moment as an opportunity for an experiment in collaboration, bringing artists in quite different circumstances together in a creative exploration of one another’s experience of the current moment.

“Take an object, do something to it, do something else to it (repeat).” – Jasper Johns.

Now that “social distancing” has crash-landed in all of our vocabularies, it is important for us to find ways to find and nurture real human connections even as current circumstances push us apart. So many people all over the world are stuck in isolation right now, but at the same time we can share that experience as an international community and take the opportunity to show one another a little bit of the world as we are experiencing it.

With the world in “lockdown”, the Elisabeth Jones Art Center is proposing a project that makes and nurtures connections between artists, sharing a little of the world as they see it in a creative reinterpretive exchange. Through our national and international connections, we introduce two artists to each other. The artists share with one another something of the view from here—the world as they are experiencing it in this chaotic time—each taking that view and responding with a re-seeing, a reinterpretation, in the spirit of the Jasper Johns quote. The finished work will be exhibited at the Elisabeth Jones Art Center June 17, 2020 (pandemic permitting).

How the project works

First, one artist electronically shares the view from “here”: an artistic expression of the way they are seeing the world right now, from where they live. Then, their collaborator enhances that image, the pair exchanging creative reinterpretations to explore one another’s experience.

Then, each creates an analog representation of the digital exchange, the other’s experience as physical painting or sculpture. This is a difficult thing to do! But it has the potential to build rich, beyond-verbal connections between people in very different parts of the world, and allow us to share our experiences of this strange, new situation and band together in these uncertain times.