2020 - Pandemic Times


After following the development of art and culture in the context of the Internet since 1993 I am still fascinated: there seems to be no end to the sometimes surprising transformations in art and art criticism in this ever expanding field. The boundaries between media art and contemporary art, if they ever existed, are dissolving ever faster.

still stephanie syjuco trip down market street 03D video still from Stephanie Syjuco's Spectral City (Trip down market street) (2018)

What to say about this year... It often seems like we are all just leaves drifting in the wind with no certainty where we will land. 2020 will either go into history as the lockdown year, or as the year the lockdowns began. The covid19 pandemic has turned the world upside down. So many of us have been affected badly. I find it hard to talk about work or the developments within art in this situation, yet still so much happened and continues to develop, especially it seems in the context of 'online culture'. Though art institutions have been slow to recognize the possibilities (and pittfalls) of the new networks, luckily many artists, critics and curators were not and they could easily switch off and online spaces. I feel honored to have been part of some of the events they produced. It made the pandemic and the lockdown somewhat easier to bear. Net artist Olia Lialina asked me to write a text for her exhibition HOSTED at Arebyte gallery in London. Dutch art magazine Metropolis M commissioned me to write a semi-review of INFORMATION, the legendary exhibition at the MoMA in 1970. In June I led a conversation (struggling with the Zoom interface) entitled Critical Coding with the artist-researchers Nancy Mauro-Flude and Winnie Soon for LIMA Online. Upstream Gallery in Amsterdam asked me to be the curator of their last online exhibition in September. This became Appearances, a poetic show I am quite proud of, with the artists Addie Wagenknecht, Annie Abrahams & Daniel Pinheiro, Amy Alexander, Claudia Del & Jaume Clotet, Evelina Domnitch & Dimitry Gelfand, Knowbotiq Research, Nancy Mauro-Flude, PolakVanBekkum, Stephanie Syjuco, Valentina Gal, and Winnie Soon. Also in September I joined Planet Art for GOGBOT in Enschede again, where I curated and moderated a small symposium. In between all this, and in between lockdowns, I managed to travel to Berlin this summer to see the lovely exhibition Eintritt in ein Lebewesen, curated by Tilman Baumgärtel. I want to thank all the people involved here for lifting my spirits in this tough year.