Over 312K recorded deaths globally. Over 34k in UK, where there are signs of slowing, but every one is a personal tragedy.
I have made many more calls on my time and attention this week on external activities that would normally be made face to face. Now mainstream video conferencing apps that we knew nothing of 8 weeks ago, bleep me with my appointments. Apologies to those whose bleep I have missed. Zoom and Teams have been productive, or as productive as they can be with so many people not at work physically or having been ‘furloughed’ (another new word to the vocabulary).
For arts people under lockdown there is nowhere to physically participate, art galleries, cinemas, theatres, music venues nowhere. A recent tweet from a vibrant and innovative cinema programmer, locked down with two 5 year-old children put the condition many are in: ‘I can’t remember what job I used to do. I think it was something to do with pictures in a screen. Moving flickering lights. Sound too.’ David Baldwin, Mac Cinema, Birmingham.
Laura Cumming and Charlotte Higgins. The Guardian
Through instagrammed alerts from arts colleagues and follow on references two articles have helped me consider where we are as museums and art galleries are closed and the curators, managers, support staff and thousands of visitors are left bereft :
Rather than bemoan the state we find ourselves in they paint constructive ways forward that can considered as we see post lockdown possibilities and beyond to arts gatherings. An historic reminder that post world war two UK society decided that arts and culture were important for the future and established the Arts Council and the Festival of Britain. Food for thought.
Lockdown (art) Television
Interestingly two of the newly produced lockdown programmes on television that have encouraged participation and have been enjoyed by many are arts focussed: Grayson Perry’s ‘Art Club’ and BBC Arts ‘Life Drawing Live’. It seems the great British public want more art. Art Club is from GP’s, not the doctors surgery, but Grayson’s studio with his partner Phillipa and a mix of celebs doing art and public submissions for inclusion in a post lockdown exhibition as record of . There have been heart-warming moments of emotional exchange that art has brought to the host and active artists. The first transmission of Life Drawing Live was pre coronavirus February, and a little scoffed at as a titillating gimmick by BBC Arts and Avanti producers. Well in lockdown 8, thousands upon thousands of people drew and submitted their work to the BBC collection centre. The hosts introduced life models in poses from various artistic traditions and took the participating artist’s, at appropriate social distances through 30sec, 1min, 6, 10 and 12 minute poses. The option of ‘pose cam’ on the red button was available to home drawers to focus on an unmediated relationship to the drawing. As a lockdown experience it worked well. My daughter and I drew live, sharing our drawings and comments by text – 90 minutes of live life-drawing, via television worked in Lockdown Britain.
I did not share my drawings with BBC, but have done so with SUPA who have mounted a ‘lucky dip’ art postcard lottery. When you enter you’ll be randomly assigned one of our Supa Dip postcards; original works of postcard art created by celebrated and emerging artists.
All profits go to Women’s Aid who are providing vital services in lockdown and beyond.
BCU, Birmingham School of Art #Printgang
I did share one of the drawings with the Print gang who had also taken part in the TV event. Both drawings were clearly of the same subject, but with their own particular mark making approach. They were also shared with @msnorabruno, a ‘printgang’ alumni who video called in from Northern Italy and shared her thoughts on the lockdown experience as we’ll as showed us her impressive home made silkscreen printing press she had researched through https://www.t-shirtforums.com. Inspiring. Printgang is such a good session where we draw, plan and make prints for a future where we will make prints in our post lockdown selected media.
Lockdown Looking Out
Looking out has not progressed far! Only to consider setting the detailed digital drawing of the weeping tree in the visual context of the window through which I am looking out of. Maybe too literal? Still more to come on this drawing. Maybe title change? Lookout Lockdown?
Academic research is slow! I have a couple of projects to complete which are close, but I have not progressed the wider areas of knowledge that are calling me. It does not make me feel good or productive. When Patricia Thomson’s Monday morning Lockdown blog opened with a monitor filled with large text: DO MORE I was dismayed. Of course, she was to explain that she has got a ‘case of what I could acronym FONDA – Fear Of Not Doing Anything. I see much more clearly now how I am prone to think I have done absolutely nothing at the end of the working day. She has been working hard daily, but it does not feel like it and she feels guilty because of it. She concludes that: ‘maybe the first step towards changing the academic guilt regime is to be aware of it. And making a kind of very late new year public resolution to try to get over myself and it.‘
FONDA is a crock. FONDA begone.