Publisher’s Letter: Going Offline and In Person
By GINNY VAN ALYEA
The internet has been on my mind lately, or more to the point, I cannot seem to get it out of my head. I know I am not alone; many of us have come to unconsciously inhabit an intangible, mobile place that dramatically determines how we see and interact with the physical world. Having both feet on the ground but a head in the ‘cloud’ has altered the speeds at which we seek and digest information, and it has shifted our ability to make decisions about that information.
I make fewer guesses than I used to; why guess when you can ask Alexa or Siri? I also experience fewer chance encounters and conversations. In an effort to try to always do and find out more, I’m often reading a screen on the go – on the bus, in the crosswalk, up the elevator. I should remember to look out the window at the wind, or up the street to see the changing daylight.
There are those who, maybe unconsciously, believe there’s always something better out there, from everyday shopping, to collecting art, even in romantic relationships. This internet-enabled always-searching but never-deciding mentality can be stressful, not to mention debilitating.
We also never get a break. Going offline for a little while is much harder than it sounds. It’s not only disconnecting from information, but also from our networks of friends. For anyone who encounters art, it’s tempting – practically second nature to anyone under 25 – to want to share what you see with others. But sharing doesn’t mean what it used to; it’s also become a means of soliciting praise and validation. What we see is registered immediately and then broadcast perhaps before we’ve taken the time to think about it. Our friends respond with likes and comments, but not so much in a dialogue. How can we be present in one place when we’re drawn to be everywhere at once?
This fall edition of CGN is packed with things we hope you will share in person: openings, show schedules, events, news, profiles, and of course images. Several art world players here are very skilled at doing real things that largely depend on personal interaction: Tony Karman has built a world class art fair. Jason Pickleman has amassed 1,000 works of art. Lisa Wainwright teaches her artistic worldview to SAIC students. PATRON is working with new artists after a year in business.
This season, try some form of self-imposed digital freedom, whether it’s turning your phone off in one studio or for an entire art fair. See art up close and in person. Think about what it says to you, at least for a minute before you share it with someone else.