In 1972, John Berger co-produced Ways of Seeing as a four part documentary airing on Channel 1. Here he argued that the medium through which we view art is inseparable from the art itself. Eg, if you’re seeing a Ming dynasty vase being cooed over by Fiona Bruce on antiques roadshow, not only does ur tv become a fundamental part of that viewing experience, but so does the BBC 1 production team, and the adverts either side of the programme. 

I wonder if Berger ever imagined a time where screens would be our only way of consuming culture. Corona Virus has changed the arts; everyone and their uncle has an online exhibition. Who could have anticipated our current situation, where the internet is our only possible means of seeing art? What does this mean? Is there a difference between seeing art irl and online?

Our project, Remote Reviews, is dedicated to looking at these new online spaces, and trying to work out whether materiality has any impact on how meaningful art is today, or whether digital platforms, with the benefits of accessibility, have superseded the need for galleries & museums. We’re also going to try & explore how the online shift has impacted artists & non-profit spaces, as Covid-19 highlights the gulf in funding between public & private arts venues.

Cargo Collective

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