A trail of overlapping small browser windows that look like a glitchy trail on a light pink background. In the top right corner the text: ‘interfacing’ is in bold, followed by ‘On working together while being apart.’

 

[listen to page HERE]

 

INTERFACING

Interfacing is a guide that offers questions and ideas on how to approach online collaborations. Created by artist, designer, and facilitator Gary-Martin in 2020, it explores how we can make connections and work together while being physically apart.

With headings such as Rectangular time, Digital Movement and Being Messy, Interfacing sits somewhere between a poetic response and practical tool, giving prompts, suggestions and questions, rather than answers.

 

[link to INTERFACING]

A wonky browser window which contains the text: ‘in-ter-fac-ing’ in bold, followed by ‘verb (used with object): to bring together; connect or mesh’

 

BACKGROUND

It is argued that the concept of virtual space was first acknowledged following the development of linear perspective in 15th century Renaissance Art. It caused a shift in human psychology, placing the individual at the centre of their experience in the world. This new virtual reality, placed individuals in their own virtual space.

At a similar time, canvases were introduced for oil paintings, forming the concept of the rectangular screen as a portal of virtuality. This concept has become further cemented over time as rectangular space has become a familiar space of representation. As paintings hung on our wall, a feature film on the TV, or a scrolling content feed on your smartphone, rectangular space is a portal to a reality different to that of the physical world.

 

A wonky browser window which contains the text: ‘We move from face-to-face to inter-face.’A wonky browser window which contains the text: ‘Just because it can be done online, doesn’t mean it should be.’

 

This observation may be obvious, but it is important to highlight as we settle into a world where rectangular space plays host to real-time communication and person-to-person interactions for many people every single day. The tools that enable this aren’t new, they have been around since the turn of the century. But as Clay Shirky observed in Here Comes Everybody, “communications tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technologically boring” (2008).

And while these tools have reached a point of ubiquity, remote collaboration is only used when necessary; if in person collaboration is possible, it is always favoured. Up to the mid-19th century, face-to-face socialising was the only way. As social creatures, our communication mechanics have developed over thousands of years of evolution.

But as we navigate a world where for many people the line between URL and IRL are all but blurred, and our global village meets social barriers presented by hyperobjects* like Covid-19, we increasingly move from face-to-face to inter-face. And we are still in the process of figuring out how that works exactly. 

Interfacing is a guide that doesn’t have the answers. But it does ask questions, and offers considerations on how to approach online collaborations.

 

*Hyperobjects, a term coined by Timothy Morton, are vast, complex entities that are so large in scale and intricately connected that they transcend and challenge conventional notions of time and space.

 

A wonky browser window which contains the text: ‘online/offline’ with a line crossed through, followed by ‘onlife refers to the new experience of a hyperconnected reality within which it is no longer sensible to ask whether one may be online or offline. (Floridi, 20215)’

 

Elements from this exhibition, and the rest of our programme will be shared across our digital platforms. Find out more about Still Remote and follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss out.

 

Interfacing was commissioned by Site Sit in 2020, and developed in response to the digital art lab, Plugged In, that brought cross disciplinary artists together to explore digital tools, long-distance collaborations and relationships between physical/digital mobility.

 

An animation of small blank browser windows that multiply as they appear to be dragged across a light pink background, leaving a diagonal trail.

 

 

GARY-MARTIN

Artist Gary-Martin from the waist up on a light pink background, wearing a pale checked shirt and grey beanie hat with brown hair sticking out. He is holding a sign that reads: ‘I have something to say…’ Gary-Martin is an artist, designer, and facilitator whose socially engaged practice explores systems of consumption and creation, and the common ground between creative practice and political ecology. His creative practice playfully engages with the potentialities of objects and environments through participatory art, toolkit design, and audio-visual composition.

His work explores the way we create and consume things, and makes ideas about ecology accessible as art projects. He has designed toolkits and guides on areas like collaboration, facilitating creative expression, and organising arts communities. His work also examines the impact of internet cultures on how people make art, creating virtual festivals, a tour in a day, and songs for emerging community platforms.

His socially engaged work focuses on sustainability and broadening access to creative expression for people with diffabilities, turning unloved objects into instruments, forming co-op record labels and co-creating accessibility-first digital music instruments with/for young people in ALN* settings.

*Additional Learning Needs

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