• Lydia Espinoza

Digital Connectedness & Community

The internet, or more so, social media have become vital tools to stay connected. This has made me think about how we are keeping in touch and maintaining our sense of community right now as well as how we will continue to do so post-COVID. I have to admit I have not always been so technologically savvy. I avidly avoided facebook until my junior year of college and it was only because my best friend decided it was time for me to join the digital realm and signed me up. I have since embraced the online world and social media has become my second language. I have even developed a practice around documenting and sharing my art adventures and curatorial practice on my social media platforms. I find it all so fascinating and my questions around it during this time even more so. What's so great about it is that you can connect with people, reference something instantly, or even learn. I find this particularly significant in the world of art because it can build audiences, share ideas and news, and provide another avenue for connectedness.

Even before the quarantine went into place, I was already open to the idea of a digital studio visit. I believed it was viable option in special circumstances but wasn't exactly sure what it would look like. Well, now here I am in the midst of one of those special circumstances. I am happy to share that I had my first digital studio visit this past week with artist Anna Garner. We used the House Party app and even screen-shared a presentation of her work. What I enjoyed most about this visit was the experience itself. Naturally, I had questions leading up to the visit about how it would differ from that of an in-person visit. But as we went through the session, I found myself totally engaged and no longer concerned about it being an online meeting. Garner set up a fantastic presentation detailing her latest series of photographic works. The dynamism of the colors, shadows and shapes were not lost as we scrolled through the presentation. And just like all my other studio visits, I began to ask questions and discuss the work in depth with Garner. It was great. I left the studio visit on super positive note and with a renewed sense of possibility for the future. I am ready and look forward to the next studio visit!

Although, nothing can truly replace an in-person experience, I think that the digital realm can aid us during this time in keeping our community together and keeping our work moving forward. I also think that we can continue using these tools beyond the quarantine to extend our communities and make sharing our work accessible to an even wider audience.

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