Art galleries, writers and publishing houses, cultural institutions and arts events facing cancellation are offering online options for art lovers and for the artists themselves – because the show must go on. Art offers us an escape from our bubbles, something else to enjoy or ponder over.
Let’s be honest, even once attending events and exhibitions is permitted, there is likely to be a reluctance for a while. Social distancing will take some time to no longer be either a habit or a behaviour that makes us feel safe.
While Standing Room Only is off air during the lockdown, here are some of the sites that are offering us a blast of creativity and something else to discuss with friends and family when conversations may be running dry.
Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra
The APO has a series of Encore Livestreams of previous performances throughout April.
April 9 - 8pm
APO Encore Livestream: Manon Lescaut
The Trusts Community Foundation Opera in Concert: Puccini’s Manon Lescaut
April 16 - 8pm
APO Encore Livestream: Shostakovich
Shostakovich’s Symphony No.5
April 23 - 8pm
APO Encore Livestream: Don Giovanni
The Trust’s Community Foundation Opera in Concert: Mozart’s Don Giovanni
Let Me Be Frank blogspot returns
New Zealand writer and cartoonist Sarah Laing, author of Let Me Be Frank and Mansfield & Me, has restarted her laugh out loud Let Me Be Frank blog. Here she wryly documents day-to-day life under lockdown in comic form, with a new one coming each day.
I interviewed Sarah about her last book Let Me Be Frank.
Going Walkabout inside your bubble
Yearning for the outdoors? Walking About curated by Auckland’s Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery is a contemporary art series that explores the relationship between walking and art.
In light of the COVID-19 lockdown, the gallery says it wants to explore how we might walk together and experience art together, while staying in our bubbles.
So it’s made three Walking About performances accessible online for free, with more to follow.
Each of the three artworks have taken a different route to being available for audiences to experience and participate in over the lockdown.
Echo Eco Echo by Andrew McMillan was born digital. The four audio compositions for four sites along the Waterview pathway were created from field recordings and data from environmental sensors captured in early March. The walk attunes participants to the audible environment and enables walking as a meditative practice. Local audiences can access the maps and audio recordings at and walk the artwork while remaining in their bubble.
Sports Day by Vanessa Crofskey pivoted to a digital approach as the Covid19 situation unfolded in New Zealand. The artist is collaborating locally with her household and digitally with other creatives to create a Sports Day delivered via both pre-recorded and livestream social media. Contestants can compete from their backyards and share their actions to the hashtags #walkingabout and #sportsdaynz. Across the 4 hour event Crofskey and friends will lead warm up sessions, run walking ‘races’ calling on everyday life skills and share music to walk to.
Melissa Laing and Mustaq Missouri were rehearsing Standing at the Edge when the announcement of the Lockdown happened. The performance, a scripted monologue delivered over the course of a walk, explored relationships between property, debt, work and community as they play out on the suburban fringes of Auckland. Fortunately, that day, they were able to film the 45 minute performance walk through the town centre of North West Westgate as local shops began to close down. The online launch party is on Saturday 11 April, 4pm
2020 Auckland Festival of Photography
Organisers of the 2020 Auckland Festival of Photography, scheduled for late May, are working with a range of other organisations on a contingency plan.
Photography fans will be able to enjoy 2020’s Auckland Festival of Photography on Pop Up TV (Freeview Channel 200) or online from May 27 to June 15.
“It will ensure the AFP programme will be accessible on a digital platform that showcase outstanding national and international photography and provides activities that audiences can engage and interact with,” says the Festival’s director Julia Durkin. “We are optimistic that the more than 50 venues involved in 2020’s festival will be ready to show their exhibitions on Kordia’s Pop Up TV or in web presentations linked to the festival website as needed or on our You Tube channel,”
The Festival is also inviting contributions from the public to its blog Flatten the Curve.
Meanwhile the Festival Trust has confirmed the annual Nikon Auckland Photo Day 24 hour challenge will take place on 6 June 2020, whether we’re in our bubbles, partial lockdown or are free to roam further.
Sound & Vision
When it comes to moving images Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision is the guardian of our films, television shows and radio broadcasts. It wants to spread the word that it’s very much open online with exhibitions, educational resources, blogs and thousands of collection items to explore. You can search by genre, media, subject, even by date. Have at it!
@hOMe – Your museum in your home
I’m also very taken with this site on offer from the Otago Museum in Dunedin.
Otago Museum staff from all divisions are creating enormous range of material for the public to access while confined to their bubbles. The site includes blogs, jigsaw puzzles, video chats, craft activities, science experiments, past and current exhibitions and displays, and much more. It’s split into Read, Do, Listen, and Watch, but there are also filters so people can refine what they see (such as outdoor, child-friendly, food, history, astronomy, etc).
We’re told it’s a moving feast with new content being added regularly.
Going West literary festival
Archives from New Zealand’s longest running independent literary festival will have to suffice for lovers of the Going West Writers Festival in Auckland. Organisers have decided to cancel the event planned for September, but they’re pointing us in the direction of its extensive digital archive of festival content from the past 25 years.
There’s still work to be done on the site, they say, but you can get a glimpse of what will be on offer here.
The New Zealand Society of Authors Te Puni Kaituhi O Aotearoa (PEN NZ) Inc is deeply concerned about the ongoing welfare, income and mental and physical health of its members.
NZSA CEO Jenny Nagle points out that many of our writers don’t qualify for wage subsidies and cannot replace their lost incomes.
So PEN NZ has announced several initiatives to support, promote, educate and encourage writers in Aotearoa.
While it’s more for writers, one of the sites that will interest people who enjoy hearing writers read their work out loud is #NZSA Writers Read. It provides dedicated playlists on the NZSA Youtube channel of authors reading from their published work. The channel and the hashtag #NZWritersRead is available to publishers, authors and others to promote new or recent books and they can also embed these clips in their websites and social media.
It’s looking for creatives from visual arts, music, sculpture, dance, design, poetry, prose, performing arts, film and fashion through to emerging art forms.
'Postcards Unlocked' will feature 30 artists over 30 days via Tautai’s social media platforms. Each day will offer us a snapshot into each artist’s creative process and inspiration.
If you’re interested in featuring in ‘Postcards Unlocked’ please email firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 10 April, 2020. Tautai is offering a koha to those who’re selected.
The exhibition must go on
Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History is determined that the months of work that artist Jim Campbell put into his latest exhibition, was not for nothing.
Jim ran Masterton’s gallery and art supply business, Colours for Art before moving to Blenheim six years ago. He’s best known for his watercolours, but The Very Subjective Exhibition sees him experimenting with vinyl and gesso, inspired by Piet Mondrian (De Stijl movement 1917-31) and the geometric abstraction of Ilya Bolotowksky.
This is just one of many online exhibitions generated by art galleries around the country.