Is anyone else very, very, very, bored? It’s weird to think that not even a month ago, we were all living entirely different lives. On March 1st, we were still going about our normal routines: taking buses to school, eating lunch (and sharing food!) with friends, and of course, using our TeenTix passes. But all that has changed. Now, I go to my classes via Zoom, I take a walk around the block, and, like everyone else, I try my best to help contain COVID-19. To fill my boredom, I have participated in lots of virtual art. There are many lessons we have learned since quarantine and one of the big ones is that humans are adaptable; we change to fit our environment no matter how drastic the situation.
Just like how we have had to adapt, so has art, by catering to an online audience. One can no longer fill McCaw Hall or the beautiful MOHAI Museum but can instead fill an infinite number of virtual seats through a computer screen. Currently, Jet City Improv is hosting a virtual happy hour via Twitch. Seattle Opera and Seattle Art Museum have created an interactive page full of weekly podcasts, interviews, and hand-picked playlists. And those are just a few of the events going on this month! I love being able to support local art right from my bed by interacting, sharing, and donating to their websites. But the true power of virtual art is the ability to experience it from anywhere, try something new, and hear the voices of people from all over the world.
Currently, OntheBoards.TV is sharing their archived performance films for free, and, as someone who has never seen a lot of interpretive dance, I find this is a great time to learn about it. Interactive websites with podcasts, videos, and interviews are the easiest to navigate, but if you can get past some lagging, live streams like the ones put on by Jet City Improv are a great way to connect with the outside world and keep yourself engaged. It is just as important as it was before to support artists and to encourage creativity by seeing their films, performances, and works online. Virtual art is a great opportunity to reconnect with the art I love and learn more new art. Reconnecting with art I thought I wouldn’t get to see has helped me stay in tune with the world and myself, which is necessary in these isolating times.
Online art has made it possible to see performances and works from organizations you have never been to, right now. Arts festival South by South West (SXSW) is showing many of their films for free via the site Mailchimp. I have watched quite a few from their festival, but the one that most disturbed me (in the best way possible) was Chicken of The Dead. All I can say is: artificial chicken factory. It’s been really cool to see what SXSW has in their film festival because it steers away from what I typically watch. In the past, SXSW has not been accessible for free public consumption; and had they not gone virtual, I would not be able to spend time appreciating these films.
It is thrilling to witness how arts organizations have transitioned to an online setting, a space that is accessible to a much wider range of people. Anybody anywhere can enjoy a film, theater tape, or art gallery when made available online. The ability to share art on a much grander scale to a much larger audience invites new perspectives, new voices, and artists to continue creating and sharing their work in this time of need. While virtual art is not an ideal option; it’s not nearly the same as being there in real life, nor is it available for people without access to the internet, it’s the best way to support artists and to encourage their creativity while in quarantine. Seeing virtual art has helped me to feel less lonely, and to connect with everyone else who has been impacted by coronavirus in big and small ways.
My suggestion for the next time you use your computer?
Go to the TeenTix calendar, click on any of the available events, and enjoy.