CAIR21 exhibition opening
Venue: D Gallery, University of Tsukuba
Campus Artist in Residence (CAIR) is a programme for student artists across the world to come to work with University of Tsukuba students to develop new forms of expression/thinking/making. This year the participants worked online tackling the theme 'correlate'.
I was pleased to be invited this morning to comment on the artists presentations and make a concluding summary for the group. It is to the credit of all parties, artist, curators, designers and photographers, that so much has been produced and achieved in such a short period of time.
When the world started the second phase of a Covid-19 lock down around December 2020 the CAIR 2021 theme of ‘Correlate’ initially seemed somewhat ambitious. It became increasingly self-evident that there would be no travel and therefore the normal studio-based programme in Tsukuba was not going to be allowed. An artist-in-residency programme is contingent on the notion that the artists are invited to share time and space together. That they meet in making spaces for reflection, making, discussion and presentation away from their normal environment. It is an opportunity for an artist to explore new ideas, to discuss and collaborate with new people, and to spend time in a new atmosphere. If we couldn’t be united on a daily basis in the studio, how could we come together to relate? What chances for connection and reciprocal relations?
So, what happened? How are we ‘Responding’? Well, as you would expect when faced with adversity creative people look to change, and this year has led to some major innovations in practice with the residency programme. The move to online/Zoom delivery, a blended approach and greater digital capabilities has informed a creative approach; including better correspondence pre residency; to acting daily in combination via YouTube and social media; and interconnection in making.
So, what changed? How are we ‘Reframing’? These are unprecedented times and the external environment has offered both opportunities and challenges. This year the programme plans are to have both a virtual and a physical final exhibition. This is an opportunity for collaboration whilst extending the traditional boundaries and being more interconnected and offering greater interaction.
So, a new era? What does it look like? How are we ‘Re-thinking’? In this new environment CAIR 2021 has shown it can continue to support the ambitions of the participants. It has created a different space in which to both share ideas, innovations and challenge assumptions. This exhibition is a testament to the success of the CAIR 2021 and its ability to enable us to continue to move forward, to come together and relate as artists.