As we float between url & irl so does SOAP - inverting exhibition-going culture within a gaming software and embracing the ever growing cultural production of online communities. Thereby creating a space to ask what can be learnt from these amalgamations and offering an alternate connectivity for artists to thrive off.
The participating SOAP artists are Caroline Ballegaard, David Lisbon, Don Elektro, Esther Merinero, Freya McLean, Harry Grundy, Kirsty Sorley, Ludovica Bulciolu, Ozziline Bill, Samantha Watson, Tigris Li and Tommy Camerno & Lee Stevens.
SOAP is about the spaces in which we view art; the possibilities within our now prevalent virtual life are explored and boundaries of the online interface pushed. With cultural institutions closed, SOAP considers the architectural experiences which normally impact our perception of an artwork when visiting a physical gallery.
SOAP provokes this by creating a somewhat alien architectural language, symbolic of the uncharted territory we now exist in and have to adapt our ways of seeing to.
Designed in collaboration with architect Daniel Pope, the SOAP geo-domes and gridded mega-spheres are an artwork in themselves. Our on screen experience of art is elevated as we enter the virtual SOAP bubble.
SOAP is a virtual group show of digital artworks responding to Covid-19. Existing in webspace, SOAP imagines a new world for artists to exhibit in during lockdown. The artworks displayed react, reflect and embody this strange and significant time.
Curated by Brenna Horrox and Ozziline Bill (Body Odor Studios).
SOAP was born out of of the understanding that correspondence between creators inspires artistic discourse and production. We felt with artists in lockdown it was necessary to ensure this correspondence continued so that artists could not only create to stay sane but also have a space to pause, comment and critique on the events in the world that were unfolding around us.
Cyberspace became our primary meeting spot - we met, discussed and viewed artworks on various interfaces to create SOAP, extending this to our online opening hosted on Zoom.
We embodied the nature of Cyberspace as an endless pit of connectivity and ideas where crossovers of location, vocation, class, income etc. can occur. This idea of cross over was something SOAP wanted to push in its curatorial structures and output so we moved between specialists and different knowledge forms - from our real lived experiences to unfamiliar languages embedded in code. For instance we collaborated with architect Daniel Pope to design the virtual exhibition space, also an artwork in itself. And with the exhibition being realised in the gaming software UNITY, we were met with another interesting amalgamation - an exhibition as game. It was in these cross-overs that produced a correspondence that critically thought about our current context as people/artists within a world where the digital and physical were merging.
The artworks selected by Ozziline and Brenna questioned our relationship to IRL & URL and the inner to the outer. They expressed desire for each other physically but also mentally, offering ways to begin to understand each others environment, the alternative cultures and the societal structures around us. Making it explicit that our lives make up the social infrastructure of others and vice versa. Therefore SOAP offered an alternative correspondence despite being isolated in our homes.