We humans are part of an interlinked world crossed by overlapping flows: substances, beings, information. The major global events that have spilled out along 2020 have profoundly altered the social system, revealing deep weak spots in its foundations and pushing to the limit its resilience, nearly reaching suffocation. In isolation and displaced from our positions of comfort and privilege, we could get a taste of our own role and scale within these forces. This context has called into question our anthropocentric mindset and has led us to critically revise how we think about the (eco)systems we are part of, how we act within them, what is our agency to drive meaningful shifts, and which are our tools to do so.
For nine months in which life and art became part of a single space, we, Multiplay, three transdisciplinar artists and designers in collaboration with a team of researchers from diverse backgrounds, undertook a series of actions to explore the way in which our individual and collective agency is affected by how close, emotionally and physically, we feel from others, whether human or not. By navigating through different art and design methodologies, we imagined perspectives to defy our dualist, linear and cartesian point of view. This was our strategy to question how, as our system regains its speed, we can transit towards a more connected sense of being.
A systemic thinking toolkit, dozens of conversations, a breathing body, a poem and a visual essay have unfolded during all this time, giving shape to the project AIR. Air [noun, uncountable], the mixture of gases we breathe; air [noun, uncountable], the space above the ground or that circulates everything; but also AIR, acronym of ‘artists in residency’ —or more accurately, artists in remoteness. Air that we have lacked too often during these nine months. Air that can be the deepest kind of embrace, in these times pierced by radical forms of isolation.
How close do you feel?
Victoria de la Torre
Project developed in the Artist in Residency Programme hosted by Science Gallery Dublin and Accenture The Dock.
Special thanks to: