We find it hard to believe, but April 2015 marked our 10th anniversary!
In October last year we started working on our new website so that it would be ready to mark the decade of our two-person self-organisation. We submerged ourselves in the exercise of looking back and consolidating our physical and digital archives. The last decade has certainly been marked by the transition towards the latter, and hence files and hard drives now hold the most voluminous evidence of our activity, with all manner of USB-sticks and obsolescent CDs (remember those?) having fallen by the wayside.
We devised a plan for what we wanted to improve with a website conceived as a place for reportage as well as a publicly-accessible archive. This process included developing more extensive, and larger-format, photo galleries, cross-referencing to previously "buried" texts, making descriptions more concise, adding a related content section to cross-reference project information with blog posts, and consolidating locations as well as events. After six months of work, and some down-the-rabbit-hole endless weekends with the intricacies of CSS, we had re-edited ten years of our professional life online. Ta-da!
But we also hold on to physical archives and printer matter and they continue to delight! They also bear witness to something of what has been lost. The decline of the post as a means for distributing video (VHS! DVDs!) with the rise of DropBox, or Vimeo, for example, has meant no more of those sweet hand-written notes that used to accompany artists' packages. Exhibition invitations are frankly a rarity now too, and these are filed alongside various postcards, discarded fragments of artists' work and other amusing ephemera.
Since we commissioned our mail-and-stamp graphic identity from More Associates back in April 2005, we have seeped more-and-more online to document and communicate: our first newsletter (November 2005), our first website, our early blog posts (starting in September 2006!), our Facebook page in early 2009 started with the presentation of Jan Dibbets' filming for Portscapes, our Flickr photo archive (also in 2009, now with nearly 4,000 photos online), followed by our first tweets in 2010, and sporadically YouTube, Issuu, Storify, Soundcloud followed.
This "ecstasy of communication" as Dieter Roelstraete has ironically put it, a day-to-day reality, has certainly defined our practice and how we have come to produce, document and disseminate our projects. We always stress this rapid digital transition when presenting our practice, as adapting to it has certainly been crucial as a two person spaceless self-organisation. Not running a regular programme of exhibitions or events has meant we have found the need to communicate the duration of what we are working on while being seemingly offline. Sometimes the standard drop-in question, "What are you working on?", is not so straightforward to answer. Back to Roelstraete – "getting organised" could often be the most suitable answer. "Getting organised" for the next project, reflecting on a recently concluded activity, anticipating the one after that, sorting out finances, seeing how we might put together the next research trip, finding it a challenge to find the time to read a book from beginning to end, watching life and work go by in 'likes' and 'retweets' and 'regrams'... Yet far than being nostalgic, this transition has itself given us great food for thought. For example, we dedicated over a year to discussing the consequences of online presence for art practice and curating with colleagues from Hong Kong to Minneapolis in the #OpenCurating interview series.
We are thankful to the many artists and other creative people who have supported us throughout this past decade. Some projects started with innocuous conversations that eventually led to ongoing collaborations and friendships, and we are also grateful to colleagues willing to offer critical feedback and words of encouragement in those moments in which we most needed to regain trust. A huge thanks too to the institutions and organisations for financing our projects.
Very soon more news on a commemorative project we've been cooking up...
Latitudes' 4th anniversary (April 2009)
Newsletter #22 – April 2010
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