Welcome to the first season of ‘Beyond the Now’ (2020), a syndicated social practice platform, founded by partners based and working in locations across the globe, which aims to open new creative, cultural and political affinities for a post-pandemic world.
The first season contains nine submissions from artists, arts professionals and community activists, reflecting on the Covid-19 situation. Three submissions will be shared each month, between October and December, at which point the season will conclude.
The pandemic has global effects, but it is experienced in diverse ways, in many different contexts. In recognition of this diversity, ‘Beyond the Now’ features personal reflections alongside those that are theoretical; interviews and discussions as well as artworks.
The sensory dimension of social experience and the meanings attributed to human interaction have changed, because of the invisible vectors of disease transmission. Social distancing and the wearing of masks are only the most obvious signs of this altered situation. There is a great deal that needs to be explored and understood.
It is our hope that the texts, films and artworks that form this season, and those that will follow in subsequent seasons, will provide opportunities to engage with the question that animates this project: ‘where and what is the social in a post-pandemic world?’
The scope of this question is beyond the reach of any single answer, though it might be possible to answer it collectively. ‘Beyond the Now’ responds to the urgent challenges of the present by sharing perspectives. We aim to learn from organic responses of solidarity that have sprung up from communities of place and interest in the context of COVID-19; and to re-imagine socially-engaged art in the light of the current crisis.
Our October release features writer, filmmaker and activist Ashish Ghadiali’s text ‘Age of Uncertainty’; artist, activist and educator Gregory Sholette’s short film examining responses to the pandemic by a range of international artists; and artist Jeanne van Heeswijk’s text ‘How we have been preparing for the not yet’.
In November we publish ‘One mask at a time’ by Natalia Eernstman who joins a community of sewers making cloth masks for Cornish community carers; in ‘Social Distance Inc.’ Elliot Perkins asks how issues around racial, gender and environmental justice can become central to the curriculum; and artist, Be Steadwell, takes us for a ‘Walk in the Wood with Meka’ in her beautiful film ‘Gratitude’.
December 2020 introduces the final contributions for Season 1, with artist, Neema Iyer, exploring the spaces between the need for human connection and simultaneous dependence of technology; Isabel Lima walks us through an ambitious Neighbourhood Plan led and co-produced by local communities; and a re-imagining of art and design practice in the era of Covid-19 by artist and educators, Patricia Kovic and Blanka Deroko.