What happens when a gallery can't open? How do we keep sharing information and inspiration in a disconnected world?
This was the challenge that faced us in 2020. The Covid pandemic changed so, so many aspects of how we live and work. We knew very quickly that having the gallery itself open wasn't going to be practical. On the other hand we felt that interdisciplinary work was more important than ever before.
A new online project
In February 2020, before the scale of what was about to happen had become clear, we had the great pleasure of meeting artist Emily Fong. Emily is an artist exploring life and death, embodiment and emotion; the experience of existing in a human container. Her artistic practice is underpinned by the observation and communication of the life cycles of living things; growth, mortality and change from the micro to the macro. Through the mediums of drawing, painting, sculpture and writing, she seeks to highlight our similarities not only to one another but also to other species that occupy this planet. What are we made of? How are we structurally and emotionally connected beneath the skin? Her intuition is that by going deep inside life, turning it inside out, she might discover new ways of observing and re-configuring the outside.
She’s also a delightful human being, with a charm and energy all her own. We were very interested in the idea of a residency, with Emily coming into our labs and being a part of the team. Of course, that didn’t happen – the scientists have barely been in the labs for months. Still, we wanted to work together, for the benefits to our publics and team. How do you do a residency when no one is resident?
Emily has now been working with WCAIR for some time, and has created a fantastic series of blogs about her work. She has also nurtured some fascinating relationships with our scientists. They are very much a work in progress in terms of sharing at the moment, but we're very excited to see how they turn out.