Organized by the artists platform Place, the exhibition IN / BETWEEN PLACES was scheduled from March12 to March 19, 2020 at Ecole de Recherche Graphique (ERG) in Brussels. The show had to close the day after the opening for health reasons due to Covid-19. This special issue of Place devoted to the exhibition gives an overview of the works on display.
Curator’s word (Alexander Schellow):
We have been working on this exhibition for almost a year. From the very beginning it was clear for us that we wanted to create a space that could be experienced both physically and on screen – an online PLACE, if you want. It was also very clear from that the material realization of the exhibition should reflect our reflection on this paradoxical relationship between a real place and a virtual platform. For us, this proved the best way to answer the invitation made by an online magazine to transfer its works to the physical space of a gallery. In addition, this way of working seemed us most appropriated in the larger context of the shifting relationships between private and public spaces, which tend to merge through social media and other communication platforms.
What we could not foresee, of course, when planning the exhibition was how suddenly social and aesthetic realities would be turned upside down in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. Suddenly everything that looked solid seemed to melt down and our usual ways of communicating and interacting were abruptly unsettled by new procedures and regulations which questioned all habitual social, political, and economic processes. What used to be smoothly handled behaviors and exchanges were blocked almost overnight. Our first reaction was a sense of loss and frustration when moving from actual people to their virtual doubles, endlessly multiplied but nevertheless insufficient when having to solve real problems. At the same time, the wish to make room for these new practices and experiences forced us to find solutions capable of relocating and rebuilding them in hitherto unknown and not yet imagined forms. This is what happens in these new places beyond physical contact and this is where our new lives are taking place these days.
On exactly the day of the opening of IN / BETWEEN PLACES the Belgium authorities put the country under lockdown. The decision came into effect the day after. As a result, we had to cancel the lectures and performances event we had planned for that day, while the exhibition itself could not last beyond the night of its opening, when the public was already marked by the gap between private and public spaces. What we had tried to achieve in the exhibition suddenly proved very consistent with what the visitors that evening had started to experience.
Both the exhibition and the conference program with its lectures and performances have now been translated, relocated and materialized as virtual spaces one more time, so that our project is capable of tackling the questions of place from a supplementary point of view. The IN / BETWEEN PLACES project undoubtedly gains a new meaning and pertinence: in the given circumstances, it comes to the fore as urgent, concrete and unintentionally prophetic.
This special edition of the online publication PLACE allows the project to evolve into a new hybrid space, going back and forth between a (in)accessible physical environment and a virtual one. By producing this move, the online (re)translation of the works and practices involved in the original exhibition, which it is now no longer possible to visit, offers the possibility to continue and reinvent its material and virtual traces in a new and open space.