A message during a crisis

Wednesday, 25 March 2020 17:26

Wrap is currently closed and will not be facilitating any productions that involve sharing facilities until such time as that can be deemed responsible.

As we wait in isolation for the current situation to pass, so that people can work and meet together in the same physical space again, there has been a predictable surge in the amount of online content being created by artists. Some have asked Wrap to help them stream stuff, and we will.

However, the subdued air of panic that has manifest its self throughout much of society isn’t necessarily a good starting point for new artistic work. We are therefore very interested in any opportunities to enable discussions and actions that might stimulate lasting positiv developments in the way art is produced, presented and appreciated now and in the future.  

Wrap was born out of a desire to create a kind of support hub for artists, but it is also very much about enabling and empowering artists to develop meaningful new strategies for working with art.

Rather than creating diminished emulations of the work created in lavish institutional settings, we believe in the enormous creative potential that a setting such as Wrap can afford artists interested in developing new artistic practices.

While streaming stuff might be the only way to reach your audience in these strange times, that doesn’t necessarily make it a great format. In fact so much of our lives have been moved online by the current quarantine, that this may be grounds for a particularly critical evaluation of new content. We have seen interesting ideas emerge, and have enjoyed a wealth of invitations to watch new stuff. It has been a comfort, but also a distraction.

We are fortunate that Wrap so far seems unlikely to be devastated by the cancelation of productions. We understand that other people are badly affected by the Corona crisis. We would love to help facilitate discussions, projects and events that consciously relate to some of the following questions and imagine bold solutions:

  • In a time where so much of life is based on interactions with a screen, are we really happy to accept the dominant online culture established by massive corporations, in which distraction is a virtue (to name but one of the nefarious facts)?
  • Is it OK to bail out big industries on their own terms when they belong to an out-dated world order that needs to stop?
  • Are we happy with current intellectual property and patent laws (responsible for extortionate charges for medicine, as well as fuelling consumer culture by promoting proprietary hardware/software solutions?
  • Is it OK for disused buildings to be bought and sold as a means for billionaires to grow capital, when hundreds of thousands of people are forced into dangerous refugee camps and inhumane conditions?   

To succeed as an artist run project, Wrap depends not only on its ability to support the many projects that come through its doors on their own artistic terms, but also on the artistic curation of HDU (Preston & Thorseth). We’ve done a lot of projects with this duo already, and we are developing new frameworks that will bring artists together in interesting new configurations, along side existing programs like Audioglimt. We believe this work is a great way to showcase the potential of experimental and pioneering art, and bring artists together in new settings and configurations that are both challenging and rewarding in equal measure. We hope you will agree.

The Corona pandemic is a crisis that provides us with a profound potential for social change (see quote from Milton Friedman/N. Klein, Crisis Capitalism). It also comes at a time when the art world is under profound scrutiny and is perceived by many as being elitist, overly theoretical, and therefor inaccessible and relevant to a vast proportion of society. How can we emerge from this crisis not only alive and healthy, but also as an inspiration, a symbol of constructive change, of positiv imagination?

One thing that Wrap will be doing  (starting as soon as possible) is to create a paid internship for technicians who are interested to work with experimental interdisciplinary projects at a high professional level. This will happen in collaboration with various other institutions, and with support from Bergen Council amongst others. Good communication between artists and technicians, as well as skilled technicians who are conscious of working within sustainable ethical and environmental frameworks, could be a very useful strategy.  

Milton Friedman: “Only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.” 

People will be streaming stuff from Wrap (not for the first time!). We are more than happy to be helping to make this possible. We’ll keep you posted as infrequently as possible, and we hope you’ll enjoy it. In the mean time, remember to do some online yoga courses or whatever!

Wrap Corona status report:

There were some cases of people that worked at Wrap who were most likely infected with the famous new Corona virus around that time (in spite of very thorough efforts to disinfect surfaces, door handles etc.).

One production was canceled, but most are postponed until Wrap and other venues can reschedule things.