Cover image of the review
Amrita Hepi and Sam Lieblich, *Neighbour* (still). Courtesy of the artists and ACCA.


3 Oct 2020
Bus Projects, BLINDSIDE

I’m sitting in my living room watching Henry Wolff’s Ourselves (2020), a 6-minute moving image work currently hosted on the Bus Projects website. Three bodies—Jamille Juhale, Jasmine Crisp and the artist—move carefully against a white background, performing a set of loosely choreographed gestures of holding and support. The work is playing on my laptop that is propped on a pile of books stacked on an IKEA stool. The Vimeo player window is expanded but it’s still not big enough because beyond the grey frame of the screen I can see out across the balcony and into my neighbour’s kitchen. My neighbour is walking around wearing a red jumper.

I’m describing my domestic space because it has leaked into my experience of art since, along with much of the world, I began staying at home in March. Six months later, these viewing conditions have started to bother me. As galleries respond to disrupted exhibition schedules and COVID closures by commissioning work that can be exhibited online and experienced at home, there’s a wealth of new moving image work to watch. For galleries without the resources to support intensive coding and data or those without a previously established online gallery space for hosting internet-native work, this often takes the form of short videos that can be easily uploaded and made accessible via Vimeo. Commissioning is great—it provides artists with funds to maintain their practice and it keeps the space alive by filling the gap in programming—but I’ve noticed that work is sometimes posted without consideration for the way moving image is sculptural, or how work is often designed in relation to the architectural spaces of display—the white cube, the black box, the large scale public screen. In addition, when moving image work is exhibited in a gallery it is frequently in dialogue with the other works on show, and the siloed nature of watching at home changes the experience into something more fragmented and harder to pin down.

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