Online Shift: How Technology Is Changing The Arts Sector

The Third Session Of The Monthly ACM Hangouts Tackles An Issue That Gained Momentous Importance Throughout 2020 – The Shift To Online.

The Third Session Of The Monthly ACM Hangouts Tackles An Issue That Gained Momentous Importance Throughout 2020 – The Shift To Online. Coordinator and host Elaine Falzon hosts artists and cultural practitioners who each weigh in on the way this year saw a 180-degree turn in the creation and dissemination of artistic work, with the technological aspect taking the spotlight.

Artistic curator and academic professor Vince Briffa talks about the fact that the technological angle is not new within the creative sector. However, 2020 changed the context within which it is presented, altering the circumstances and pushing artists to engage with the issue on a higher level.

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With all other alternatives for artistic dissemination taken away from us, he acknowledges that the sector did not immediately possess the knowledge and the skills to deal with the situation. This new context, he adds, gives rise to new concerns, including issues that are not necessarily related to the art from itself but have to do with legal matters such as distribution and copyright.

Artists and practitioners still need to undergo a mental shift, Prof. Briffa says, elaborating that the past months have shown us instances where visual art exhibitions that were not created with the digital medium in mind were suddenly presented to an audience via an online platform. The next stage of this evolution will involve a whole rethinking of our approach to digital tools, and he believes that this is one of the main challenges that artists face in the new climate.

Playwright and lecturer Simone Spiteri concurs with these words, describing how this past year has seen a radical shift in the relationship between the arts and technology. Whereas before, a theatre production would invite technology into the theatrical space, now the balance has been altered. Is it theatre that is the guest of the technological platform. Spiteri explains how the entire understanding of a straightforward theatrical experience is no more, with people even questioning whether a streamed performance could be classified as theatre.

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Arts Council research associate Neville Borg delves into the ways that the Arts Council is taking this opportunity to shape strategy in ways that encompass this digital shift, adding that a new fund targeting digitalisation would be launched in the coming months. He points out how, at the start of the pandemic, some public entities scrambled to remain relevant presenting works that weren’t created for digital consumption as online exhibitions or performances. He explains why now is the time to rethink these processes.

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Other guests during the session include Marjo Maenpaa (Director at Foundation for Culture Policy Research), ŻiguŻajg artistic director Marta Vella and Stephanie Bonnici from ARC. All three share their own research experiences of this online shift, with Vella explaining how this year’s edition of ŻiguŻajg was programmed specifically for online dissemination from the very start.

The sessions are organised by Arts Council Malta and streamed live on a monthly basis on Facebook. For more information about upcoming ACMHangouts, check out the Arts Council Malta Facebook page.

This news was originally published at Times Of Malta.

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