As COVID-19 slowly infiltrates every aspect of society, it was only a matter of time before artists began interpreting the new normal around them.
A new exhibit at Telfair Museums is billed as the world’s first large-scale, interactive artwork which references the coronavirus pandemic. Called "Loopwave Tomorrow 2.0," the installation makes use of colorful, geometric projections on a video screen with viewer’s movements attracting virtual virus particles that disrupt and alter the digital landscape.
Much like the new world around us, the longer visitors linger in the geometric realm, the more virus particles are attracted to their presence.
The project is a transatlantic effort, between two artists: one located here in Savannah and the other across the ocean in China.
Local artist Greg Finger, and Chinese artist Zhou Fan, met in Chengdu, China, where Finger lived for six years.
On their collaboration, the artists describe the work as displaying the collision of human and viral culture which they say has never been more relevant.
"The virus element in this installation doesn’t discriminate between what person it latches onto or which culture/world, represented as differently textured tubes, it erodes," Finger shared.
"The longer the person interacts with the piece, the stronger the influence they have with attracting and directing the virus."
Loopwave Tomorrow 2.0 is an international collaboration between artists whose own countries have played very prominent roles the past several months as the virus unfolded on the global stage. But at the heart of it, the installation reflects the effect of what each individual’s actions who enter the space have on the world around them.
"Visually beautiful and poetic, the work reminds us of the ongoing threat that may be either magnified or reduced by our individual actions," Finger added.
The pair of artists met about halfway through Finger’s stay in China, after he joined an artist collective called Puzaosi. When Fan later joined as a member, the pair were soon collaborating, with their first official joint piece launching in 2018.
Finger says their current work is a continuation and update of that original collaboration, which proved challenging at times, as the artists now live on the other side of the world from each other.
"Collaborating with someone in a time zone with a 12-hour difference and with Chinese internet being heavily regulated and censored made discussions intermittent and sharing files, such as video files of prototypes of new features, a bit tedious," Finger said.
Now that the installation is on display for the public at the Jepson Center in its TechSpace Gallery, the artists hope the work will give viewers new insights into the ways the coronavirus affects our lives and weighs on our collective psyche.
But even more so, interacting with the digital shapes and colors can also just be plain fun, Finger added.
"I hope that people fully engage the piece. Experiences can be thoughtful but they can also be playful," he shared.
All three locations of Telfair museums are now open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Monday; and closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
For information on admissions and safety procedures, visit telfair.org/hours-admission.
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