Monday, 27 July 2020

Covid and lockdown had a big impact on the lives of the attendees of The Gate.

 Not only was their social life and support network disrupted, but they were also robbed of an ongoing opportunity to express themselves creatively through arts, music and literacy.

All sessions at The Gate came to a halt, leaving attendees isolated, bored and without a space where creative outlet was encouraged and supported. After a period of discussions amongst the arts facilitators and the Service Users of The Gate we all agreed that it was vital to restart the arts sessions, albeit in a different format.

 Since then we have started to meet up online every Wednesday for a couple of hours, mixing chatting with art making, hearing about everyone's ideas and about what they have been creating during lockdown, as well as discussing what they would like to make and where to take future projects.

 Using video call software to connect obviously has its drawbacks: Only one person can speak at a time and there is a visual- and audio delay. Also, some people have to share one device as a group, or the only device available is a phone, which compromises people’s experiences of the call and people may not be able to contribute in the way they would in a real-life setting at The Gate. Despite these hurdles and drawbacks it has been great to be in a “room” together to create art, have a chat and socialise..

 Our current art class group is Leon, Labake, Duane, Ritchie, Glenn, Jackie, Michael, Terry, Roy, Simon and Lena and myself. Seb, Jane, Giovanni and Adam drop in for visits.

 As people might know, Labake is an Avid Sims player and inspired the group to create a video game by and for The Gate. We started this pre lockdown, planning out characters and scenarios on paper, but also using the app to create sprits that we would put in our video game.
As we are now forced to work exclusively online, we thought it would be a good opportunity to focus on this video game. As some of the devices used by our artists don't let them access these apps and the video call at the same time, we had to find creative ways to overcome these technical problems: 

Some attendees who can use these apps will draw from instructions whilst we screen share their actions in real time. Others will resort back to IRL drawings with pen on paper. We will then photograph their work remotely through the computer screen and collage them into the collaborative drawings.
We used the online collaborative drawing tool to collage together our artists’ IRL pen-on-paper drawings and the digital drawings.

Before the Covid crisis we had an exhibition lined up at Peak Gallery in Elephant and Castle shopping centre in London This couldn't happen because of the virus, so we decided to create a socially distant exhibition instead. Visitors and passer-bys walking through the centre will be able to enjoy the exhibition by peaking through the windows of the gallery. Our plan is to print our collaborative drawings on a large format so they fill the entire window and door of the gallery.

There will be peepholes cut into the drawings which allow visitors to look into the gallery where we will have videos looping on monitors. Some of the videos we will be screening include: Quarantine radio hour video - weekly talk radio show made by members of The Gate.
  Glenn Miller's vlogs where they discuss coming out as trans, racial justice and what they eat in a day.

Richies Youtube where he vlogs about football, buffy and quarantine


 Duane aka Mr Amazing’s Tik Tok dance videos and new music from his soundcloud

A slideshow containing all the images from our instagram - Draft of our imagined window installation at Peak Gallery

Our proposal to Peak -

 We propose a poster/vinyl that covers the whole of the gallery window and glass on the door.

The poster would have holes at different heights, allowing people to look into the empty gallery space where we would position monitors showing slide shows of the work made by artists at The Gate.

 As we are in lockdown and no longer have access to The Gate , thus having to work remotely with our artists, we are using online video calls and collaborative drawing software to make art together. 

The picture attached is an example of one of our collaborative drawings using a mixture of collage works people have created, as well as the online digital drawing tools.

 We have been discussing what it means to be a disabled artist in this time and the relationship between the lack of funding to services and the impact of gentrification. We have also explored the disproportionate effects of these problems on black people and other ethnic minority groups in the UK. We have spoken specifically about the future demolishment of the E&C shopping centre and how it would displace poorer communities for the purposes of profiting the rich.

 Through these conversation we came up with some titles and slogans we would use in the poster:

 Is this the world we want to live in?

 What kind of world do we want to live in?

 What about us?

 Its 2020, not 1820

 Grow up

 The Exhibition will happen at the end of August 2020 and run for two days.