The International Festival of Ephemeral Art CONTEXTS has been consistently connecting the classics of ephemeral art with the global trends featured in contemporary art and culture. Combining different curatorial approaches has also been the festival’s tradition with an objective of introducing other points of view. The choice of the theme for each edition is motivated by its universal dimensions, at the same time, it allows a possibility to refer to the current situation with its artistic and human aspects. The theme of CONTEXTS 2020 (the section curated by me) is loneliness. The artists were asked to meditate on a number of related issues: loneliness as the ultimate human condition, voluntary and imposed internal immigration, compassion as a remedy for alienation, ‘You’re a little lonely in the desert. You’re equally lonely among people (A.Saint-Exupery). Paradoxically “what is unique and specific in us is realised in such a specific form that a single individual reaches the rank of a universal” (E.Cioran).
Loneliness is not a man’s natural condition; however, it has become more and more common. Despite the impressive technological developments the sole human aspect has deteriorated in manifold ways. We experience the degradation of humanistic and ethical values. Relationships among people have been weakening. Maintaining mental stability has been increasingly unattainable. We get lock inside ourselves.
The current lockdown due to the virus added another dimension and strengthened the impact of the festival theme formulated a few months earlier. The imposed isolation has intensified the feeling of loneliness and alienation. We found ourselves suspended in the void between the past and future. The future is increasingly unpredicatble. Fear dictates the path of our thoughts and mode of behaviour. Time has acquired another measure – monotony and repetition brings about disorientation, days begin and end unexpectedly.
The direct experience is the essence of ephemeral art and basis for the festival. What a great challenge is to transfer it into the virtual world. Can the experience of watching the festival on computer screens be comparable to the real one, even though it will be broadcast in real time? Can artists – without feeling the presence and reactions of the audience – work in their usual way? Both, the artists and the audience are subjected to this problem. A lonely artist and lonely, isolated public. Our willing disposition can overcome the barrier.
The festival is a participatory celebration, being together, sharing what is most valuable and beautiful. It is an antidote to loneliness through the communion with each other. Let’s listen to what the other says carefully and with understanding. Let’s take into consideration other points of view. Let’s talk wisely. Let’s experience together and enjoy!