Adaptive Practices: Six Artists Redefine Isolation and Distraction
Adaptive Practices: Six Artists Redefine Isolation and Distraction was an interactive project developed at PPL in the spring of 2020 as the pandemic necessitated closing public spaces and prohibited public gatherings. In those early weeks we heard and read increasing expressions of anxiety, both in and beyond our own community, about how to navigate unrelenting uncertainty, fluctuating productivity, and debilitating isolation during quarantine. When the pandemic arrived, we all had to adapt to new practices and routines, professional and personal, evolving in response to all that was suddenly unavailable, inaccessible, inadvisable, or not allowed. As the weeks went by, our lives were increasingly bound by constraints.
But they were also buoyed, if less predictably, by ingenuity and resourcefulness, some days our own, more often what was offered by others. In March, as we considered how PPL might re-imagine our programming to both reflect and work within the perimeters of this new reality, we inventoried the assets we already had, and thought about how best to share them. Among the valuable resources we identified was our cadre of Creative Fellows: Laura Brown-Lavoie, Becci Davis, Kelly Eriksen, Keri King, Walker Mettling, and Micah Salkind, six artists and creators who had each worked on a long-term, original project within our Special Collections, generating new meanings for these collections and bringing them to new audiences. We thought about how, as artists, their endeavors often encompassed venturing into the unknown, enduring “fallow” periods of reflection and synthesis in which no immediate “product” would result, and working in solitude when research or experimentation was necessary. So we asked them to share their work with us in a way that would allow us to see and maybe even experience how they navigate and negotiate these conditions of uncertainty and unfamiliarity, and the result was this project.
We’re so grateful to our Fellows for their generosity, curiosity, engagement, and humor. While the project was completed in early May, you can still access their thinking, their creations, and in some cases recordings of public online gatherings that were part of their programs. We hope that these events and activities give you new possibilities for connection, reflection, reframing, distraction, concentration, reassurance, repose, change of pace, change of perspective, enjoyment, anticipation, and calm - in whatever combination is right for you. We can't change what's happening in this period of instability, but our hope was that with the help of some creative practitioners, we can gain new ways to respond to its challenges.
For more information about Adaptive Practices, please contact Christina Bevilacqua, Programs & Exhibitions Director.