While facilities such as the Western Plains Cultural Centre remain closed to the public, many are moving to the virtual world to keep their doors (metaphorically) open. Through our computers we can walk through the halls of the Louvre in Paris, the Natural History Museum in London and the Vatican Galleries, in Vatican City – all from the comfort of our living rooms.
The traditional museum experience presented artefacts and artworks to the public in a solemn and serious setting, museums were considered places of learning and reverence, and so the settings traditionally reinforced this soberness. The object was the focus, both a repository and symbol of the past. As time has passed, history has become less the experience of the solemn and more the experience of connection and relatability, it has also been changed by our increasingly digital experience of the world.
Long before Covid-19 Museums and Galleries were playing around with digital experiences, trying to find how they fit into the broader experience of culture. There is a general consensus that experiencing culture in the flesh is invaluable, there is something pure and impactful at looking at works of art or theatre performances live, but should this experience be one that is prioritised over others. How to do we juggle the digital experience with the real one, is one better than another, is this true for all creative forms, Is the film a lesser experience because it's experienced in a digitised or ephemeral way,
is live music always superior to a recording?
One thing that Covid-19 and its socially isolating requirements have shown us is that a wealth of digital possibilities lie at our fingertips. Some give us new and unexpected opportunities to see culture differently, and others highlight that the experience we have visiting theatres or libraries cannot be replicated. Digital, virtual and online experiences remain an emerging approach to culture. We have yet to truly see the contribution it has to offer to cultural engagement. Still, as more and more of our lives and experience of the world happens digitally, culture needs to reflect this; otherwise, we risk venerating the past to a point we join it.
While YouTube can be home to some questionable content, one channel that has increasingly become my second home is the Bon Appetit Channel. 'BA' is an American food magazine, and a few years ago, they created a YouTube channel with cooking demonstrations. More than just teach me to cook better (and it has!) the channel has become a community, with inside jokes, character arcs and a behind the scenes workplace banter that has made it much more than its cooking demos. With fan channels popping up on Instagram (@meme_appetit) and hashtags that only fans will get #wouder #iwdfcftbatk, it has achieved what few online experiences can, authenticity and joy. Celebrating the power of food to bring us together and embracing the chaos that sometimes comes along.
At the moment the works of Agnes Pelton, Hilma af Klint, Edouard Vuillard, Forrest Bess, Milton Avery, Pierre Bonnard, John Wesley, Francis Upritchard. Tomma Abts, Frank Auerbach, Gillian Wearing, and Louise Hearman have provided solace away from the Covid-19 hubbub. I can't put into words how they do what they do, so it's probably better to look at them.
Exhibition and Curator Officer
Cultural Development Coordinator
Cultural Development Coordinator
I recently purchased a painting by Aboriginal artist Kudditji Kngwarreye (1928 – 2017). On the surface, it is a simple abstract work of patchwork formation, but it is one that shows a natural sense of composition, and underlying complexity. I am drawn in by the colours and the composition of the work. There is freedom in the application of the paint that changes across the canvas, but there is knowledge and understanding as well. It is a beautiful and compelling work that references country, and I enjoy the journey I take across the canvas as I take in the colour, the brushstrokes and the subtleties.
Alongside the WPCC, the DRTCC also had to close its doors to the public as COVID 19 hit. While some programmed shows, unfortunately, had to cancel, 75% of all performances have chosen a Plan B and rescheduled to the end of the year. In some cases, other performances have opted to plan for 2021 dates depending on restrictions for public gatherings. All in all, it seems the "show must go on".
Rescheduled shows include Ian Moss, Mark Vincent, The Gruffalo's Child, Mirusia and Ahn Do. With Mother's Day coming up, now is a great time to jump online https://www.drtcc.com.au to purchase a gift certificate or tickets for a special mum, all while supporting a great local cultural facility.
While the majesty of Gaden and Cathedral caves might be off-limits, you can join and support the Wellington Caves online. Make sure that you follow them on Facebook for the latest updates and news, https://www.facebook.com/wellingtoncaves and be sure to follow them on their new Instagram account @wellingtoncaves.
If you haven't seen the latest updates on everything happening at Old Dubbo Gaol, now is the time to start following them on Facebook. With a special edible treat coming later this week, they are already keeping us entertained with their hijinks…