Eyeseverywhere as a female artists network project

Introduction

The web, internet, is a huge space where converge information and communication, that is interactive and open to cooperation among peers, whom connect thanks to the expressed interests and personal relations given inside this multiple virtual communicating vessels that conform the net. The relations formed this way permit to widen the interaction horizons in a way never believed before. The geographic or physical isolation is abolished resulting in a new global social fabric that becomes tighter every day, though it has also a liquid quality. This means that the will offers permanence and navigation mobility widens or reduces the action fields.

Peers meeting, (individuals with similar interests converging in a specific spot in this digital ocean), usually results in an immediate and diverse exchange of information. Knowledge, image, video, sound, contacts, ideas and any kind of information data come and go through the web and its exchange becomes barter. The web contents big majority is under copyleft and we can say democracy acquires a glimpse of reality here.

To create collaborative art projects in this environment is a real alternative of proven efficiency that amplifies the possibilities and the creative and geographic horizons. It allows to create global artistic and social networks that transcend –and generally this is their aim- digital space, art market and, specially, art institutionalism. They are creative alternatives to Mainstream and set their own rules, as flexible as efficient, and constantly propose new approaches to the creative process, artworks and artists and, definitively, to Art itself.

Besides all, they allow the possible concretion of the projects in the real world and, a very important issue, to enrich the social and personal relationships.

All this is especially important for female artists, who must break through a territory controlled by the androcratic mainstream art market and that most of the times they could remain invisible even in their own surroundings.

These are stories coming from an individual artist meeting her peers in the web to create their own territories where to intertwine their artworks, their subjectivities, their eyes.

Eyeseverywhere//ojosportodoslados

As an artist and cultural manager, living in a Mexican city where cultural life had its limits defined, and with an urging need to expand my professional career, l create eyeseverywhere//ojospsortodoslados at the end of 2006.

My objectives part from the need to offer a visual discourse and an aesthetic proposal that within a periodicity allowed a constant flux that could go beyond the mere local. The web offers this possibility as long as attention and persistence exists. The project was just ideal to share my photographic self and to start a dialogue with other artists and, as a main endeavor, establish human relationships with women making art in other latitudes of the world.

To make this I contacted with two artists friends and proposed the project. One, Ayanna Jolivet McCloud, lives in the USA and she found me in the net searching for Ritual Art. The other, Lau Mun Leng, is from Malaysia and lives in the UK. We met during an art residency in Austria. This was the beginning of a fabric we all have been knitting.

So, in January 2007, photographs made by artists of several nationalities living in different parts of the world start being published every Saturday in a blog. From places like Dubai, Montevideo, Vienna, Puebla, Kuala Lumpur, Berlin, Stavanger, Buenos Aires, Doha, Bilbao, New York,  Vilagarcía, Seoul, Brighton, Barcelona, Gijón, Santiago de Chile and many other cities and towns in the world –and l will mention here each and every one of the collaborators past and present- Ayanna Jolivet, Teresa Puig, Eva Brunner-Szabo, who no longer publish but are linked to the project and, up to December 2010, Lau Mun Leng, Marta Rial (Marthazul)[1], Mercedes Fidanza2, Sandra Petrovich[3], Inge Hoonte, Inka Resch[4], Carolina de la Peña, Àgnes Bttfn[5], Nicole Rademacher[6], Aimee Lee[7] and Elizabeth Ross, we all have shared our visual reflection on issues that change every month, suggested in a roll by each one of us, and coming from out shifting identities[8].

Our photographic work is rarely manipulated. Instead, it portraits a direct reality, being it urban or rural, intimate or social, and the themes explored range from the sociologic spheres like in Crisis, Excess, In/dependence, Resistance, Games of Power, to the joyfully aesthetical as exploring the orange color, the cracks or blindness. We want to turn visible elements of daily life with an existential aesthetic at the same time that eyeseverywhere//ojosportodoslados turn us visible as female artists and as persons that share our personal discourse around a virtual and creative bonfire that involves time, space, attention, professionalism, solidarity, to link it into the collectivity and to produce a place we inhabit aesthetic, conceptual and intersubjetively between the private and the public.[9]

The initial personal drive has become the drive of all, who during the days of the week keep our eyes open to catch the momentum that we’ll take into the circle the next Friday.  We have met in this Saturday Home for four years now. And I say home as dwelling and as central fire. And I say circle because that is what we are now; each Saturday we hold a visual Witches’ Sabbath all our own, cast into the net universe. In these 4 years we have known each other in an intimate way because we do it through our eyes and dreams.

And just a few know some others in the physical world, but yet we have consolidated our collective being, every week more solid, and now we have brought off a material achievement of these 4 years of constant work, being on line, networked, and having our eyes everywhere, and turning them into a video that will be screened in the –real- cities each of us live in this new year 2011.

Elizabeth Ross

Written in A Coruña for the CIMUAT, Women, Art and Technology International Conference . May 2010

Presented in Valencia, November 2010

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Notes:

[1] Eyes begun three years ago with a picture published every Saturday, but now it’s something more. It’s a discreet but constant project, made out of silent and permanent heartbeats. It means being watchful each week, with wide open eyes, to everything that happens in front of us so we can capture or remember it according to each month’s theme. It’s the ritual of writing Elizabeth each Friday telling her why I chose this image. Artistic views from different women from disparate locations, who come together without knowing each other, joined virtually by our seeing. Marthazul, Vilagarcía de Arousa.

2 Women’s eyes. This Project has for me a deep root in the daily commitment of registering what these eyes see everywhere from our own place in the world. Every week a photo, a choice each month, a theme that rotates and relates with our sensations and experiences in a transforming world. It is the freedom of the sight, of our eyes in each photograph. Mercedes Fidanza

3 To take part in a women collective project like eyeseverywhere means to approach through the web other female artists from different countries and cultures. This fosters knowledge, favors exchange, and gives me new clues for research in my own work. Each theme is a journey, a meditation, a challenge. Sandra Petrovich

4 I love being part of a photo collective that is always evolving based on themes and locations and our shifting observations. All of us think of the same idea at the same moment and share it with one another in manifold ways. Seeing how one theme comes together each week brings us together in a purely visual way. Everything is open to interpretation, as well as understood at a core level by each participant. It’s an engaging process and pushes us all further in our visual explorations, whichever our artistic direction. I’m very happy to be a part of this unique collective.  Inka X. Resch

5 I count 41 months of the project loyally nourished by visual women artists posting Belfast, Baldaio, Montevideo, Karlsruhe, México, París, Buenos Aires, Lysefjord, Sant Celoni, Dubai, and Brighton. The pictures we send are from local places, so local that they communicate intimate situations, maybe just a smell, a movement, a light… the subjects suggested a new one each month all along these years touch our everyday life. They are small visual samples located in large urban centers mostly, linked from their precise situations across the globe through the web onto my computer. I hope we find a way to give it another dimension which could make a little fuss of it around and about. Âgnes Btffn.

6 For me, Eyes Everywhere is about ideas, points of view, about how we each see the world in new and exciting ways, about sharing those ideas, ways, and points of view in order to broaden our own perceptions. The opportunity to share and exhibit these ideas physically at the Congreso Internacional Mujer Arte y Tecnología creates even more exciting possibilities and allows us, the artists, to reflect in a different way about our work. Nicole Rademacher

7 Eyeseverywhere has been a way for me to share my experience being a woman in the world, traveling constantly, with other women who go through the same ritual each week. Though I document my life and work on the road in my own personal ways, having a way to do it as part of a collective helps me remember that our roads are connected. Aimee Lee

8“There are no identities that can resist a pure state for more than a couple of hours when facing the stimulus strength coming from every corner of the world”. Hopenhayn, Martín; “Ni apocalípticos ni integrados, aventuras de la modernidad en América Latina”. 1995, p.122, Fondo de Cultura Económica, Santiago de Chile

9 Net.art is an art of social grammars, where the interface as new field of intersubjective mediation redefines the private and public sphere. It positions itself in terms of resistance; questions and proposes new ways of being in a space -the web- that seems to allow horizontal relationships. Remedios Zafra, Habitares Reversibles.

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