A large digital public program with an emphasis on processes of dialogue, co-creation and collaboration with various communities has been the proposal that MSSA has carried out in times of social distancing due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Residents of the República neighborhood –the Museum’s centric location–, art teachers and educators, researchers and academics, artists and people interested in the arts in general, have been some of the communities with which the professional team of the Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende has interacted on digital platforms, following their mission.
“Today, Solidarity and Resistance, two concepts that have historically been at the heart of our Art Museum, are more necessary than ever. Our proposal has been to work as a network, in dialogue and with creativity, and it has had an excellent reception in an affective and statistical sense”, says Claudia Zaldívar, director of the MSSA.
The Museum has been closed since Monday, March 15th, the month when the opening of Red. MSSA Collection was scheduled, which was to bring together more than one hundred works around sensory experimentation based on three non-limiting concepts: ideology, color fields and body. The exhibition, curated by Daniela Berger and Caroll Yasky, is currently in process of installation with the hopes of opening in December 2020.
Faced to the impossibility of opening to the public, the Museum team has promoted digital experiences on the Red exhibition, designed from mediation, communication and experimentation with other disciplines. In May, an Instagram filter was launched with works from the collection, which has had thousands of visits; in June, a collaborative Spotify playlist was created with songs reminiscent of red and its various meanings; finally, exercises have been carried out on social networks in connection to the new web search bar that allows searching the collection by color, posing the question ‘how many reds do you know?’ One of the most relevant mediation activities is the Artecorreo initiative, which encourages the creation of postcards based on the question ‘how does the color red trigger your senses?’, which has had an excellent response in different communities.
Simultaneously, and thinking of new perspectives on contemporary art in times of pandemic, MSSA launched the call Digital Residencies, which invited artists and art collectives without current formal employment contracts to stimulate artistic processes within the Museum and its communities, based on the concepts of Solidarity, Resistance and Transformation today with the support of digital platforms. 48 high-quality proposals were received, among which three projects belonging to the media artist Christian Oyarzún, the collective La Farmacéutica Nacional and the Catrileo + Carrión community were selected. The first project, *BRGD4: SCROLL, is being executed in October, inviting people to create an infinite virtual mural on the Museum’s website in 13 days.
Research, dialogue and debate
While the Archive area is promoting a digitization project that will make more than 5,000 documents regarding the Museum’s history available to researchers and the general public, they continue to remotely attend the inquiries from researchers all over the world, working particularly on the Red Solidaria de Investigadores MSSA, a collaborative proposal initially made up of twenty-six researchers from various countries (Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Spain, the United States, France, Mexico, Romania and Slovenia).
On the other hand, public activities of debate and reflection have been characterized by encounters that articulate, from local and Latin American perspectives, the role of museums in building better societies. The cycle «How do art museums exercise solidarity?» featured Amanda de la Garza (director of the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC-UNAM), Janaina Melo (Historian, specialist in research and teaching of contemporary art, Universidad de Estado de Minas Gerais (UEMG)) and Mario Chagas, director of the Museo de la República de Rio de Janeiro and one of the creators of the Instituto Brasileño de Museos (IBRAM). On the other hand, for the commemoration of the 47 years of the 1973 Coup d’Etat, we held the classic gathering Exercises of Memory, this time with a completely digital program that incorporated five reflective meetings, an audiovisual exhibition and an intervention on the facade of the Museum, in coordination with six academic and social institutions in Santiago, Valdivia and Valparaíso. All records can be seen on our YouTube channel.
Meanwhile, the Mediation program impulse the formation of the Red de Educadores MSSA, which rescues affective connections through collaborative encounters with education professionals who have participated in MSSA activities. Progress and visions embodied in dialogues through the Zoom platform are recorded in a logbook, among which the workshop Wellbeing and Art in Educational Communities together with the Central University and the dialogue with Diego Bernaschina, visual artist with hearing impediment and education researcher.
The relationship with the people and institutions from the República neighborhood is a fundamental part of the life of the MSSA, and is the result of the work that began in 2017 for the Haciendo Barrio exhibition (2018), which had an unprecedented participatory curatory and which featured textiles, videos, texts, publications and photographs that address the past, present and future of this traditional neighborhood, where MSSA has been located since 2006. With the arrival of lockdowns and physical distancing, the three programs Textileras MSSA, Brigada Fotográfica and Huertoescuela took on a new spirit and expanded their borders through virtual tools.
Textileras MSSA, an autonomous group of artists, artisans and textile enthusiasts, has promoted a co-creative work through actions such as the audiovisual initiative Puntadas Patrimoniales, the dialogue and sewing workshop «Let’s embroider a new Constitution» -which ended with the creation of a textile book- and its participation in the curatorship “Al aire, libre” by Tiago Pinto de Abreu. Meanwhile, the Huertoescuela, a group of people who come together to learn and manage their urban gardens, changed its classic sessions on Saturdays for streaming workshops, videos and digital publications where they capture their collective learning and knowledge on food sovereignty, soil maintenance, cultivation in small scale spaces, etc. Meanwhile, the Brigada Fotográfica, made up of photography aficionados, launched a digital fanzine on heritage spaces from the República neighborhood and has been part of the Cianotipia online workshops, among others like FIFV- Valparaíso.
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