Dear Empyre List,
It started as a way to connect. We had begun thinking about the project before the COVID lockdown in Toronto. It was initially going to be a proposal to Hearth to host a summer group show, a physical exhibition bringing us and our work together over the summer months. When everything shut down, plans changed. When we started talking about doing an online exhibition the enthusiasm was fairly low, even though we all wanted to do something in the new and uncertain circumstances. We knew we didn’t want to make a website of images and videos that existed somewhere between documentation, portfolio, and promotion. We wanted a specific type of online place with a context. We wanted to highlight the collaborations, and lean into the materials of the web (hypertext, images, malleability, community).
The Wiki gave us a way forward. We came to it through thinking about collaboration, community, and information architectures. The Wiki felt like a way to make a specific type of space on the web, a way to imagine a sort of site-specific online work that speaks to its symbolic architecture—a form of placemaking within the greater language of the web. We also knew that we all wanted to make new work, in collaboration with each other, that is specific to this type of place, and the context we found ourselves in.
Working in curator-artist pairs (which quickly become blurry, thanks in part to the nature of Wiki editing), we developed the overall structure of the Wiki and four new projects. Each project engaged with elements of community, communication, digitality, information, and hypertext. A lot of the work and iteration was done in the Wiki itself, providing a living record of edits and changes. This record becomes an important part of hypertextual writing, as well as providing the name for our exhibition—“view recent changes”.
From the website:
“view recent changes is a collaborative project featuring works by artists Oscar Alfonso, Simon Fuh, Matt Nish-Lapidus, and Sophia Oppel, in collaboration with Hearth - a Toronto artist-run space co-directed by Benjamin de Boer, Rowan Lynch, Sameen Mahboubi and Philip Leonard Ocampo. view recent changes presents an assemblage that considers the ways in which the human, digital, linguistic, machinic, vegetal and animal correlate. Hosted as a wiki, a platform that allows for communal contribution, the project foregrounds lateral hyperlinking and reflects on the possibility of a digital commons. This project considers how to circumvent the individualizing, commodifying qualities of online spaces to explore positive forms of relationality and intimacy.”