Imagine news stories told through art. Stories such as the 2016 Presidential election, the Black Lives Matter movement, or climate change. What would they say?
That's the idea behind Dispatches, a new, multi-platform exhibition from the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston Salem, North Carolina, bringing together contemporary artists, Pulitzer-Prize winning photojournalists and new media artists.
The exhibition features existing works and five new commissions, or 'dispatches,' inviting artists to respond to current events happening in our world. The exhibition includes the work of four journalist grantees of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, which is also partnering with SECCA to extend the exhibit's reach through public talks, school engagements and live, interactive performances during the exhibit run, Nov. 1, 2016 – Feb. 19, 2017.
The Pulitzer Center, based in Washington D.C., is an award-winning non-profit journalism organization promoting in-depth engagement with global affairs through the support of international journalism and an innovative program of outreach and education. Dispatches was imagined and curated by Cora Fisher, SECCA's curator since 2013. Fisher's inspiration came from exploring how "the space of journalism has changed. Much of modern day reporting is quick response and in the moment. Telling live news stories through art makes us slow down and reflect of the frenetic pace around us."
Artistic response to current events is especially important in our digital culture. The rapid speed and high volume of news reporting makes it difficult to separate truth from fiction. The title of the exhibition raises the question of how you can cultivate thoughtfulness in relation to current events that are presented in a speedy and visually complex format.
"We are excited about this partnership with SECCA," said Jon Sawyer, executive director of the Pulitzer Center and a Winston-Salem native. "In our journalism projects we have used art wherever possible as a means of creating greater engagement with the global issues that affect us all. We welcome the opportunity to work with SECCA, local schools and other institutions in a community that is known as a national leader in the arts."
A dispatch is a journalism term used to describe what's happening on-the-scene and in real time during conflicts including times of war. Fisher continues "for this exhibit, the word "dispatch" also bears heavier connotations: to kill or to do away with, often suggesting the simultaneity of violence and speed."
The artistic pieces of the exhibit comment on that - Dispatches reveals the battles we fight abroad and at home.
Fisher explains "my hope for the exhibit is that attendees will leave with the idea that the time and reflection we give to art can carry over into digesting the news – to look past the headlines and into the stories."
Artists + Collectives
Doug Ashford, Rossella Biscotti, Sayler/Morris (The Canary Project), Mel Chin, Damon Davis, James Whitlow Delano, Ricardo Dominguez (Electronic Disturbance Theater), Hasan Elahi, For Freedoms, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Stacey L. Kirby, Eva and Franco Mattes (0100101110101101.ORG), !Mediengruppe Bitnik, Sheryl Oring, Trevor Paglen, Larry C. Price, Chloe Bass + George Scheer, and iO Tillett Wright.
VII Photo Agency: Ashley Gilbertson, Ron Haviv, Tomas van Houtryve, Ed Kashi, Sarker Protick, Maciek Nabrdalik, Sim Chi Yin and Danny Wilcox Frazier.
Curated by Cora Fisher