INTO THE VOID is a COVIDay-by-day anthology assembled by the UCSB 1st year MFA cohort – 8 individuals who have yet to be physically co-present as a group (half have yet to be physically in Santa Barbara). Sequestered in their homes, they’ve been brought together as a virtual collective for seminars, studio visits and for this exhibition thanks to email, chat, texting, Zoom, and other online platforms, including the website builder on which they’ve constructed this impressive exhibition portal. While the rest of us have been binge-Googling, binge-watching-eating-[drinking]-shopping, they have been busy binge-making, putting the repetitive drone time of COVID to good use, turning the mirror back on us (and them). In a shut-down, shut-in world, the key-board has become just that – a device for picking the lock on the door, and as the work on show here pointedly demonstrates, the door once opened turns in as well as out onto the world. The time of COVID is unlike anything in the history or prehistory of this planet (after all, the dinosaurs didn’t get a wireless alert before that 9-mile wide asteroid plunged into the Gulf of Mexico 66 million years ago). The Big Hiatus- the elongated pause in which- if we’re lucky - we get to take a breath has exposed us to our own fragility: to what the world could be and what it has become. With skill and grace, intelligence and humor the work collected here embraces that fragility, makes light of it (sometimes literally) and points us toward whatever lies ahead.
- Dick Hebdige, Professor Art and Film and Media Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara