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Art Under Lockdown – TECHNOLOGY

Technology was the fourth theme in our series of workshops looking at how we were experiencing lockdown. The artists we chose for this session were Charlie Chaplin, and two contemporary women artists – the young Chinese artist Cao Fei, and and the ebullient American artist Joan Jonas. In many ways, Charlie Chaplin was the big surprise. His life story is harsh, a real rags-to-riches tale, and his brilliance all the more extraordinary in light of this. He portrayed visually the potential of technology to ‘eat up human beings’, and all of us in the workshop could resonate with this in some way. Cao Fei too captures the loneliness that technology can bring, as human beings become the aliens in a technology-dominated world. Joan Jonas harnesses it to create challenging visuals that are not high-tech, but which capture a sense of the raggedness of life, its sadnesses and its glories. We enjoyed this element, acknowledging how Zoom in particular had been a lifeline for so many of us. It allowed us the workshops too. The discussion around technology, and the global nature of our lives, was a difficult one, and touched on many of the hard issues that have arisen through lockdown. Definitely one that we could delve more deeply into.

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