by 98B COLLABoratory
October to November 2020
NET_WORK is a project comprising four components: a series of personal email-letters sent in a chain style, web-based exhibition, roundtable discussions and a zine (independent publication) released digitally and in limited print.
The work exhibited on the website (net_work.98-b.org) was a response to the project’s proposed themes as well as reactions and meditations on the email-chain-letter the artists sent. The website and zine also served as documentation of the project process, featuring excerpts and soundbites from the roundtables.
NET_WORK sought to explore connections, methods of coping, support systems, and meditations surrounding the changes the pandemic has brought about in the lives of many, chiefly, in Philippine and Japanese contexts.
Visit the NET_WORK Website
Problems in our society that have existed even before the pandemic hit are now being laid bare, making them more tangible and unmistakably visible. What was a muffled static sound in the background have now been amplified into a disruptive noise that can no longer be muted down.
In such an uncertain period, it’s inevitable for fear, grief, and vulnerability to arise. As we grapple with this crisis and make sense of how it has impacted not only our artistic practices but our very human lives, numerous questions are being raised from the role of the arts today, to a close examination of the fissures and gaps in inactive and uncaring systems that have been failing to serve us.
NET_WORK is a project that aims to establish connections and re-connections in a time of confinement and immobility. With no physical communal space, we see a turn where creatives begin occupying niches they have made for themselves online in order to adapt to the rapidly shifting landscape. Socio-technical systems such as emails, blogs, and social media sites are increasingly being used as platforms that help collapse temporal and spatial barriers to initiate relevant discussions and creative collaboration in virtual space.
On one hand, this project calls for an awareness of our undeniably networked human lives enmeshed with those of other beings as opposed to the idea of an individual living in a self-referential vacuum of individualism while problems such as food security, human rights, and environmental degradation come to the fore during the pandemic. On the other hand, it also honors the positive potential of net work (as in work done in the net or internet) by the creative community that circle on sharing, learning, communication, and collaboration.
As this crisis ushers us to unpack issues concerning unsustainable and unkind systems, we believe that it’s important now more than ever for creatives to commune, to share, to exchange, to converse, and to stay connected while we collectively dream of a future that is equal, just, and above all, caring.