this is good for artists imo


If you are following along with our posts, you might remember at the end of last year, we published a podcast episode about wanting a way for artists to network (and be networked with) outside of centralised social media constraints, ie. Instagram. Fuck instagram, still. It’s so shit and getting shitter. There’s no clarity. No peace. No organisation to any of the main social media platforms people are beholden to. We published the episode, along with all our hopes and dreams, and our collaborators Geeks for Social Change got on writing a mega funding bid to create a new RSS-focussed way for artists to stay together. A big old ark to float away on. A big old ark with lots of smaller lifeboats that different groups of artists could situate themselves on. Don’t know how I feel about this analogy, because if I follow it any further, the curators are going to positioned as search and rescue operatives… which, yeah, sometimes, whether we like it or not. ANYWAY, anyway. The bid was unsuccessful. Aren’t they all. We have not regrouped yet because of busyness and tiredness, wondering all the time how best to communicate the need for restructuring to the funders, who don’t actually want anything to change. It’s been frustrating and demoralising and very fuck this — and then, I found out about mesh:

and I felt like, okay, it’s starting. Flare’s gone up. In 2020, artists on Chisenhale’s Into The Wild development programme set up a website called Mesh. It’s a wiki for arts in the UK. It has an index of networks, resources and inspo, and given how comprehensive these things can get, it does not have a lot of meat on its bones at the time of writing. But the idea is there, and the shape, and the tech, and it’s easy to see where it could all go. Take the networks page. Split into regions across the UK, North West for ex. is then split into artists, publications, organisations, and studio groups. Each section has a table with a name, address, contact info, and description. It probably has only 5% of the actual arts activity in the North West covered but do you know who’s gotta add that 95? We do, because it’s a wiki. You can just sign up and write into it, and good. We know what’s what! No one person knows everything, we all have to pool our info and make sure the page can be useful to others. The artists on the lifeboats, the search and rescue trying to find people to curate into exhibitions and whatever. Gotta get to dry land as soon as we can.

I really like it. I hope in sharing Mesh here, everyone can help write it. I understand now why people have wikipedia marathons. If we all sat down in a room with our laptops, we could get so much shit done in a day. I had maybe half an hour of adding stuff to it recently and I felt so fulfilled. It’s also a good opportunity for people who maybe don’t have a reputation or a follower count or a CV of any sorts to put themselves/their gallery/their publication on the map. That’s what everyone should be able to do. I hope people feel comfortable doing that, because that way we can all find each other, you know, when we evolve past social media. Fingers crossed X_X