Site Salons is a space for open conversations between artists, thinkers and audiences. Hosted by artists and guests, these discussion groups pose questions around artistic practice and navigating our new normal. Spaces are limited to 20 to enable the space for participants to engage in the discussion.
In this discussion, artists Zoyander Street and Squinky will talk about their dreams of deconstructing video calls through online interactive theatre. Video calling platforms like Zoom have disturbed the norms that structure public social interactions, leading to frequent breakdowns in communication. There breakdowns have a certain kind of familiarity to those who didn’t fit neuro-norms to begin with, and sometimes there’s something anarchically thrilling about the breakdown of structures that were previously invisible and benefitted people asymmetrically. At the same time, the dominance of a small number of platforms and contexts for social interaction has limited our opportunities to try out different ways of being together. What can artists learn from experimenting with homebrew chat spaces and hacking everyday video calls?
Squinky is a new media artist and theatre practitioner who makes games about feelings. They are a member of Soft Chaos Collective in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, making queer games with themes of radical softness, community connection, awkwardness, and vulnerability.
Zoyander is an artist-researcher using game design patterns to materialise ethnographic research. They create installations for galleries, museums, and festivals, using custom hardware to expand game design into a participatory medium in social space. They were a Platform resident at Site Gallery from 2018 to 2020.
Image credit: Coffee! A Misunderstanding performance, courtesy of Squinky