A new cocoon


It is a shame that to understand this virus, we must understand math, which to the many of us who were denied a decent math education in school, exists mostly as a phantasm: exponentiality no easier to grasp than the hand of a ghost. And now the health of many depends on a general capacity to believe in the future tangibility of the present intangibles…We must not only now understand exponential growth, but also the difference between sly things, like the deadly distance between 1% and .1%.
— Anne Boyer, this virus

We had booked this announcement with the intention of launching several organizational changes, in advance of our AGM and celebration, scheduled for this coming Sunday, March 22, 2020. The announcements and events are being postponed for the time being, and our offices and gallery space will be closed, in hopes of creating a buffer of distance that will, if implemented properly and with care, mitigate the possible strife our shared world is threatened by, strife that will disproportionately affect those who are most vulnerable.

We implore our communities now to join us in taking caution—many of which and whom already are; small actions that will bear incalculable effects, as the butterfly flaps its wings. Staying at home and limiting social contact, taking extra care with handwashing and disinfecting—these things, should we endeavor to agree together and do them on a large scale, could save the life of a stranger you don’t and will never know. Check in with friends and community members who are more vulnerable: maybe they need some groceries and supplies dropped off at their front door, maybe they need to see a friendly face over skype. Maybe they need some words of reassurance, calm encouragement to take deep breaths and know that despite the panic and uncertainty, love is still a constitutive ingredient in the ether within which we all float.

Let’s get to work while we’re at home; let’s draw the blueprints to build new architectures for how to be, and look back to architectures that existed before our present one. Instead of worrying about the future of our individual securities, let’s think of ways in which we might collectively demand a more just world, outlaw billionaires, create infrastructure to distribute hoarded wealth, design ways to live and thrive that don’t demand the wholesale destruction of the planet, find the holes in capitalism’s seemingly seamless logic of perpetual growth, stick our fingers in them and rip them open. Let’s dream, instead, of perpetual support and care, and create a system of faith that can usher such dreams into our shared world.

Art has existed before capitalism, and it can exist outside of it—outside of upcoming exhibitions, artist-run centres, itinerant curators, mega art awards, blockbuster shows, competitive residencies. We’ve come to rely on all of these to define what art is and how it exists. But it has and will always exceed these structures that feel precarious and vulnerable right now. It exists between and among us, in letters, in stories, in spontaneous singing, in zines, in journal pages, on scraps of paper. It exists as a feeling that compels us to bring something into being outside of ourselves, from within us. It exists in the cracks of pavement, where inevitably, small flowers push through and bloom.

Our event was titled “Emerging from the chrysalis, a celebration.” For the time being, we will spin ourselves a new cocoon, and when the time is right, emerge with you all, slowly unfolding new wings together.

With love & in solidarity,

Untitled Staff & Board

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Untitled Art Society
2001B 10th Ave SW
Calgary, Alberta
T3C 0K4