• The Pasig Review

Touching Art In A Virtual Setting

By Tinky Cruz

It was the night before the opening of the art exhibit when the Cultural Center of the Philippines team was informed of the lockdown. Thus, no mass gathering, no inter-city travel, no live cultural events in the whole Metro Manila until further notice. 

In another part of town, the premiere of an Atlantis musicale had to close its doors even before the curtains could go up. The early birds in the audience at Resorts World were asked to go home as well as the cast and crew. How do we,  the audience and they-  the artists cope now - with venues closed and supporters confined to their homes? COVID19 had  put the artistic industry on a standstill. But not for long.  In a few days, online concerts were being featured via online streaming and even art auctions proceeded as scheduled but not as planned.  "It was truly a challenge to deal with an entirely different platform" , says Rica Estrada of CCP Visual Arts Department. "We were still training to engage the audience over the internet at that point and time" echoes Noeny Gatarin.    These struggles though were what motivated the artistic  community to decentrallize the events outside of the venues. They now have their own Twitter, Instagram and Zoom accounts to bring artwork and stories behind them to the world. 

Jovianney Cruz found himself mobilizing the SHIP - Stay Home International Pianists which programs and uploads  classical music from the musician's home to the viewer's living room using any gadget with wi-fi. Does it do the art and the artists justice though?   Isn't the sensory experience compromised?   Maybe, maybe not.  Should we support the online programs even we are not " techie "?  Maybe yes, no reason not to though! Safety first until this pandemic tames in presence and in nature.  For as long as painters, sculptors, singers, musicians, actors and its managers are compelled to create and share, perhaps the public should continue to patronize and care.  How do we touch art in a virtual setting then?   Maybe its time for us to open our minds, hearts, giving hands and let the art touch us instead.  -------------------------------- For online programs: 1.  CCP website: Response to COVID 2. Manila Pianos online concert series on Facebook.  3. Check out "Concerts" page on Facebook 4. 5.

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