IMD Think Piece by Jadwiga Charzyńska, Director of Centre for Contemporary Art, Łaźnia, Poland

The closing of cultural institutions does not mean suspending their activity, in the same way that social isolation is not a reason to isolate ourselves from culture.  Museums and galleries are slowly reopening after a two-month break caused by an epidemiological danger.  The institution’s door is not yet wide open, hence so far only the seals have been broken and padlocks unlocked.  Spectators will not be able to benefit from a full cultural offer of many institutions for a long time.  Educational and social activity of any kind, such as artistic and residential exchanges, may not happen at all this year. In this atmosphere of limited activity, behind closed doors, the tools of social inclusion developed so far are beginning to rust. 

How can we encourage people to participate in culture in a pandemic-afflicted world?  How can artists find their way in a world full of antibacterial gels and face masks?  The digital world is one of the answers.  Art has been moving to the internet, whether we want it or not.  The popularity of the online offer of the LAZNIA CCA shows us that virtual contact with culture is necessary, and in a certain sense it is an inclusive process.  The digital offer is free, widely available and international.  And yet the inclusiveness of this process remains, in a sense, an illusion.  When the museum’s door is fully open again we should consider those who do not know what webinars or Skype are, and those who are not able to use digital media for various reasons.  Maybe we should devote our future post-epidemiological projects to this problem?