In January students from Kingston University opened their first-ever digital exhibition, Unify n Uplift, which aims to bring a moment of togetherness.
The exhibition consists of four parts that can be viewed using Virtual Reality (VR) equipment: A Drag Through History, Artists Pharmacy, Queerosities and Bog: City.
“At the start of the Autumn term, we had hoped to produce a digital exhibition alongside some physical interventions on campus,” said Imogen Willetts, a lecturer at Kingston School of Art.
“However, in December we realized that the entire project would have to exist online once it was understood that universities would not be reopening as normal in January.
“It’s a real challenge to curate a meaningful cultural experience online. There are obviously challenges to the medium but also a lot of freedom too.”
Willets said the aims of the exhibition were to both educate and entertain, but the main idea was to unite students.
“Really the idea was to bring Kingston School of Art students together for a shared experience at the start of the new term, and new year – a moment of togetherness and hope through creativity and culture.
“The projects were really varied, so experienced as a group, we hoped that there would be something of everything, from contemporary art, to art history to live music and VR artworks,” Willets said.
Platform for bogs
A second-year student in Creative and Cultural Industries, Benedict Le Grys, who curated Bog: City said making the exhibition in unusual circumstances was exciting and interesting.
Le Grys says in Bog: City he wanted to showcase art and artists that celebrate the role of bogs and wetlands in our culture and environment.
“Bogs cover three per cent of the surface of the planet – exactly the same amount as cities. I hoped the work I chose to include in the exhibition demonstrated the importance and beauty of bogs as well as their role as a potential force for good in the current climate emergency.
“Bogs are the most biodiverse habitats on the planet and are increasingly recognised as important bellwethers in the current climate emergency, with recent studies showing that renewal of peat bogs is a cheap and effective weapon in the battle against global warming,” Le Grys said.
Le Grys says he hoped that Bog: City would encourage the audience to think differently about bogs and wetlands and see them as they are – a vast ancient and mysterious entity with a timely role to play in the planet’s survival.
“Around the world, they have been firmly rooted in the myths and stories of the people who inhabit them. From Zulu creation narratives in Africa to the home of the Mother Creator in Gaelic mythology,” Le Grys said.