BIG THINGS AHEAD: TSERING

June 2, 2011

despite our tendency to sit alone in the dark on the computer, one of my favorite parts about the internet isn’t only discovering its deep crevices, but also the endless opportunities for collaboration. tsering wrote me a few months ago about the launch of her new website, remote, an online arts project she has spearheaded with curators and artists around the globe.

the online format is quite appropriate for a team working from sydney, barcelona, and london, respectively, utilizing skype, facebook, and email to coordinate. the project is an exploration of the development of a show, rotating every six months with different curators and themes, each one ending with a printed book of the process and works included. the first exhibition, curated by kuba dorabialski and katy b plummer, is titled “transcendental freakout,” and features various artists whose works are slowly revealed over a six month period. i particularly like the extreme closeup portraits of bits of fimo clay by director kris moyes (they’re so sentimental!), and the trippy, psychological watercolors by tara marynowsky.

big thanks to tsering for taking the time to tell us more about remote! we can’t wait to see what’s next on the lineup!

Name: Tsering Frykman-Glen
Age: 39
Hometown: (Currently) Barcelona

Where are you right now? How’d you get there? Right now I’m the founder of a new online arts project called Remote. Remote is an online arts publication working as an evolving exhibition platform for artists and curators. Put simply, I invite artists and/or curators to take on the project for 6 months to (kind of) do what they want with it – with the stipulation that it needs to grow and change and be curated on the go. When the online publication has run it’s 6 month course we will take it down, edit it and produce a beautiful, yet reasonably priced, hard copy book and in the meantime get on with the next online publication. That’s the theory anyway!

Our first curators, Katy B Plummer and Kuba Dorabialski, are pretty amazing to have taken this on pretty much blind. We have all been learning on the go and dealing with timezone issues – I’m in Barcelona, they are in Sydney and our designer is in London. I don’t even know if they fully understood they were taking the project on for 6 months when they originally agreed, bless ‘em! This project has pretty much been organised by email, Skype and Facebook chat, and now one of the curators has gone and left Facebook….will we be able to finish this publication? It’s quite a concern….

I guess I’ve always been interested in the process of things – the curatorial process, the artistic process – and I guess that just lead me here. For me, this is ideal, I get to work with people I like and respect, from all over the world, and I get to have an insight to these processes and offer a slight window into that. It’s pretty cool.

Where are you going? I hope that Remote will grow and keep on growing. This is only our first publication but already we seem to have a pretty solid group of people who are checking it regularly and people signing up for updates on Facebook, Twitter and by regular old email. I think we are going somewhere and I think it’s in the right direction! I think it’s different to what I expected but somehow much better than I expected. I hope we will continue to show good work. I hope I will continue to work with people I like and find interesting. I hope that in another year or two (most likely two!) we will have another project up our sleeve to introduce to people in a similar but slightly different vein.

What will you be doing when you get there? More of the same I imagine. The next curator, Anna Gleeson, is lined up to start the next publication in September, which is exciting. She’s based in Hong Kong so we’re going to have more time-zone issues but it will work out. I think I’m getting better at explaining stuff via email and chat, I hope I am.

Who/what/where was the inspiration that lead you in this direction? It was a real mix of many things that happened over a long period of time. The original idea, some years ago, was to produce artist books but for many reasons, one of them being financial, I decided to put it off for a while. I moved country, had a second child and generally got on with life but it was always there at the back of my mind. About 18 months ago I got chatting to a friend and she suggested doing something online and it all sort of fell into place. The idea has evolved quite a lot but, for me at least, it’s a much more interesting project. I’m going to quote the curator of the next project (Anna Gleeson) here, I think she explains it well: ”What I like about it is that it seems to use the two media for just what they’re good for – online for open-ended play and a book for a refinement of whatever comes out of the open-ended play-time.”

How are you feeling? Are you excited? Nervous? Terrified? Thrilled? Not so nervous anymore. A few months ago I couldn’t look at other art publications without feeling slightly dizzy. Also, not long before Remote launched, Google launched it’s Art Project and the VIP Art Fair had launched – not that we’re competing and not that we have anything like their budgets – but I did get a little jittery about someone launching a project just like ours before us. Now we are launched it’s easier on the nerves. It’s out there and people can see it and I’m proud of it. I think it’s a good project and the site looks good.

What kind of expectations do you have? That’s a difficult question. I don’t know if I have any expectations as such. I have aspirations maybe, for it to do well and for us to continue to do something that people like and find interesting and hopefully I will keep working with interesting people. And maybe people will buy the hard copy version and it will pay for itself…..maybe….

Are you scared of anything? Yes! Lot’s of things! But mostly letting down the curators and artists, which motivates me to do the best that I can I guess.

What’s the worst thing that could happen? The best? The worst would be that the project folds, that it doesn’t get enough interest to sustain itself – I’m not really talking about finances, more that if it we don’t attract enough people to it for it to keep on rolling along. I have potential curators lined up for a few more Remote publications in the future but at some point we need to be able to approach and be approached by unknown people. And for that to happen we need a certain amount of reach and a certain amount of credibility. The best thing that could happen? That it keeps going and gains momentum and becomes something that people know about and enjoy and that the people I work with will want to stay involved and that more people will want to get involved. Maybe we could earn a wage and maybe we could pay the curators and artists a fee……..wow that would be the best!

What are you taking with you/leaving behind? I will be taking an ulcer and slightly nervous tic and leaving a virtual paper trail of great things being done! And a great admiration for everyone who has worked so hard on the project, I know I keep harping on about this but it really makes it all worthwhile.

What distinguishes Remote from the various other formats of internet exhibitions? I don’t know if there is anything exactly like Remote out there. The internet is big and wide and although I trawl around a fair amount, it would be wrong to say there is nothing like it because I really don’t know if there is or not. BUT, I haven’t come across anything exactly like it. I know there are other sites that do similar things but I had a very clear idea of how I wanted Remote to be. For example it’s very much about viewing the work, there’s not a huge amount of text – enough but not masses. We won’t archive any of the publication online and we will be producing a hard copy publication at the end of it. Also each 6 month project can be very different, it all depends on the curators and what they want to do. Essentially Remote is just an empty space that they can work in, that’s how I like to see it.

Are there any plans for non-internet/”reality-based” shows in the future or is this is a strictly online project? Not with Remote, it is strictly online and then the hard copy book (that will be available for purchase) after the projects come down off the site. I’ve done a fair bit of curating in the past and I would interested in doing some more again in the not too distant future. I have a long list of people I want to work with in lots of different ways – Remote is one way, curating is another.

What do you want your viewers to walk away with after visiting Remote? Overall, that the experience was good and a desire to come back and visit the website to see how the publication progresses.

What did your friends say when you told them? Mostly very supportive. Some friends did say “You’re not putting any advertising on/in it? So, how are you going to make any money out of this?” “Aaaah hummmmmm….good question….”I replied.

Are you ready? I am ready.

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