‘Stargazer’ by Soft Spot Gallery

The weeks are going quicker and the days are passing by in seconds, slowing down in the evening when my insomnia sets in, time spreading out to compensate for the lost parts of the day spent doing nothing. Time seems to have inverted on itself, boredom reaching a new level where there is no difference between day and night, morning and evening, everything has merged into one senseless and timeless state with a definitive lack of substance to my life. I can’t eat more anymore, I’m no longer hungry. My body functioning on reserves and feeling too sick to consume much of anything. Nausea setting in, a pain deep in my stomach, feeling unsettled, tense, and unable to relax.

I haven’t felt like writing much recently, instead opting to playing games on my old DS, brain becoming mushy, slipping through until we reach the other side. I came across Soft Spot on an Instagram deep dive, ending up on their website where they are curating content every week whilst their exhibition space in Manchester is temporarily closed. I wasn’t motivated to write anything about art or exhibitions, feeling like it would be quite pointless, not really needed, and seemed like a lot of effort in trying to be productive when I really don’t need to be. But I was interested in how Soft Spotutilises the pre-existing way websites function to create content. I’ve seen quite a few ‘online’ or ‘digital’ exhibitions as a way of countering the absence of physical spaces at present, which aim to function much like a physical white cube gallery space would, either by creating a VR gallery that the user navigates, or by sharing artwork like a portfolio. Rather than trying to replicate the physical world into the digital, Soft Spot instead have created their own format for curating audio-visual content, by embedding pre-existing content from Soundcloud and YouTube, and using a single website page as the virtual ‘exhibition space’. Stargazer functions more like an experience presented to you through a website page, rather than a barrage of art for you to consume. It’s a relief to see a gallery that isn’t trying to claw back what we once had (and will have again in the future), but rather is utilising digital tools to find new ways in which curating art could be established.

This week’s content Stargazer, assembled by Alfie Sellers, pulls me into that feeling of time standing still, floating about on lazy afternoons (eternally) where you don’t achieve much. Soft music accompanies my thoughts, the occurrence where voices around you weave their way into your dreams, a half-asleep world where edges blur. Kind of like eternal tripping except I’m completely sober and time seems to be the drug, falling into stretches of time that suck you in like holes where you get lost and can’t find you way out until your yanked out by your mates through a phone call that brings you back to ‘reality’. A muted episode of Limmy’s show plays, the music becoming its new soundtrack. Limmy, an introvert, has created a fictional world inside his own home, making a ‘spaceship’ to travel to different worlds, with cardboard, tin foil and his imagination. It seems kind of sad to see a grown man do something which is perfectly acceptable for children to do, but also seems a completely valid thing to be doing at this time. It’s not that much different to escaping this world by creating an alternative one in Sims or Animal Crossing. I can only watch Once Upon a Time at the moment because everything else feels too REAL and so instead I need to be distracted by Snow White and The Evil Queen. Limmy seems to exist in a haze-y existence: reality and imagination becoming interwoven until the two are no longer distinguishable.

Stargazer, as a curated content of music, writing and video, presents a possibility of what our boredom could transform into, proposing an alternative ending. Rather than spending hours flitting between things, I can become consumed in my solitude, entranced in a zombie-like state in the blue-ish haze of screen light and travelling further than I thought was possible to transcend the mundanities of my current life. Becoming a recluse and escaping into my introverted ways no longer seems as terrifying, it doesn’t hold the same weighted consequences as it used to, of FOMO and not being a part of something important. Stargazer proposes that there isn’t anything to miss out on anymore, as all that exists in replacement is individuals separated by screens.

Stargazer, assembled by Alfie Sellers, Soft Spot Gallery, 16th – 23rd April, https://www.softspotsoftspot.com/sso2-staring-into-space

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