Proximity and distance: Interrogating our climate of isolation


Proximity and distance: Interrogating our climate of isolation

Pebofatso Mokoena is fascinated by attempts to pack humans into spaces that should not contain them

Chris Thurman

This is a devastating time for artists and the industry that sustains them. The “gig economy” is a catch-all phrase, but most performing artists have always lived more or less gig to gig. Closing theatres and concert venues is a necessary coronavirus public health measure, but it means many artists, their income already precarious, are now facing a precipice.

It remains to be seen whether the SA state will find methods to sustain them during this period. Other countries have announced government support, but implementation seems impossibly complicated: who gets money, how and how much? Our department of arts and culture has shown itself inept in so many ways over the years that artists, organisations and institutions will not expect rescue from that quarter.

Members of the public can help. When theatres offer you a refund for cancelled shows, let them keep the ticket revenue. If you’re one of the lucky few who can afford to spend a chunk of money, stave off panic-buying urges by purchasing works of art (it should go without saying that this is a much better investment). Most important of all: arts patrons need to get used to paying for digital content...

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