ALL ARTS Performance Selects

FULL EPISODE

Con Alma Post-Show Discussion

A candid discussion about the live concert experience of original works by composer Paola Prestini and vocalist and composer Magos Herrera. The artists are joined by director Ashley Tata, Karen Wong, Karen Brooks Hopkins and others.

AIRED: February 12, 2021 | 0:34:48
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TRANSCRIPT

Kim: To start the conversation tonight,

I wanted to ask what Con Alma means to each of you,

from the perspective of your expertise

in the arts, and civic engagement,

and international cultural exchange today.

And I thought, if we could start with you, Karen Wong?

Sure. Hi, everyone.

I wanted to say aloud how gorgeous that last hour was.

And what I wanted to really dig deep into

is this notion of technology.

I think that's been on everybody's lips

over the last eight, nine months.

How is performance and technology going to intersect?

Per-COVID times, you know,

when we thought about technology and performances,

was really around pyrotechnics and spectacle.

You think about the pop concerts

that we're so used to seeing,

Broadway, you know, it was the screens in "Evan Hansen"

and "West Side Story."

And I think, in this moment,

and particularly the way Con Alma used technology,

was really around this notion of creating intimacy,

creating a relationship with the viewer,

with the audience, that is really more one-to-one.

And I think the way the performance was layered

is really, perhaps, something -- is the big takeaway

I think a lot of artists and producers will think through,

in terms of moving forward with their own practices.

Thank you. Ashley, can you share your thoughts next?

Right. This idea of Can Alma, and what it means.

And in this regard, I mean,

one of the things that I've been working on

since the shutdown are ways of kind of expanding our notion

of what it means to be together,

and what it means to share time and space.

As, like, a theater director,

or someone who works in live performance,

A lot of times I think about the job

as being the execution of an action through time and space.

And there is this moment when we started making work online

where there was a lot of conversation

about whether one could call it "theater."

And for a moment, I said,

"Fine. You don't have to call it theater.

It's a live performance.

You can have theater, if that's the title."

But I think, then, I started thinking about it more,

and realized that, if we're -- if we have a theatron

in which a group of audience members

are looking at the world, that they

are looking allegorically at their own world,

then, we can still consider this a theatron.

And so, the movement has been to try to ask the audience

to accept that they also can be in a different physical time

and space relationship, and also that the artists can, as well.

And what I've learned is that adding to that equation

of an action through time and space

is this real desire to connect, and what that is.

And I think that it's kind of amazing how,

even if it's a performance

where there seems to be a fourth wall of the screen,

if you have two performers who are trying to connect

through the medium, then, that's still felt.

And I think that that's something, right now,

that the the need to feel

that people are attempting to connect,

and are making a connection in this medium,

is in the zeitgeist very much, right now.

Thank you. Magos, Would you like to speak next?

Well, you know, I need to breathe in, breathe out.

[ Laughs ]

It's been -- It's been a long journey, and I have to say that

how [indistinct], the Brazilian composer,

that I'm like a flor de piel --

like, my skin is, like, right now.

Because, you know, it's funny.

I mean, now that we've done it life, and with the audience,

and I'm getting all these takes of people crying out of emotion,

I mean, that's where I actually connect.

And to me, the whole narrative throughout the process was --

and what we talked about a lot, Paola and I, with Ashley,

was to really reflect the human connection.

Because as I said,

you can have the best possible technology in the world,

but if you don't have the human --

the right human resources, and the soul,

it won't go through.

So, to me, this is a really beautiful window

that gives me hope, you know, gives me hope as an artist,

the message has been delivered.

It's been -- It's been a long journey,

but I'm really happy that that I felt the audience,

because it's it's a work of trust among all the people

that was involved --

you know, the crew, the people, the technicians,

all the editors, and mostly Paola,

for embarking this journey with me.

Kim: Well, thank you.

It was just such a beautiful experience.

I cannot thank all of you of enough.

Paola, can you go next?

You know, I think the big takeaway, for me,

aside from just being so happy to be able to make art, is that,

you know, no one needs to give us permission to make.

And I think, often, especially when you're kind of

in mid-career, you know,

you're depending on commissions, of course, for livelihood,

and to also kind of, you know, pace your life.

And I think what happened to me in March was that everything,

you know, went away,

in terms of all the work that I had lined up.

And so, this ability to create with no commission,

with just, you know, the real impetus to say,

"we need to do something, and we need to do something now,

with these collaborators," that was powerful.

And then, the other thing I think that I really took away

from this was the idea of social media's social impact.

And I think that I hadn't been really thinking

of social media that way.

I was actually really kind of disheartened with social media

because of selfie culture, and this kind of, like,

vanity that comes behind it.

And as I began to rethink of social media

as a way to actually connect with a community,

and as I began to realize, like,

how much I was missing that response,

it all of a sudden became much easier

to actually create an authentic connection

with the audience in ways that they could see themselves.

And of course, in this theme of finding communion in isolation,

that theme really resonated.

You know, for those of you

who don't know the painter Remedios Varo,

who was our original source of inspiration,

she's someone to look at.

And as soon as Magos sent this to me, I was like,

"Oh, my God, we have to work with Kevork."

And Kevork and I have done quite a bit of work together.

He's in the Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo.

He has a gorgeous exhibit up at the Asia Society right now.

It's an incredible solo show.

You should check it out.

But one of the things that I find so important

about his contribution to the evening

is the sense of ephemerality that it brings

with his specific art form of painting live.

Well, it was such an honor -- an honor to work with Paola,

because we've been working together for a long time.

I feel like, every time I hear her sound,

definitely my line comes just by itself, without even planning.

So, what it is, like, I take this bottle,

which I created 20-some years ago,

and I just put this wet paint on the surface.

And I just move it, inspired by sound.

and kind of the melody comes to my mind,

and to my emotions, and controls the hand.

Basically, it always goes forwards.

There is no time for, let's say, creating painting.

It's just sharing the process, sharing a journey,

the way the musician and singer

share the sound, always goes forward.

So, it's the same way all of this work done.

There is no wrong and right.

Just the idea of being part of the journey.

It just -- It flows. It flows.

And it just -- Sometimes it even surprises -- surprises me,

when I see the light just comes almost like a melody,

and tells its own story.

So, it's been an unbelievable experience, this collaboration.

And honestly, it's probably the easiest

and the fastest project I've ever done,

because it felt like I'm part of the family.

Beautiful. And thank you for having me be part of this.

So happy to have you.

And I guess, finally, just, you know,

this is gonna, perhaps, sound cheesy,

but, you know, when you are at a --

you know, at a breaking point,

the thing that gets you through is friendship.

And so, that's what this was.

It was, you know, a supreme expression of friendship.

So, thank you, Magos.

And thank you, Kevork.

Thank you, Paola.

Karen Brooks-Hopkins,

can you add your observations next?

Yes. Thank you so much for allowing me to be part of this.

It was just amazing.

And I wrote a few things down about how it made me feel,

and how it made me feel, not only listening to it,

but the fact that you did it,

that you put it all together.

And I thought to myself, "This work is so personal.

It's so romantic.

It's so communal. It's so spiritual.

And it's so resilient."

It has all of those qualities.

And it was just a joy to be a part of it.

And then, I reflected,

after thinking those things, and being so --

so moved by the quality of the musicianship,

and the technology,

and the way everything worked together.

And I started to reflect, and I thought,

"You know, theaters are closed.

People have lost their livelihood.

Many have gotten sick.

Some have died, and left us.

Many have suffered.

Many are alone.

And still, we make beautiful music.

And then, we feel so much better.

And then, we are so much better."

And it's just -- it's a courageous thing.

So, bravo to everyone.

Really, really special.

Paola: Thank you, Karen. That means a lot.

So, I guess I would just pose one thing

to our esteemed guests.

And I ask this from a real, you know,

place of honest sincerity, in that, going into 2021,

the thing that I keep coming back to

is this idea of active hope.

And I wonder if I could just ask you, you know,

especially Karen -- and actually, anybody,

all of our creators, you know, what has given you hope

in this moment, in terms of the next steps?

I feel like I know what I'm gonna take with me,

but there's so much unknown.

And from your vantage points, can I just ask, you know,

especially for our audience, here,

what gives you hope going into '21?

Listening to Magos sing, and hearing the whole thing,

blows my mind, and gives me hope.

But mostly, I think that

we've all struggled through this together.

It's kind of remarkable that everyone on the planet

has been involved at the same time.

And maybe we learn something coming out of this

and we -- we're just better on the other side.

So, that gives me hope.

Many days, I don't feel so hopeful,

and then, things will happen that make me feel hopeful again.

Tonight's concert made me feel hopeful again,

seeing artists collaborate and realizing that artists,

no matter what they try to do to stop us,

They can't stop us.

Nothing can.

And that gives me a lot of hope.

And hopefully, as the world changes,

and more people feel as we do, more resources will be available

for this kind of creative collaboration.

And theaters will open again.

And then, we'll be able to do things on stage and online.

All of the venues are open.

All of the doors will be open.

And I think that will just be -- will feel so good.

So, that's what gives me hope.

I love that. Karen?

It's hard to follow Karen Brooks-Hopkins.

[ Laughter ]

Brooks-Hopkins: Thank you, KW.

I think, you know, in chaos,

you always find the silver lining.

And I think the silver lining is really around this idea

of dialog, and partnerships among artists

from different genres and disciplines,

from Mexico, Germany, and Amsterdam and Brooklyn,

all meshing together.

That's what gives me hope.

I believe in openness, as well as, it's very efficient

and easy to speak to one another over the Internet.

And bizarrely, I think,

as Karen Brooks-Hopkins is suggesting,

every discipline is going to have to figure out

not only how they do things live,

but what does that digital content transformation

look like, as well?

So, that just means, perhaps, more opportunity, as well.

And so, that also gives me hope.

I just want to say, in this spirit of hope,

I want to say that the process to do this,

this coming alive, it required a lot of efficiency,

a lot of professionalism, of course, a lot of imagination.

But also, I guess the beauty of what you saw

was because everybody was flexible,

and open to making it happen.

And we had a lot of obstacles in the process.

So, I think what gives me hope is that I know for certain

that we are surrounded by a beautiful community,

a courageous community,

that will help us move forward as a community.

So, I'm in a state of awe, in that sense, I guess.

Elena says, "This made me think of the Octavio Paz poem,

part of which is 'between what I keep silent and what I dream,

between what I dream and what I forget. poetry.'"

So, she says her question is,

"Since this has the floating quality of a dream,

how did this start?

As a feeling? An intention?

And how did you give it shape?"

And the question is sort of for all the artists.

Well, it started with a phone call.

Yeah. I mean, it started with a phone call as friends,

you know, like, we --

you know, sharing what -- how we were coping into this moment,

and, you know, because it was at the beginning of the pandemic,

I flew back to Mexico.

[ Indistinct talking ]

Right. You were on the border.

So, we were breaking into, you know,

trying to put together everything.

And I closed my apartment in Brooklyn,

and trying to understand what was happening.

And in the level of friendship as artists, or as women,

as friends, we kind of resonate in the same kind of space.

And it was just -- I mean, I have to say, I mean,

it was a very long process,

but I have to say that it was very natural just to do it.

I guess, for what Karen was saying,

you know, it's just an impulse that you have as an artist.

You have to express.

And maybe it's as a therapy, almost,

to transform everything that you're living,

and you're trying to understand, into a creative process.

And we didn't know how we were gonna do it,

you know, like, in which length,

you know, we didn't know anything

except we wanted to have a conversation.

And then, we have this beautiful image by Remedios Varo,

that Paola was talking about.

And it's a beautiful female body image in a in a monastic cell.

And it's creating -- painting birds

that get animated through her soul.

So, it was a beautiful metaphor of, you know,

how either we just lock down,

and get depressed, and miss New York,

and the artistic community, and being on the road.

Or I create, with Paola, a bird,

and we find a new light for this moment,

and an opportunity for inner transformation.

And then, very naturally, it was funny,

because we we were really moving along with our album.

And then a friend of ours was like,

"Well, how are you gonna present it?"

And we both looked at each other,

and we were like, "Oh, my God, we have no idea."

We hadn't even thought of that part.

We were just busy writing, and calling our friends.

And then, it was actually, I remember Ashley

was doing another project for Sawdust.

And Brian was like, "Why don't you ask Ashley?"

And I was like, "Oh, no. She's gonna be way too busy."

And I asked her. And she said, "Yes."

And that was amazing.

And then, of course, we called Kevork.

And then, slowly, this idea of how to kind of present

it digitally began to be a really intense conversation.

And especially just, you know,

because what was really important to us

was that, as much as Con Alma is an expression of us

as two friends, it's also -- we really wanted it

to be a reflection of a community.

And that's where, you know,

the social media campaigns began,

and just thousands of e-mails that were sent to me and Ashley,

completely gathered that, and created this expression,

which was really beautiful.

I don't know, Ashley, if you want to say anything

about when you came into the project.

Part the dream atmosphere,

it was really exciting to have this Varo image,

and to kind of be invited into

a surrealist mindset, or landscape.

And I think -- I mean,

this is something that I'm just working through now,

but this idea of digital persona,

and what that means.

And so, there -- it seems like there's this thing

where everything can be a bit --

like, things are a bit more slippery, you know?

Like, where we are, who we are,

how things are moving in and out of each other.

And so, this way of making work --

I mean, it's partially something when I'm --

I don't know if Eamonn is on this call right now,

but Eamonn is a video designer

who I've worked with quite a bit,

and worked with a lot of video designers,

and this idea of light and shadow,

and how it interplays on physical bodies,

and how that kind of creates this --

this dreamy, surrealist thing

which I think works quite well with music,

because it's this idea that the sound

and the not really articulate image

can affect a viewer and a listener

in a way that's beyond narrative,

that it kind of -- it goes into you,

and your whole body becomes this this this object,

that experience,

and has a sensorial experience of the information.

And then, you end up knowing something, I think,

in a more deeper, deeper way.

So, these kind of -- this ability to layer

these images really works.

And I just -- but to the hope thing,

which is actually more important,

I think, important to express, that I've been realizing,

is I do really appreciate

that this project does have, at its core,

an understanding of the relationship

between something that is about the humanity beyond --

you know, it's beyond kind of grant language.

It has to do with the idea that we are a necessary --

that artists are a necessary part of --

I mean, I would say a democracy,

but also a part of the human landscape.

And that this -- and it was so exciting,

because I feel, during the lockdown,

I've become more able to to articulate that without feeling,

like, shame or embarrassment, or like it's all whoo whoo.

I mean, maybe because there's a lot of time

not around a lot of people.

But, you know, when when Paola and Margos had a --

the first conversation we had was a lot about that.

And I was so relieved to have this community of people

to have a conversation with about, you know,

what we're trying to express, really,

has to do with the spirit, and the soul,

and that that's okay.

And it's okay to invite a social media audience

into that, as well, and remind them that

they can follow their better nature,

and decide to reach out, and embrace each other,

and open themselves up, and sing together,

and want to be seen as singing together.

Or like these tweets that came in today.

I mean, some of these -- it was so incredible to me

that that actually worked. I mean, that was the experiment.

I wasn't sure if it was working. It did.

Ashley: Oh, God, yeah. I mean, and it was like,

"Are e gonna get trolled? Like, what's gonna happen?"

But if you invite people to open up to their better nature,

then, maybe, it can happen. I know that's, like, a bit --

see, and this is where I already am apologizing,

like, "Oh, it's so whoo whoo."

But yeah, I think, like, leading with love,

that we need artists to help us allow ourselves to go whoo whoo,

and feel that it's okay to do that,

and to move away from cynicism.

Kim: Yeah, I just wanted to say, first,

that I've been on a lot of Zoom meetings this year,

but this is the first one that I cried so much.

So, thank you for that beautiful experience.

And I really kind of -- I'm a technologist by training.

I'm a software engineer myself.

But the comment on social media by Paola,

and the earlier comment on technology by Karen,

are just really interesting to me.

So, I guess my question is,

how do you think about the social media,

and these, like, technologies going forward?

And as technologies, like, how can myself, potentially,

and also my friends, who I also know are interested,

but may not really have more, like, arts training,

how can we get more started in kind of getting more engaged

in sort of helping the technology

and the arts meet, and integrate?

Great question.

Technology can't be this big bad wolf,

which, certainly, that's how the media and certain groups

like to portray it.

Technology is a medium,

and it's up to each artist to look at it, and to understand

how to conquer it, and to shape it

in the way it needs to amplify their voices.

So, just as we all know

how social media can take so many different forms,

you guys dug deep, and found a way to make it work for you,

despite the type of reputation social media has currently.

I think, you know, this idea, too, in terms of the action

drawing that we saw tonight,

which was so beautifully executed.

There's a lot of things around this notion

of being very open-minded.

When you hear something, my first instinct is,

"Oh, that's not gonna work. It's so corny."

But that's that's really the wrong way to to approach it.

And I've had to reteach myself to be, like,

"Okay. Sounds awfully weird,

but I'm gonna take the deep dive,

and open myself up to it."

And I think something I very much admire

about Karen Brooks-Hopkins, as she and I

are right now engaged in a technology project

around mixed reality, and extended realities.

In terms of how technologists can get more involved,

it's exciting that you're -- that you may be interested.

I think the first thing to do is, you know,

find the type of culture that you're most interested in.

And I think, if you would want to volunteer

or mentor, nonprofits would be incredibly receptive

Karen, maybe talk about NEW INC, because that could be --

I mean, I don't know if everyone on the call knows NEW INC.

So, NEW INC is New Museum's cultural incubator.

We've been around for seven years.

It's at the intersection of art, design, and technology.

And what we really are is a safe space, a workplace,

and a professional development program for artists,

designers, and now choreographers

and performance artists, to find ways of sustainability.

And in that, we have a lot of folks

who are very technology savvy,

or they want to work with folks who are in that realm.

And so, there's a fantastic mentoring program

where we have 150 mentors around the city

who are at the top of their game,

could it be coding, in marketing, in VR film.

So, it's just a gamut.

And it's just super exciting.

It's where, in many ways, Paola, really, and I

established our friendship, and many partnerships.

So, check it out. Newinc.org.

Paola: It's amazing.

This has just been incredible,

like, bizarre time, the pandemic.

But I've been working with Andy Carluccio of Liminal,

who actually did the streaming.

He was my student at UVA.

And I taught production design there.

And he's a coder.

And so, my company, Anonymous Ensemble,

started working with him,

developing streaming technologies --

like, how to use the techniques that we use

and live performance in theater. Because that's what I do.

I do projections design.

And be able to use it in this way,

like, for web streams, combining decentralized

performances from all over the place.

And it's funny because we started working on it

a year ago -- over a year -- a year and a half ago.

And then, all of a sudden, the pandemic happened.

And Ashley and I and Andy did [indistinct].

And then, he just, like, took off,

and now he's doing...

But what's most exciting for me and Ashley, I think,

is the idea that these technologies

are not gonna go anywhere.

We've developed them super fast.

We've developed these techniques and technologies

in just a few months.

And they're gonna change

the performance landscape going forward.

And we're not gonna think about live performance

the same way anymore,

because, you know, we can do shows in spaces

for real bodies, and real people.

And we're all craving that.

We can't wait to get back to that.

But we're also gonna open up those performances to the world.

And that's really exciting.

So, we're thinking in hybrid forms,

already, for when the vaccine comes.

And I don't know if everyone on this call is aware,

but tonight was actually streamed to radio in Mexico,

to TV, to digital.

And then, of course, here, you know,

in the states, with WNET, as well to TV,

and then, to digital.

So, I mean, it's an interesting way

to be able to communicate across platforms.

And when Magos and I began this,

it was really important to Magos that radio and TV

be part of the Mexican execution of this,

because so much of education during the pandemic

was actually done on radio and TV

in the most remote communities.

So, that was kind of our, you know --

and that's what Liminal and Eamonn and Ashley really brought

was this facility to be able to say,

"Great, we're gonna be able to work across

all these platforms in Mexico."

You know, and the thing also that, you know,

with working specifically to address this thing --

Andy was an engineer who's also a theater, you know, major.

And so, it's this really...

This ability to work --

the symbiotic relationship where the artist is, like,

"Here's my problem," and the engineer --

I mean, it's not as easy as this,

but the engineer says, "Here's a solution."

And then, we kind of work together

in order to make that solution a reality,

and applicable to what we're actually doing,

which is...

which I think is kind of perf--

well, I mean, that's what I think people talk about

when they're talking about a liberal arts education,

for example. So, I think continuing to think

in those terms is where a lot of opportunity --

where we can find a lot of opportunity.

We were -- I mean, just so everyone knows,

we were coding for this show,

like, we were, like, developing new technologies

will two hours before --

An hour ago. Yeah.

And also, just to note -- so like, Eamonn is in Virginia

and Andy is in the D.C. area.

And there are a few of us at Sawdust in Brooklyn.

So, it's -- and the stage manager

was calling from New York City, elsewhere.

So, the production was also decentralized,

not just the -- our special guests.

So, we have time for, I think,

two more two more questions from the audience.

I see Joe [indistinct] I think your hand was that.

Joe, would you like to ask a question?

Yeah. I mean, you know, I really was just going to ask

a question kind of in the area

that Eamonn was talking about.

First of all, congratulations, everyone.

It was really beautiful. It was beautiful to witness.

And, I mean, I thought of it a little bit

because Paula and Magos

were talking before the performance today,

saying, "We've got to do this in person."

And I've been thinking this entire time

sort of what what is --

especially in the next 6 to 12 months,

what is in-person performance going to look like,

once, sort of, people are comfortable,

and the vaccine is -- has...

been made available to everyone.

Are we going to just want something much simpler,

or are we immediately going to see sort of

how all of this experimentation, and just everybody being online

constantly, and video calls, and everything.

Like, is that going to immediately be seen

in live performance,

or will there be sort of a trend away from that,

back to sort of a simpler, just person-to-person?

Yeah, I'm curious whether -- like, what people think of that.

Let me jump in here, if that's okay.

Can you can you hear me, okay, Joe?

You know, I think that's a great outcome of this,

and one that is very doable, is that it kind of opens up

to these enormous partnerships, such as we never had before,

that, not only do venues where you --

say you have multiple theater venues,

and all of the theaters, they are interconnected,

and doing something around an idea,

where you have, say, something on stage,

you have something on screen.

There's talks. There's gatherings.

And then, you also have that online.

And then, you also broaden it once again,

and have partners that are other venues in your area.

And then, you broaden it once again, and you have the city.

And then, you broaden it once again,

and people are connected to where they are tonight

all over the world.

And I think that there's a possibility

of creating sort of huge international events

that are both live and virtual, and connected thematically,

artistically, and via venue, and via technology.

And in a way, the ultimate goal, here,

is that sort of everyone could be speaking in one voice

together around a certain artistic goal.

And I think that would be very exciting,

and kind of remarkable,

in terms of the power of the whole thing,

if it went that way.

Yeah, and if I could just -- just to tag on to that, too,

because I've had a lot of conversations with producers

and artistic directors around this.

And I think that a couple of things --

you know, in the immediate future,

we'll probably be a 25% capacity, as far as audience.

So, we'll have to figure out

how to be able to give our live performances

to a larger audience, as well, just because of ticket sales.

And I think that the great thing about this moment,

and the way that some people are approaching it,

is that we're developing a new medium.

It's not that we're putting a camera

on a theatrical production.

So, in the same way that there's like things

that worked for television,

there's stories that work for film,

there's stories that work for live theater,

this is another --

so, I don't think it has to be binary.

It doesn't have to be an either/or situation.

I'm working with an artistic director right now on developing

one of these type of pieces, you know,

an online performance.

And he's asking me to consider what happens if we are able

to be in real life in the next year, or so.

And the way that I'm thinking of is it really is a performance

that is designed to be a cyber-performance.

And there's an esthetic that I think we're developing

that has to go with that.

And there's a mode of operating,

and there's a way of telling a story,

that is specific to that.

So, I think that that's the other thing that I don't think

is being talked about a whole lot right now --

which is, again,

we're not just putting a camera on a theater production.

This is a -- this is a wholly esthetic design

that goes into what it is that we're doing when we say

we're going to be broadcasting to an online audience.

Woman: I want to thank everybody for a soul-touching performance.

That's about all I can say.

But I wanted to know, as a composer, Paola,

what will you take forward from this project

into your next musical endeavors?

You know, what I loved about tonight, I think,

really touches on this ability to to see the audience in a way

that I had never really thought about before.

Anybody who knows me knows that I'm pretty pro-artist.

I see everything through the artist's eyes.

I'm an artist. I mean, I fight for artists.

I try to make space.

And this pandemic has taken that away --

you know, the audience away.

And so, all of a sudden, now, I'm thinking

much more deeply about the audience

in a way that I think will transform my work.

And I have yet to see it.

But I can see it tonight in the way that...

the resilience of finding a medium to conne--

you know, to communicate,

and then, in this way that I mentioned before

about social media, which has really opened my eye.

And I have never really wanted the typical art audience.

I've always wanted to connect with audiences

that maybe aren't in the arts.

And this project afforded me that.

And that connection. it gave me life, you know?

And I think that's the way

we're gonna move forward, as artists, and as --

you know, as a field is to find more profound

and more direct ways to connect with people

who need to see themselves in the work that you're creating.

And again, I think we should just close out

with another round of congratulations

and applause for all of the artists.

Thank you.

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