While preparing the project Voids2020, we focused on the problems and the issues that concern us personally, primarily as the citizens of Split, and then as cultural workers. The lack of space for work, together with the simultaneous slipping of the city into the abyss of mass tourism and resulting in a void during the winter months, makes the potential of the spaces in the city center (and spaces in general) even more visible. The programme of the project Voids2020 ended only four days before the official proclamation of the epidemic of the COVID-19 disease in Croatia, in March 2020. Only a few weeks later, Croatia, along with the rest of Europe and the world, entered into a serious health crisis, which inevitably brought with it numerous economic consequences. The consequences were felt not only by the cultural sector, but by absolutely everyone, including, ironically, the tourism sector.
The voids thus extended to the tourist season of 2020, struggling and fighting for every guest and every penny that could drip into the state budget on which, ultimately, we all depend. The fragility of tourism as the main (and, unfortunately, the only) branch of the economy in Croatia has come to light in its most painful and direct form. The voids have spread to theaters, cinemas, galleries, but also restaurants, souvenir shops, hotels and other tourism related facilities. Forced to adapt existing scenarios and finally realize that our today affects our tomorrow, creating the foundations for future heritage, both tangible and intangible, we realized the need not to experience individual segments of the world in isolation, but to consider it as a whole.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought with it numerous changes in daily lives of individuals, but in the cultural and creative sectors it seems to have only further highlighted the problems these sectors, and professionals in the domain, face on a daily basis in their work. The constant precarious conditions of the cultural sector, and thus the insufficient valorization of artistic work, are unfortunately only further questioned since we all witnessed the extraordinary need for cultural and artistic content during the pandemic (expected to be always free and accessible…).
In the new edition of the Voids project, which this time we are extending throughout the year with interventions and events that we will organize in the upcoming months, it is impossible to avoid the connotations that the COVID-19 has brought with it. The Voids2021 project therefore also addressed the general situation caused by the pandemic and the artists who participated in the programme were encouraged to, through their work and reflections, refer to the problem and try to contextualize it.
The question we ask is: how can we live better together?
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