Erandy Vergara Vargas curates, teaches, and writes on contemporary and media art. Born in Mexico City, based in Montreal. More info

How ISEA2020 in Montreal evolved from the physical to the virtual


By Rob La Frenais

On the eve of the opening of ISEA2020 in Montreal, Makery spoke to Erandy Vergara, Programming Director and Artistic Co-Chair of this year’s edition. ISEA2020 will be online from October 13-18, 2020.

How has ISEA2020 had to adapt to the new lockdown situation in Quebec?

We had to reinvent the whole thing. We knew participants and the ISEA international community highly values the getting together, the feedback that follows the presentations, the connections and collaborations that can grow from the symposium. We had to adapt, in March, because we knew a second wave of Covid-19 would happen, and that would have been the end of it all. So we decided to be reactive, and our ‘bet’ was to go 100% online. Then we devoted days and months to find the best platform that could create a sense of ‘eventfulness’ and that would allow different forms of communication and networking. All systems have limits, we thought a series of zoom events would feel ‘fractured’ scattered, and so with the platform we are using – Swapcard – you don’t need to go anywhere, everything happens at the same time, and you can easily connect with anyone. At least in theory. Let’s see how people respond.

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