Musician and Artist Selina Trepp weighs in on how the quarantine has altered her practice. She shares with Esthetic Lens how it has led her to make new work she would not have thought of pre-COVID.
1. How are you holding up?
I’m hanging in there. I am tired, but not burnt out. I have managed to keep my studio work going strong throughout this time. This is quite the feat, considering that my partner and I have been forced to homeschool our kid since March. This reality means that we work in shifts, one of us gets the morning, while the other is with our child and then we switch in the afternoon. I have never had less time to myself than now.
2. Has Covid-19 had an effect on your work? If so, in what way?
It has been negative in the sense that all my shows and exhibitions in the US have been postponed to next year, and because we can’t enter most countries at this point, I was forced to cancel all international shows. I was expecting to travel extensively this year. Instead, I am stuck in Chicago for the foreseeable future. One unexpectedly nice thing about this is, that I now have the time to make work that is directly responsive to the current moment. This whole situation inspired me to make a piece I wouldn’t have ever thought to make if this hadn’t happened and that’s good, it’s pushing me.
3. Is there anything you’ve added to your practice that you’d like to keep after this is over?
My husband Dan Bitney and I are the audio-visual performance duo Spectralina. Pretty early into the quarantine, we started to do Twitch online performances for ESS and Lumpen Radio. These performances have been good for us, they provide a release and a rush. While it’s very different from performing in front of an audience, it still gives us real satisfaction and connection, it is fun and invigorating. Also nice is that we don’t need to pay a sitter and that people from all over can see it. Our audio-visual format translates really well to be experienced online. In response to how we feel lately, we decided to make really energetic, danceable music and images, because we all need to release energy, shake it out. People have been enjoying it, near and far.
4. Of the artists you follow, who is handling this particularly well?
Selina Trepp (Swiss/American b.1973) is an artist researching economy and improvisation. Finding a balance between the intuitive and conceptual is a goal, living a life of adventure is a way, embarrassment is often the result.
She works across media, combining performance, installation, painting, and sculpture to create intricate setups that result in installations, furniture, photos, drawings, and animations.
In addition to the studio-based work, Selina is active in the experimental music scene. In this context, she sings and plays the videolah, her midi-controlled video synthesizer, to create projected animations in real-time as visual music. She performs with a varying cast of collaborators and as one half of Spectralina, her long-running audiovisual collaboration with Dan Bitney.