“TRANSFER is operating on a different timescale than most galleries trying to turn a profit to keep their doors open. The gallery exists to help bring artworks into the world, but our motivation is never around selling work in the short-term.”
Kelanie Nichole is a technologist and exhibition maker based in Los Angeles, and the founder of the experimental media art gallery TRANSFER. Since 2013, she has worked to explore new modes of supporting and exhibiting “distributed” artworks (namely, artworks that exist in digital, networked, or virtual spaces).
“We are in the midst of a historic social justice uprising and wealth inequality is falling out of fashion. This will be the great unraveling of the artworld.”
Q: Given how precarious digital artmaking—and artmaking in general—can be, where should we look to for optimism that sustainable artmaking is possible?
A: The only optimism I find is in the streets with the Movement for Black Lives. We must actively dismantle the status quo and make space for others to re-seed new values around artistic labor and creation. We are in the midst of a historic social justice uprising and wealth inequality is falling out of fashion. This will be the great unraveling of the artworld. In the meantime, new subcultures and genres are rising, artists are finding autonomy in everything from independently run art schools, like Dark Study, to creating installations inside MMOs for new audiences, as exemplified by LaTurbo Avedon’s work in Fortnite. I believe divesting from the institutions which now have power–and which perpetuate white supremacy–is the true way forward. This will require all kinds of new organizing, and inversion of the values of the existing artworld around scarcity, wealth, and power.