Protodispatch is a new digital publication featuring personal perspectives by artists addressing transcontinental concerns, filtered by where they are in the world. Published by the international nonprofit Protocinema, Protodispatch will be available for free on the organization’s website, communication channels, and through publication partners including Artnet.com. Conceived by Laura Raicovich, the initiative launches on September 14th with dispatches by Ximena Garrido/Ishmael Randal Weeks, Jorge González (with Angela Brown), Simone Leigh, Kenya (Robinson), and Tiffany Sia (with Emilie Sin Yi Choi and Chan Tze-Woon). Through original commissioned videos, texts, slide shows, and playlists, artists will dig into the precarities and celebrations of our times.
Founded in 2011 by Mari Spirito, Protocinema is a cross-cultural art organization that commissions and presents site-aware art around the world. Spirito said, “Protodispatch is an evolution of Protocinema programs in many places over the past 11 years. It is important to recognize that we are interconnected because it requires that we take better care of each other. I’m excited to see what Protodispatch will add to these efforts.”
Of the project, Raicovich said, “We've imagined Protodispatch as a site for global publics that offers ideas for how we might survive and thrive in a world beset by precarity and violence. While our material circumstances might differ radically, we all face pandemic, late capitalism, and colonialism as powerful forces in daily life. If part of art’s potential is to help us imagine otherwise, Protodispatch is a platform that provides a place of connection, and even hope.”
To expand the reach of Protodispatch, Artnet is collaborating as our first publication partner to distribute each of the commissions on their site every month. This will extend the reach of each dispatch to Artnet’s audience of over 5 million monthly users from over 239 countries and territories.
The initial round of commissions focuses on a diversity of subjects. All of the artists address topics relevant to their respective geographies that can resonate beyond its own locality. Through a hyperlinked lyric essay, and a forthcoming month-long social media takeover, Kenya (Robinson) explores Black people and water—both fresh and saltwater—as an essential part of the storytelling of US histories. Jorge González, in an email exchange accompanied by a diary of images and texts, practices and reflects on the relearning of traditional crafts in Puerto Rico as a recuperative strategy for colonial erasure . Ximena Garrido/Ishmael Randal Weeks describe a process of building a structure communally out of materials brought by participants, revealing the strength of collective memory and its capacity to unveil corruption and lies in the context of Peru’s recent and deep pasts. Tiffany Sia (with Emilie Sin Yi Choi, Chan Tze-Woon) discuss the perils and opportunities of working in Hong Kong in the wake of shattered pro-democracy protests. Simone Leigh suggests that as Black Americans continue to be besieged by white supremacy, it may be time to once again go underground.
Protodispatch germinates from Protocinema’s mission to support dialogue across cultures on equal footing. As intensity grows in many places due to urgent ecological crisis, the rise of right-wing/conservative leadership, and enduring economic turbulence, Protocinema believes cultural workers must respond to these conditions with alternative ways of seeing and confronting entrenched problems. By presenting trusted information and viewpoints that are sometimes deeply personal, a network of interconnected individuals with a plurality of perspectives and resources can emerge. While physical mobility is limited due to the pandemic as well as concerns around the economy and sustainability, Protodispatch addresses the desire to stay connected and circulate ideas, using what is available to us to support mutual survival and shared joy.
Laura Raicovich is the curator and editor of Protodispatch. She is a writer and curator whose book Culture Strike: Art and Museums in an Age of Protest was published by Verso Books in June 2021. She recently served as Interim Director of the Leslie Lohman Museum of Art, and previously was Director of the Queens Museum, as well as a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow at the Bellagio Center, and the Tremaine Curatorial Fellow for Journalism at Hyperallergic.
Protocinema is a cross-cultural art organization that commissions and presents site-aware art around the world. Our purpose is to support dialogue between cultures on equal footing and create opportunities for listening and expression. In doing so, Protocinema aids the development of relationships both at the mindfully local and globally interconnected levels. Protocinema advocates for empathy, working towards an understanding of difference across regions through its exhibitions, commissions, public programs, publications, and mentorship. Founded in 2011 by Mari Spirito, Protocinema is an ambulant nonprofit 501(c)3, free of ‘brick and mortar.’ Our locations are varied, responding both to global concerns and changing conditions on the ground.
Protodispatch is supported by Annette Blum, Gabe Catone, Jane Hait, Justin Beal, Jane Lombard, and Helen and Peter Warwick.
Protocinema is supported by the United States Mission - Turkey and Polat Piyalepaşa Çarşı, Istanbul; Board of Trustees: Defne Ayas, Dillon Cohen, David Howe, Jane Lombard, Ari Meşulam, Jason Heard and Sheldon La Pierre, Ayşe Umur, & International Commissioning Committee: Haro Cümbüşyan and Bilge Öğüt, Adnan Yerebakan.