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Virtual opening party launches a virtual exhibition

RMIT Gallery’s inaugural online exhibition The new (ab)normal was launched on June 18 with a gathering of artists in a virtual space – Alison Bennett’s Tinning Street Experiment, which is also part of the exhibition.

The interactive online space recreated the social dimension of an exhibition opening, something very much missed in this time of social isolation. People could mingle and chat, with one artist observing they felt as socially awkward in a virutal crowd as usually do in real life.

There was even the requisite ‘after party’ which saw artists chat long after the offcial speeches, despite lack of any of the usual refreshments.

The low key celebration welcomed everyone to the opening of this special partnership between RMIT Gallery and The School of Art. The exhibition has brought together a diverse school community of staff, students and alumni with local and international partners around the world, who are all experiencing the conditions of the pandemic in different ways and learning how to be as we re-enter society.

“It was a fascinating and rewarding night – great to have other ways of building community and belonging, as well as sharing practice,” said Professor Kit Wise, Dean, RMIT School of Art.

“It was great to see our international guests there. I loved when I said hello to some of our guests, they looked shocked and quickly moved away! So awkward, but a great bonding experience in this brave new world!”

Paula Toal, Head of Cultural and Public Engagement said that RMIT’s galleries play a crucial role in supporting and mentoring students in their professional engagement with the sector and opening up dialogues about the arts industry.

“We need to connect and create a sense of belonging in this altered time of isolation and uncertainty, which is why this partnership and this exhibition is so important.”

The new (ab)normal can be viewed online until 28 August.

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