I've been hearing a lot of artists and critics try to find the bright side of seeing all of the money drain out of everything. Yeah, sure, I know: A down economy can spur innovation, get artists thinking about alternative spaces, get them finding ways to keep creating independently of the demands of dealers or collectors, etc. Most of this just sounds like wishful thinking to me, and, as someone who's trying to run a non-profit exhibitions program, I mostly think having money to do things always trumps not having money to do things. It really is that simple.
Still, there are people out there carving out interesting territory in the shadows of declining institutions and disappearing capital. Take Nick Lucking and Tim Ivison, for example, and their website, SPCMKR.COM (that's spacemaker with all of the vowels removed.) I first heard about them on a badatsports podcast back in January, and haven't been able to get their idea out of my head: The two have created a forum for sharing information about informal artist residencies--work-related stays in various cities that are essentially artist-financed, and not affiliated with any institution. Here's how they've described their venture:
The program objective of spcmkr.com is to create a forum in which cultural producers can connect to the resources they need to support travel, whether for escapism, reconnaissance, work, tourism, nomadism, or refuge. Not only does the project aim to provide the rudiments of housing through a network of available spaces, but it also encourages the sharing of tools, access to social networks and opportunities within various fields before, during, and after the exchange.
Visit their website here.