Created by artist Josef O’Connor, CIRCA commissions a different artist each month to present new ideas that consider our world circa 2020. Each artist is invited to create a new work for Europe’s largest screen that offers an innovative and exciting way for London to engage with art, both outside and at home, in a safe and socially distanced way. The inaugural c. 20:20 exhibition transforms the giant 4K screen of the Piccadilly Lights into a digital canvas each month by pausing the adverts on screen for two minutes each day at 20:20 - 20:22 GMT. More info and watch live here: circa.art
In November 2020 The Showroom collaborated with CIRCA to launch its second month of programming with Cauleen Smith's COVID MANIFESTO. Smith's works compile her Instagram series, COVID MANIFESTO, which the interdisciplinary California artist initiated a couple of weeks after the United States went into lockdown. From the 13th April 2020 onwards, her hand-drawn COVID MANIFESTO points followed both the quotidian reality of her practice in the studio and the strangeness of being out of the classroom during the academic year. Her frustrations, reflections and inspirations resonated with the eventful episodes of real life, namely, the turmoil and aftermaths of the central government management of the pandemic, the assassination of George Floyd, and the collective action claiming the end of police brutality across the globe.
Cauleen's work rewrote and revealed each point of the Manifesto throughout the duration of November. In a sort of 'living' still life, the artist's desk became the tableau, in which personal items, remnants of daily rituals, and key references to her practice accumulated, appeared and disappeared. COVID MANIFESTO consists of 23 pronouncements. The project unfolded in a sequence, a crescendo, that was punctuated by 7 intermissions selected from Smith’s existing works. Over the month, the personal and poetic, the eventful and now historical, featured as Smith responded to Covid-19 and its multiple aftermaths.
The CIRCA Advisory Council, chaired by Sir Norman Rosenthal, has been established to consult on the curatorial and compliance process, with representatives from a diverse range of backgrounds including the arts, communications, broadcasting, law and political journalism.
CIRCA has been made possible by Landsec, landlord of Piccadilly Lights, who have kindly donated media space, as a helpful boost to the cultural scene in London’s West End.
It is also is made possible with the kind support of individuals, institutions and galleries, including: Landsec, Lisson Gallery, the Showroom, Gagosian, Whitechapel Gallery, Imperial War Museums, ICA, Museo della Merda (Italy) and the Collezione Maramotti (Italy).
Visitors to Piccadilly Circus will be able to connect their headphones to circa.art and receive a fully immersive audio-visual experience. The website will also stream the artwork every evening (20:20 BST/GMT). Exhibiting artists are invited to upload supporting content such as images, text and videos throughout the month, to expand on their ideas and engage a wider digital community from around the world.