Zhenya Rynzhuk on the digital design decisions behind the interactive Covid Art Museum

“If we look back at the grid in some time, we can see how the situation as been evolving and how people perceived this situation and overcame it,” Zhenya tells us. “This is not a platform primarily focused on the art itself, it is much beyond that. It is a collection of real stories, emotions and happenings shared by people across the globe in the format that they found to be the most comfortable for them to speak up.” When CAM approached Zhenya with the brief, it was full of flexibility. As they liked the studio’s previous work, they gave full reign as to how to approach the project creatively. As long as it provided a space for people all over the world to submit work, get support from other peers and some media exposure during the days of quarantine, that was the main thing.
The Covid Art Museum is the world’s first museum for art borne during the Covid-19 quarantine. Founded by three friends working in Barcelona’s advertising agency – José Guerrero, Emma Calvo and Irene Llorca (otherwise known as CAM) – the project exists on a micro site developed by Zhenya Rynzhuk, co-founder of Synchronized Studio. Currently exhibiting more than 800 artworks from over 70,000 submissions and 120 different countries, the project is upheld by a bold visual identity showcasing the breadth of content inside the digital museum.
Speaking to Zhenya about the mammoth project, she tells us how the concept resonated a lot with the team at Synchronized. In turn, the Kharviv-based studio wanted to find a way to express the multiplicity of the work inside the digital archive, spanning photography, video, drawings, set design, poetry, performance and more. The platform aims to depict the reality of the work, not just a mere documentation of it. It shares the artists’ experiences and emotions, shining a light on how the pandemic affected peoples’ lives as told by the people themselves.
As a result, Zhenya and the rest of Synchronized came up with a grid system to hold the work. Devising a clear separation of the cells to reflect social distancing measures, the website also has a few surprises in store – this includes micro-interactions, so that users can play with the grid by clicking on some empty cells and disclosing what’s hidden within. The reveal sees new work from a contributor, a quotation or even a social distancing disclaimer in some parts. Playfully engaging with the grid which is historically static and concrete, Synchronized wanted the website design to pique the user’s interest by turning concept on its head.