We had the good fortune of connecting with Alice Scope and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alice, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
Four years ago I ran an experimental art space in Kyiv, Ukraine (my hometown). I was mostly curating the shows with physical objects (sculptures, installations, paintings) from young Ukrainian artists. However, once a month I organized live performances in VR, where I invited VR artists to perform in front of the 1000 people. I’ve always been interested in different realities and how digital art can make us think that all limitations only in our head.
When I moved to Los Angeles a year and a half ago, I wanted to start a similar project but more global. I was thinking about different concepts, names, logos and was almost ready to launch a gallery when the pandemic happened. I was locked in my room wearing VR headset and realized that I don’t want to open another white walls gallery. It doesn’t have to be a tiny room on Sunset Blvd. It can be on an island. Virtual Island. I decided to work with the artists from all over the world and especially from non powerful countries like Ukraine.
So I opened an e-curatorial agency called Cultural Policy. My main idea was to build not just a space, but a diverse community and to work together on new meanings, new concepts—critical thinking. Even through commercial work. The policy that we (artists) have to write by ourselves and don’t expect that the government will come up with the great idea how to support all of us.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
A short note about my curatorial career. The first exhibition I curated was 6 years ago. It was 2014 and it was The Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine. The media was spreading bullshit (like usual). I was staying in LA at the time and wanted to share with Americans how the protesters were fighting government forces in the main square. So together with my friend Helen we organized a photo exhibition with the artwork by 12 Ukrainian photographers. It was so powerful to transfer history through visual art. After that exhibition, I decided to continue to work in art.
Later, I founded an experimental art space in Kyiv (that I mentioned before) called AkT with the main goal to support young Ukrainian artists. Most recently, I started Cultural Policy. It’s a global project but still a baby. I opened the project with the international team (Michael, Anton and Olga) on July 23rd. Since then, we have released 2 international collaborative projects—Webtaura and Posthuman Island—with artists from 7 different countries.
I like to work with the topics of human psychology, mental health, post-humanism, dating in the digital age, and evil corporations. Topics that I think it is important to talk about. The main challenge for me is to not sell out for things I don’t believe in—leaving the agency and getting a full-time office job and working for some big company just so I never have to think again about how to cover my rent in LA.
It’s very hard to believe in yourself every morning when you don’t have a predictable schedule or income. My simple rule is to do at least one small thing for developing Cultural Policy every day, even if it’s just one email to a potential investor, partner, or collaborator.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I really like this non-profit exhibition and performance space called Human Resources, located in Los Angeles’s Chinatown dedicated to supporting experimental art practices.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I started Cultural Policy at the same time that I was trying to get a talent visa to be able to work in the US. Honestly, it was one of the hardest years in my entire life. And not because of Covid, but because of my struggle with the bureaucratic endless process. I had one point when I didn’t even have the money to pay my rent. So I am deeply grateful to my close friends in LA that were taking care of me. Thank you, Kristina, Chelsea, Davy, Michael, Irene, Kate, Dixon, Cesar. Also, I’m grateful for my mom who was always letting me go as far as I want.
Oleksii Kuchma, Davy Kasey, Anton Synytsia, Snizhana Chernetska, Areyes Studio,