As part of HYBRIDS: Forging New Realities as Counter-Narrative, Futures presents the two-day conference Hybrids: Forging New Realities as Counter-Narrative. On Thursday 16 and Friday 17 September, artists and member organisations part of the Futures platform and guests from various fields will participate in panel discussions and talks.
Curated by Marina Paulenka and organised in collaboration with our 13 members, we’ve invited artists, curators, researchers, scientists, pedagogues, sociologists, anthropologists, ecologists, and feminists to provide an academic, artistic, and practical look at themes related to understanding hybrid ways of narrating and understanding our reality.
Part of the programme is also a keynote lecture and performance by Morehshin Allahyari on 16 September: The Needed Worlds. She will use personal storytelling and her work as points of departure to weave in topics such as digital colonialism, archival methodologies, and myth-thinking for building the needed worlds.
All talks and panels will take place at Melkweg (entrance at Lijnbaansgracht 234A, 1017 PH), in Amsterdam, but they will also be live-streamed on YouTube (links below).
Waves of counter-narratives continue to flood our knowledge base – driven by the sharp turns in our ecological, social and political climates and amplified by a permanent synthesis of virtual and physical dynamics. Within the arts, an atmosphere of trans-disciplinary experimentation across fields and sectors has been welcomed. But what we need is a new cultural literacy and to empower artists to narrate and speculate on possible future scenarios.
During these two days of conference, we will unbox some of the most urgent issues that are triggering a demand for concrete changes. We will discuss how the cultural sector is adapting to support the aforementioned needs and what narratives can be generated to address them.
While collective digital cultures progressively demand more authenticity and ‘truth’ in visual and discursive renderings of self-identity and experience, we will address the intricacies of understanding the embodied ‘self’ in simulated reality, focusing on the roles that our digitally embodied subjectivities play within these simulated cultural landscapes.
We will explore the importance of artistic practices as a potential force addressing social and environmental concerns and discuss the ecological responsibility of the art scene in an age in which the activities of huge corporations shape the vast majority of the processes that dominate the Earth.
Moreover, we will reflect upon European socio-political scenarios, focusing on forms of social resistance and the growing support within a global community. Paying a closer look at the potential of the archives and historicism as a force to generate counter-narratives, we will discuss digital colonialism, archival methodologies, and myth-thinking.
16 September (Thursday)
9.30AM – 12.30PM – Workshop: Art in Action - Climate and Social Responsibility, organised by Krzysztof Candrowicz (private activity, exclusive to Futures artists)
2PM – 3.45PM – Panel: The Digitally Mediated Body
4PM – 5.45PM – Panel: Image-making in and outside of institutions
7.30PM – 9PM – Artist talk: Morehshin Allahyari
17 September (Friday)
10.45AM – 12PM – Panel: Belarus in Focus
1PM – 2.45PM – Panel: Counter-narratives: using the past to shape a hybrid future
3PM – 4.45PM – Panel: Love visionary or political activist – what is the role of an ecologically conscious artists or art professional today?
5PM – 6PM – Artist talk: Marina Paulenka in conversation with the artists from the exhibition Hybrids
THURSDAY (16 SEPTEMBER)
WORKSHOP: Art in Action – Climate and Social Responsibility (Exclusive to Futures artists)
Co-created by Krzysztof Candrowicz, Anna-Kaisa Rastenberger, Arianna Rinaldo and Erik Vroons
Thursday (16 Sept.), 9.30AM to 12.30PM (CEST)
Art in Action is an interdisciplinary and cross-sector workshop addressed mainly to art professionals working at festivals, museums, art fairs, galleries, independent artists, curators, producers, and individuals working in the visual art sector who wish to enhance their knowledge and practical skills to address social and climatological concerns. The main purpose of the open space meeting is to generate, co-create, exchange, and share new solutions.
The Art in Action - Climate and Social Responsibility project comprises a series of workshops that will explore the importance of artistic practices as a potential force in a cultural reconstruction that needs to be based on real and radical change, socio-environmental responsibility, and participatory practices with the ability to cement the concepts of community, network, and platform.
This activity is exclusive to Futures artists and it won’t be live streamed.
PANEL: The Digitally Mediated Body
Thursday (16 Sept.), 2PM to 3.45PM
How we experience the ‘everyday’ is increasingly shaped by the crumbling boundaries between our physical and digital realities. Our digital embodiment is regulated and represented through performance, self-curation, avatars, algorithmic processes, and online micro-communities. In an emerging hybrid sociocultural environment, which threatens to collapse self, identity, community, and ability, how might our digital and physical bodies be reconciled? How are the narratives of our bodies adapted as an online presence, and what processes are complicit in creating these adaptations? This panel will convene to discuss the intricacies of understanding the embodied ‘self’ in simulated reality, focusing on the roles our digitally embodied subjectivities play within these simulated cultural landscapes—and within collective digital cultures which progressively demand more authenticity and ‘truth’ in visual and discursive renderings of self-identity and experience.
For this panel, we invited Emily Graham (Futures artist), Jan Berger (artist), Bogomir Doringer (artist, curator and head of Education and Research at NXT Museum), Ugo Woatzi (Futures artist) and Aurélie Bayad (Futures artist). The panel will be moderated by Sarah Trottier (external PhD Candidate in Gender Studies and Critical Theory at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON), Utrecht University).
PANEL: Image-making in and outside institutions
Thursday (16 Sept.), 4PM to 5.45PM (CEST)
While in parallel a permanent synthesis of online and offline dynamics is changing the way knowledge is produced, spread and consumed, which kind of new forms of showcasing are institutions and alternative platforms presenting? Within this pressure cooker of hybridized transgression, we are witness to an environment of intensive experimentation, with multidisciplinary artists at the forefront. But how successfully is the cultural industry adapting alongside them? And which new forms of narration might we need where we are heading to?
With speakers from multidisciplinary practices, we will discuss their engagement with image-making as curators: how they make difference and switch, inside and outside their institutions.
This panel is a conversation among Rein Deslé (curator at FOMU), Valentine Umansky (International Art curator at Tate), Poulomi Basu (award-winning Indian transmedia artist and activist) and Clarice M. D. Gargard (journalist, filmmaker, writer and co-founder of Lilith Magazine and Lilith Agency). It will be moderated by the artist, writer, founder of Meta/Books and co-founder of Engagement Arts NL, Delphine Bedel.
ARTIST TALK: Morehshin Allahyari - The Needed Worlds (Lecture and Performance)
Organised by Marina Paulenka and Morehshin Allahyari
Thursday (16 Sept.), 7.30PM to 9PM (CEST)
In this lecture and performance, Morehshin Allahyari will use personal storytelling and her work as points of departure to weave in topics such as digital colonialism, archival methodologies, and myth-thinking for building the needed worlds.
Morehshin Allahyari is an Iranian-Kurdish media artist, activist, and writer based in Brooklyn, New York. She uses computer modeling, 3D scanning, and digital fabrication techniques to explore the intersection of art and activism. Inspired by concepts of collective archiving and cultural contradiction, Allahyari’s 3D-printed sculptures, and videos challenge social and gender norms. She wants her work to respond to, resist, and criticize the current political and cultural situation that is experienced on a daily basis. Her work has been part of numerous exhibitions, festivals, and workshops at venues throughout the world, including the New Museum, MoMa, Centre Pompidou, Venice Biennale di Archittectura, and Museum für Angewandte Kunst among many others. She is the recipient of the United States Artist Fellowship (2021), The Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant (2019), The Sundance Institute New Frontier International Fellowship, and the leading global thinkers of 2016 award by Foreign Policy magazine. She has been awarded major commissions by The Shed, Rhizome, New Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Liverpool Biennale, and FACT.
FRIDAY (17 SEPTEMBER)
PANEL: Belarus in Focus
Curated by Fotofestiwal Lodz
Friday (17 Sept.), 10.45AM to 12PM (CEST)
The Belarusian revolution has been going on for almost a year. Street protests, brutally suppressed by OMON's special forces, have been replaced with other forms of social resistance that are supposed to weaken the authorities (e.g., residents do not pay electricity bills, taxes, etc.). At the same time, the authorities constantly use all possible forms of repression – from hijacking a plane carrying an influential blogger, Roman Protasevich (May 2021), to short-term arrests for wearing symbolic white, red and white colors.
The government's attack on independent media has been going on since the beginning of the revolution. Currently in Belarus, there are at least 32 journalists in prison, including photojournalists. According to Reporters Without Borders, Belarus has already surpassed Saudi Arabia (31 journalists), Myanmar (30), Syria (14), Turkey (11), Vietnam (17), Iran (14) and Iraq (5).
The most spectacular protests took place in the summer and fall of 2020, and they are also best documented by photojournalists. On the spot, they were photographed by: Nadia Buzhan, Tanya Kapitanova, Olga Shukailo, Vadzim Zamirouski, Vialeta Savitch and others. Most of them have had experiences of arrest, shooting and physical violence. Many of them had to leave the country, those who were working in their profession at the risk of putting their lives and health at risk, or often in hiding.
During this panel, we would like to briefly present the socio-political situation in and talk about the situation of photographers in Belarus and how the international community can support them. The panel invited Maxim Sarychau (Futures artists and photojournalist), Alexey Shlyk (Futures artist), Andrei Liankevich (photojournalist and Managing Director of Month of Photography in Minsk) and Volha Shukaila (photojournalist). The talk will be moderated by Marta Szymańska (Fotofestiwal Lodz).
This talk won't be live streamed.
PANEL: Counter-narratives: using the past to shape a hybrid future
Friday (17 Sept.), 1PM to 2.45PM (CEST)
What is the potential of the archive to be used for creating counter-narratives? How can history be re-told to suggest other futures? In this panel, we take a starting point in recent events such as the Black Lives Matter and the decolonising movements that have created ripples in academic institutions, gallery worlds and have made a marginalized topic into a public mainstream debate. We will look at the works by Futures artists who are all in some ways using past and present history to change the dominant narrative. We will discuss the possibilities of photography to visually interrupt and challenge national linear narratives by suggesting other hybrid stories and adding multiple layers leading to changing perspectives.
For this panel, we invited the Futures artists Hien Hoang, Mark Duffy and Silvia Rosi, Dr. Rolando Vazquez Melken (Associate Professor of Sociology at University College Roosevelt and Cluster Chair at the University College Utrecht), Julia Gelezova (cultural producer and curator at PhotoIreland) and Richard Kofi (visual artist, artistic researcher and curator). The panel will be moderated by Dr. Nina Mangalanayagam (artist and a Senior Lecturer in Photography at HDK-Valand Academy, Gothenburg).
PANEL: Lone visionary or political activist – what is the role of an ecologically conscious artist or arts professional today?
Friday (17 Sept.), 3PM to 4.45PM (CEST)
What is the ecological responsibility of the art scene in an age in which, according to a study by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the activities of huge and therefore influential corporations shape the vast majority of the major processes that dominate the Earth. In the Anthropocene era, mankind is undoubtedly shaping the environment, but the question is what are the individual's, and above all an artist's or art professional's, playing field and role, and what impact can they have on the environment while environmental scientists are predicting changes of astonishing amplitude already in the medium term. Is it enough just to minimise the ecological footprint of the art scene, or is it more a matter of political activism and a nuanced approach in which we define our role as a part of the living world rather than as shapers of the planet? What can save us, the acceleration of technological innovation, draconian living standards restrictions and, in either case, what can a creative human being add to all this?
For this panel, we invited Ángel Luis González Fernández (Director of PhotoIreland), Maja Dyrehauge Gregersen (Director of Copenhagen Photo Festival), Maija Annikki Savolainen (Futures artist), and Marta Bogdańska (Futures artist). The panel is moderated by István Virágvölgyi (Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Center).
ARTIST TALK: Marina Paulenka in conversation with the HYBRIDS artists
Friday (17 Sept.), 5PM to 6PM (CEST)
In this talk, the curator Marina Paulenka invited for a conversation the artists presented in the exhibition HYBRIDS: Forging New Realities as Counter Narrative. The show investigates the impact of technology and knowledge production on humankind and the natural world through projects by 11 Futures artists: Maija Savolainen, Hien Hoang, Emily Graham, Carlos Alba, Eva Kreuger, Marta Bogdanska, Alexey Shlyk (in collaboration with Ben Van den Berghe), Valeria Cherchi, Io Sivertsen (in collaboration with Ylva Gulpinar, Christa Barlinn Korvald and Signe Rosenlund-Hauglid), Lena Dobrowolska & Teo Ormond-Skeaping, and Jean-Vincent Simonet.
The talk invited the artists Carlos Alba, Eva Kreuger, Alexey Shlyk, Valeria Cherchi, Io Sivertsen, and Jean-Vincent Simonet.
HYBRIDS: Forging New Realities as Counter-Narrative is made possible with the support of the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.