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A collection of thoughts about the future of art in a post-pandemic world
By the time we first launched What’s Next? in the early months of the pandemic in 2020 we were reflecting about freedom and how it deeply weaves together with art: “Art is freedom, even if just freedom for expressing freedom. But what else can art do for us (and us for it) in a time of crisis?”. Now that we are finally getting back to normal travelling and finding new connections in a physical way, we wanted to know what people in the field of art think about the future again — Is the future what we expected? How are we getting back to normal? Did the isolation during the pandemic impacted our work or the way we see things? Are we returning to what we had before? What’s next in music, galleries, photography and art communities?
Throughout the year of 2021, we went to Tremor in Azores, we visited Amsterdam during Unseen Photo Fair and Brussels during We are europe’s European Lab & Nuits Sonores and organized 180 Media Lab in our hometown Porto. Our travels are always opportunities to meet new people and expand our network, so those trips resulted in a set of thoughts about what’s next in this new beginning.
What’s Next: a new beginning is the result of who we have been listening to, of our travels and of the way we do things. Two years later we gather the perspectives of 8 artists, gallerists and musicians in a video portraying a new beginning.
MEET THE INTERVIEWEEES
Alice van den Abeele runs Alice gallery in Brussels with her husband and it was recommended to us by our designer friend Lourenço Providência. Erik Kessels, whom we occasionally met selling his books at Unseen Photo Fair in Amsterdam, still remembered us from when we first met during Element Talks back in 2017. Khyam Allami was a suggestion of We are Europe and we got interested to get know him better after reading this Pitchfork article. Sofia Carolina Botelho and Rúben Monfort represent Vaga, a new space to think about arts and knowledge we got the chance to visit while in Azores. Mira Calix was one of curator Joana Seguro's invitations for the 1st edition of 180 Media Lab, a week of concerts, artistic circuits and broadcast happening in Porto and online last November. Roderick van der Lee is the director of Unseen Photo Fair, with whom we have collaborated as media partner for Unseen's new section, Unbound (highlighting out of format photography) from which we created the series Filling the Cracks. And finally, Angelica Salvi, a figure that in the last few years has becoming important in Porto's music scene, the city we're based in.
ALICE VAN DEN ABEELE
Alice van den Abeele and Raphaël Cruyt opened Alice gallery in Brussels in 2005. With a “Glocal” vision, the exhibitions echo an emerging globalized culture that is transversal, participatory, empathetic and hyper-connected. In 2016, Raphael and Alice opened the MIMA, a contemporary Art Museum in Downtown Brussels where they assure the artistic direction.
Erik Kessels is a Dutch artist, designer and curator with great interest in photography. Since 1996 Kessels has been Creative Partner of communications agency KesselsKramer in Amsterdam and works for national and international clients such as Nike, Diesel, and many others. As an artist and curator Kessels has published over 70 books of his 're-appropriated' images: Missing Links (1999), The Instant Men (2000), in almost every picture (2001-2019) and Shit (2018). He works as a magazine photography editor, teacher, curator and artist.
Khyam Allami is an Iraqi-British multi-instrumentalist musician, composer, researcher and founder of Nawa Recordings. Primarily an Oud player, his artistic research focuses on the development of contemporary and experimental practice based on the fundamentals of Arabic music, with a focus on tuning and microtonality. Despite only taking up the Oud – his principal instrument – in his twenties, Allami rapidly became a performer of international renown.
VAGA — SOFIA CAROLINA BOTELHO & RÚBEN MONFORT
Vaga, located in Ponta Delgada in Azores, is a space to think about the arts and knowledge, attentive to the island's dynamics and its inhabitants. Intends to provide the city with a space dedicated to contemporary arts, with a regular and multidisciplinary program that involves the presentation and reception of exhibition projects, performances, conversations, workshops/masterclasses, and artistic residencies.
Mira Calix is an award-winning artist and composer based in the United Kingdom. Music and sound, which she considers a sculptural material, are at the centre of her practice. Her work explores the manipulation of the material into visible, physical forms through multi-disciplinary installations, sculpture, video and performance works. Calix’s practice is fluid, allowing research, site, and subject to influence a shifting choice of materials and mediums.
RODERICK VAN DER LEE
Roderick van der Lee is the executive director of Unseen, an art fair dedicated to the latest developments in contemporary photography located in Amsterdam. Roderick worked for Amsterdam’s Foam photography museum, where he headed the Foam Talent Call international award (for photographers under 35), before founding Unseen, a fair also devoted to young photographers as well as emerging galleries.
Angélica Salvi is a Spanish harpist and composer who has been based in Porto since 2011. She boasts a bright and extensive artistic career during which she worked with composers like Takayuki Ray or Joseph Waters and also improvising musicians such as Butch Morris, Evan Parker and Han Bennink. Over the course of the past 10 years, she has immersed herself in the world of jazz, pop, rock and electronics. Angélica has also been part of multiple projects in the field of experimental music, dance, visual arts and theatre.