Institute For New Feeling, This is Presence, 2016 (video still). Selected by Ballroom Marfa, Texas, U.S.A.
The MAAT – Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia is the latest institution to join the Artists' Film International, a programme dedicated to exhibiting videos, films and animations produced by artists from around the world. Launched in 2008 by the Whitechapel Gallery in London, this programme is now a global partnership involving 16 institutions. Every year, each member chooses a work by a prominent artist from their country, and then shares it with the other partners. The combined works are exhibited in all the participating countries, bringing together artists whose practices are deeply rooted in their individual contexts. At a time when the issue of decolonization of art and criticism, in view of the traditional Western Euro-centric perspective, lies at the heart of contemporary debates, Artists' Film International fosters dialogue between cultures and artistic practices, between the centre and the periphery. The programme is designed as a dynamic and transcultural platform, a proposal for dissemination and sharing of contemporary artistic production in the field of moving images.
Occupying the distinctive space of the Boiler Hall of the Central Tejo power station and to signal MAAT’s entry into this network, this exhibition results from a careful curatorial process to choose nine works from a total of sixteen. The works, by Eva & Franco Mattes, Igor Bošnjak, Igor Jesus, Karin Sander, Mateusz Sadowski, Rachel Maclean, Rohini Devasher, The Institute for New Feeling and Tor Jørgen van Eijk, focus on the complex relationship between art and technology — the theme of this year’s edition of Artists' Film International. In these works the artists use technology as a vast field for experimentation, and also as the starting point for a critical-epistemological reflection about the progress made in this field and its relationship with contemporary art. Some of the selected works propose digitally-generated utopias in order to discuss the role played by these devices in everyday life, their presence in various areas of contemporary society and their economic, political and social impact in the globalized world. Others focus on the emergence of experiences related to digital information and communication technologies, especially the Internet, but also in films — such as animation and image-editing software. Still others suggest an anthropological and social interpretation of the concept of identity in cyberspace, combining virtual existence and reality. Finally, several works simply explore the history and creative use of the medium itself, using its specificity as their subject-matter
The viewer is confronted with a plurality of problems, local realities and languages that are related to the exhibition’s theme; experiences that question and explore the humanisation of technology by art and the close relationship between art and life from the perspectives of science and technology. It is precisely at the intersection between art, science and technology that we find the dialectic between the old and new, past and present, and continuity and rupture. It is no coincidence that the place chosen for this exhibition is the Boiler Hall. The visitor is invited to walk through the space and discover the works, installed between industrial machinery from the 1940s and 1950s, in the context of a museum route dedicated to electricity production.
Ballroom Marfa (USA), Center for Contemporary Art Afghanistan (CCAA) (Afghanistan), Cinémathèque de Tanger (Morocco), Fundación Proa (Argentina), GAMeC – Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo (Italy), Hanoi DOCLAB (Vietnam), Istanbul Modern (Turkey), Kulturni centar Beograda (KcB) (Serbia), MAAT – Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia (Portugal), Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej w Warszawie (Poland), NCCA – National Centre for Contemporary Arts (Russia), Para Site (Hong Kong), Project 88 (India), Tromsø Kunstforening (Norway), Video-Forum / Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (n.b.k.) (Germany) and Whitechapel Gallery (England).