The Future Now Symposium is an exploration of 21st century culture through the mechanism of art, running 28 April – 1 May. This multidisciplinary four-day virtual event brings together key institutions, galleries, publications and artists for live-streamed discussions surrounding the most pressing issues from today’s creative industries. Through imaginative debates, panel discussions, career advice and cultural engagement, Future Now is a platform for idea generation.
Future Now finds a new home in an accessible online space for 2021. This year, our sessions are available to stream from the comfort of your home. Ahead of this year’s event, we ask our key speakers 10 questions.
Name, title and organisation?
Eva Vonk, Co-founder, Tales of Us.
How would you describe your role?
I am the executive lead on all the Tales of Us projects. My days are never quite the same – although during this lockdown they did start having far less variation to them. I usually spend a lot of time travelling to different locations, but for the last year I have worked mostly from home in Berlin.
Our team spends a lot of time on research. Topics vary from regional mythologies, countries, and anthropology, to new, upcoming artists. We also have a specific focus on bias detection, antiracist communication and environmental messaging that avoids creating eco-anxiety.
Currently, we are developing a new platform called Tales@Home that combines mythological storytelling with Edu-Tech. I am focusing a lot on exploring the tech world, which is relatively new for me as our initial projects focused on photography, books, film and exhibitions.
The best part about what you do?
I love everything about what I do! It is an incredible honour to learn about new cultures and facilitate collaborations to share with the world.
Your most significant project to date?
I am most proud of Congo Tales and the development of the Tales of Us production infrastructure.
Favourite piece of art?
I am not sure if it truly qualifies as it is not man-made, but I really love seashells. They are incredibly beautiful, and also mystical somehow, as the deep worlds of the ocean are so unknown to us.
The best in-person or virtual exhibition / event you’ve attended in the last year?
The most memorable would be the (socially distant) installations Limbo, hosted by my dear friend Caique Tizzi. He curates dinners in beautiful spaces, partnering with artists who perform, capture or even create the plates for food.
Biggest take-away from 2020?!
Collaborating remotely on creative content is challenging. On our first big projects – Congo Tales and the Little Fish and the Crocodile – we worked in person with everyone involved in the production. Working remotely with teams across the world for Tales@Home has been challenging, but not impossible. It has even made for some interesting realisations!
Lessons to take forward into 2021?
Patience! We can give the end product the respect it deserves when we allow time. We set up a “together apart” for the Tales@Home production and it highlighted the value of spending time together during a creative process. Sharing space is so valuable and inspiring. Even the commute allow us to decompress and find new angles.
What are you most looking forward to exploring in your session at Future Now?
I am looking forward to reminiscing with Kovo N’Sondé. We have both become so busy that the Congo Tales project now seems so far away. It was such a special experience for us both – the project took over three years to complete, and I feel I have learned so much I’d like to share. I know Kovo feels the same.
Other sessions you’re looking forward to attending?
Many! I am very lucky that the Future Now sessions partially fall during a couple days off. I am looking forward to make the most out of that happy coincidence!
Eva Vonk will join Kovo N’Sondé to speak on Tales of Us: Global Visual Narratives, Friday 1 May, 17.30-18.30 BST.
The Future Now Symposium runs 28 April – 1 May (Live), 2 – 31 May (On Demand). Tickets are available now, starting from £20.