Future Now 2021:
5 Events to Stream

The Aesthetica Future Now Symposium finds a new home in an accessible online space for 2021. The event brings together key institutions, galleries and artists for live-streamed discussions. Discover 5 sessions to attend, featuring contemporary women sculptors and environmental art.

Environmental Photography: How Can Images Save Us?
Thursday 29 April | 11:00-12:00

The prestigious annual prize acknowledges imagery that documents and makes sense of humanity’s rapidly changing relationship with the environment. Previous winners have depicted the global climate emergency, whilst exploring social justice. In a year defined by responsibility and accountability – with the UN Climate change summit in November – Karin Kaufmann, Director of Leica Galleries, discusses the power and potential of reportage to change the narrative and encourage solutions. Hear from the winners of the 2020 award – Luca Locatelli and Gonçalo Fonseca – plus shortlisted artist Maïmouna Guerresi. 

Breaking the Mould: Sculpture by Women Since 1945
Friday 30 May | 18:15-19:15

2021 marks the 75th anniversary of the Arts Council Collection. It has acquired more than 250 sculptures by over 150 women. Breaking the Mould: Sculpture by Women since 1945, challenges the male-dominated narratives of post-war British sculpture, presenting work that pushes boundaries. Natalie Rudd, Senior Curator, celebrates those who have contributed to modern and contemporary sculpture, including Rana Begum, Holly Hendry and Permindar Kaur. The talk highlights Arts Council Collection’s commitment to reflecting diversity. Led by Holly Trusted (formerly Marjorie Trusted), V&A.

Authority, Ownership & Collaboration: In Conversation with Bieke Depoorter
Headline Speaker | Thursday 29 April  | 19:30-20:30

At just 25, Bieke Depoorter was welcomed into Magnum Photos and is, to date, one of its youngest members. She has won several awards including the Magnum Expression Award, The Larry Sultan Award and the Prix Levallois, and has published four books with the likes of Aperture and Edition Patrick Frey, amongst others. Depoorter’s practice is centred around relationships – the interactions between subject and photographer – as well as questioning the medium: tensions between authority, fiction and reality.

Beyond Each Horizon is Another:
In Conversation with Athi-Patra Ruga
Saturday 1 May | 10:00-11:00

Since the mid-noughties, trans-disciplinary artist Athi-Patra Ruga has worked from a detached place of knowing: particularly, that Utopia (or the notion of a “unified South Africa”) is not a destination but an exile. It is a place of waiting, of formulating, and of queering one’s personae and “futuring” a new statecraft. In conversation with WHATIFTHEWORLD’s gallery manager and independent culture writer, Lindsey Raymond, Athi-Patra Ruga walks us through his critically acclaimed body of work. The engaging discussion will focus on his use of avatars as a way to parody and critique the existing political and social status quo. 

Digital Ecologies: Three-Dimensional Storytelling
Friday 30 April | 11:00-12:00

Jakob Kudsk Steensen is an environmental storyteller, utilising three-dimensional animation, sound and immersive installation to create complete digital ecosystems. He was the inaugural recipient of Serpentine Galleries’ Augmented Architecture Commission, which was established with Google Arts & Culture and Sir David Adjaye in 2019. Kay Watson, Interim Head of Arts Technologies at Serpentine, leads an innovative session with Steensen, examining the concept of “slow media” as well as the intricate and evolving relationship between technology and the natural world.


The Future Now Symposium runs 28 April – 1 May 2021 | Stream on Demand until 31 May. See full programme and book tickets here.


Image Credits:
Lead Image: LEBANON. Beirut. August 3, 2018. Agata. © Bieke Depoorter / Magnum Photos
1. Flow, 2019. Series, Beyond the Border: A Journey to Touba. Copyright © Maïmouna Guerresi Courtesy Mariane Ibrahim Gallery.

2. Rana Begum, No. 429 SFold, 2013. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London.
3. FRANCE. Neuilly-Plaisance. September 4, 2018. From the series Agata. © Bieke Depoorter / Magnum Photos
4. Detail, Inyanga yeNkanga, 2020. Archival ink-jet print 60 x 80 cm Edition of 20 + 3 AP Photographer: Nic Hartell © Athi-Patra Ruga. Image courtesy of Athi-Patra Ruga and WHATIFTHEWORLD.
5. Courtesy of the artist // Caption: Jakob Kudsk Steensen, The Deep Listener, 2019, The Serpentine Galleries London.