Future Now: Day One

Taking place from 25 to 26 May, the Future Now Symposium returns to York St John University for the second year running. Boasting a series of panel discussions, portfolio reviews and lectures it will tackle a selection of themes from today’s artistic environment whilst also continuing to nurture and support artists and those working in the sector.

On the first day at 10am there will be an introductory key note with Cherie Federico, Director of Aesthetica Magazine. Federico will speak about the arrival of the digital age and how it has created an unprecedented feeling of alienation. Communication has changed and we now rely on technology to interact, presenting ourselves in ways that are evolving beyond control. Online networking sites like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook help to continue this façade, but they also take away the notion of privacy. The sense that the public is merging with the domestic has also spread into a larger, blurred depiction of reality. Contemporary art is the mechanism that enables us to respond to this renewed understanding of living.

These themes weave through the first session of the Symposium, Curating for the 21st Century AudienceDarren Pih, Exhibitions and Displays Curator at Tate Liverpool, discusses how the responsive spectator affects new acquisitions through feedback that is both online and offline and how galleries are ultimately asked to find a balance between autonomy and algorithm. Who has the authority to present artworks to contemporary audiences? Curators are expected to provide blockbuster shows and support new talent, whilst ensuring an influx of visitors. In the age of funding cuts and readily accessible information, the notion of the modern museum is constantly under threat.

Running in the afternoon, Future of Photography: The Epic in the Everyday moves the discussion specifically onto photography in the digital age. The panel debates the constant dissemination of images through social media, which has changed our perception of photography. When should something be considered fine art as opposed to a snapshot? Contemporary practitioners are re-examining the form, and expanding its definition to include more interdisciplinary practice. Dr Christina Kolaiti leads a panel discussion with Thomas Dukes (Open Eye Gallery), Anne Williams (London College of Communication), Fiona Rogers (Magnum Photos) and Roma Piotrowska (Ikon Gallery) about what this means for the future of image-making and its influence on programming.

Future Now Symposium, 25-26 May, York St John University, YO31 7EX.

See all sessions and book tickets: www.aestheticamagazine.com/symposium

1. Tadao Cern, Black Balloons, 2016