Future Now Symposium 2021

28 April – 1 May 2021 | On Demand until 31 May

Debate | Discuss | Connect
#FutureNow2021

The Future Now Symposium is an exploration of 21st century culture through the mechanism of art. 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. We’re also presenting an expansive programme of 100 groundbreaking films across Dance, Experimental, Documentary and Artists’ Film. Our platform can be accessed on computers, smart TVs, smart phones and all tablet devices. Purchase your pass, login and gain access to to an expansive programme of films on demand. Once you have your pass, you will be able to log in on your selected day(s) and access all the sessions you would like to attend. There is no requirement to pre-register for sessions as they will be live streamed. 

Representatives from the following organisations are in attendance:

Aesthetica / Architizer / Arts Council England / Apollo Magazine / The Armory Show / Athi-Patra Ruga / Bieke Depoorter / Bill Posters / British Journal of Photography / British Council / Chisenhale Gallery / Creative Review / Creative United / Fahamu Pecou / Fondazione Prada / Frieze / Gagosian / George Byrne / Gonçalo Fonseca / Guggenheim / Gulnara Samoilova / High Museum / Ian Volner / Jerwood Arts / ICA Boston / International Center of Photography / Jakob Kudsk Steensen / Leica Oskar Barnack Award / London Art Fair / London College of Communication / Luca Locatelli / The Lumen Prize / Maïmouna Guerresi / Magnum Photos / MASS MoCA / Museum of Modern Art / MCA Australia / New Museum / NGV / Serpentine / Shirin Neshat / Tales of Us / Tate / V&A / Wasps Studios / 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair /


Navigate the Programme
Sessions by Day

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Future Now Passes


Headline Speakers

Day One: Celebrating Issue 100 | Wednesday 28 April 2021



100 Films
Available On Demand

Film has the power to ignite, transform and change the world. It is rich in powerful storytelling, compelling narratives and ideas. Stream 100 Films from the Aesthetica Art Prize and Film Festival. Spanning Artists’ Film, Dance, Experimental and Documentary, these shorts focus on the topics that are the most meaningful, pressing and present in our world. Film is a mechanism to understand the past, present and future.

Image Credit
Still from Wata, dirs. Ronan Mckenzie and Joy Yamusangie.


Hear from the Aesthetica Founders:
Celebrating 100 Issues

09:30-10:30


Cherie Federico & Dale Donley
Aesthetica Magazine was founded in November 2002 when Dale Donley and Cherie Federico were students. It was started on a Sunday and they did not have funding, a business plan or distribution. It was just an idea and a passion. The internet was still dial up and social media was not invented yet. Hear from the founders of Aesthetica and learn about their journey from starting Aesthetica Magazine as a project into how it has become one of the world’s leading publications for art and design with a reach of 500,000, as well as a platform for creativity across the Art Prize, Creative Writing Award and Film Festival.  

Image Credit

Courtesy Aesthetica.


Playing with Tradition:
Hassan Hajjaj
11:00-12:00


Hassan Hajjaj
Hassan Hajjaj is a Moroccan-British photographer. Blending the glossy aesthetic of fashion shoots with Moroccan tradition and street culture, his bold, detailed images challenge culture-specific beliefs, predominantly western perceptions of the Hijab and female disempowerment in Islam. His alluring, multi-layered compositions fuse contemporary North African culture with familiar western iconography. They do so through appropriation, subversion and adaption, blurring boundaries through contrasting patterns – from stacked soup cans to Louis Vuitton prints. Hajjaj is in conversation with Skinder Hundal.

Image Credit
Kesh Angels, framed photography by ©Hassan Hajjaj, 2010/1431.


Cig Harvey:
Transforming the Everyday

12:30-13:30


Cig Harvey
Cig Harvey’s enchanting photography transforms the familiar themes of the senses, home, family, nature and time, uncovering cinematic moments in the ordinary movement of life. Born in Devon, Harvey now resides in Maine, USA, where she spends time writing and making images of the natural world, friends and family to better understand their relationships. Her photographs are full of stark contrasts; vivid colours, shadows and human hands intersect with nature. In conversation with Elisabeth Aanes, director of Nord Photography, Harvey reflects upon her practice, an obsession with books and her sense of wonder in the everyday.

Image Credit
Cig Harvey, Sadie & The Moon. Courtesy of the artist.

Artificial Light:
A Catalyst for Innovation
14:00-15:00


MFAH Houston & Dallas Museum
The impact of light is not to be underestimated. It affects what we do, how we feel, see and interact. Where would we be without the humble lightbulb? From the invention of the first electric light by British chemist Humphry Davy in 1808 to Phillips’s development of the “ultraefficient” lightbulb in 2011, lighting technology has fascinated engineers, scientists, architects and designers worldwide. Electrifying Design examines lighting over the past 100 years. Sarah Schleuning from the Dallas Museum of Art and Cindi Strauss from the Museum of Fine Arts Houston discuss the themes of the show.

Image Credit

Drift, Flylight (Basel), 2015, hand-blown glass, wire, electronics, anodized aluminum, and LEDs. © 2020 Drift.


Cinematic Storytelling:
In Conversation with Alex Prager
15.30-16:30


Alex Prager
Alex Prager is an artist and filmmaker who creates elaborately staged scenes that expose the often-overlooked aspects of everyday life and culture through layered narratives and fictional characters. The choreographed nature of her work exposes the way images are constructed and consumed in our media-saturated society. Her work has been featured in The New Yorker and Vogue, and exhibited globally. Prager joins Fionna Flaherty, Senior Director of Lehmann Maupin, for a discussion about her narratives, the importance of storytelling, her view about an artist’s place in society and filmmaking.

Image Credit
ALEX PRAGER, Turnstile, 2019. Courtesy Alex Prager Studio and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul and London. © ALEX PRAGER.

Images that Change
the Way We See the World 
17:00-18:00


Photographers from the Magazine
Aesthetica Magazine is renowned for curation and for talent spotting. There is a certain visual aesthetic that defines what we do. We are looking for images that change the way you see the world and invite viewers to explore a new set of possibilities. How do you take a photograph in a new way? How far can you push the ideas in order to create something that is captivating and contributes to wider discourse on image-making. Hear from some of our favourite photographers over the years including Ellie Davies, Kevin Cooley, Ryan Schude, Yannis Guibinga and Brooke DiDonato. 

Image Credit

Kevin Cooley, Wind River Canyon Wyoming, 2009, chromogenic print, singular edition of 7+1ap, 30×38.5 and 48.5×60”. Courtesy of the artist.

Reclaiming the Lens:
Kriss Munsya in Conversation
18:30-19:30


Kriss Munsya
Kriss Munsya was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and raised in Brussels. Here, nestled within a Euro-centric community, he was “confronted with differences” early on. Discrimination and violence – experienced in early childhood – left a mark upon the artist, leaving Munsya distanced from a sense of self. His photography has since between about translating the experience of detachment and disassociation, providing a critical reflection upon internalised supremacy. Munsya speaks to journalist Rachel Hamilton – considering the power of images. 

Image Credit
Kriss Munsya, fromThe Eraser (2020). Courtesy of the artist.

100 Issues of Aesthetica:
Discover Features Online
Digital Editorials


The Story of Aesthetica
The publication has grown to become one of the world’s leading magazines in contemporary art. From 1 April, log on to our dedicated webpage to explore 100 features from past issues, organised by theme: Changemakers: Art and Activism; Fashion, Art and Culture; Trailblazing Women Photographers; Building our World: Contemporary Architecture; Immersive Landscapes: Sculpture and Installation; Art for the Climate: Sustainability in Focus; Designing the Future; Groundbreaking Photography; Interview Spotlight and Editors’ Pick. Delve into the archives.

Image Credit
Xenon for Berlin, 2001. © 2001 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY Photo: Attilio Maranzano.

 

 

Day Two Sessions | Thursday 29 April 2021


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


Bieke Depoorter
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 complex interactions between subject and photographer. Depoorter will explore agency and ownership with Tate’s Assistant Curator, Sarah Allen.

Image Credit
FRANCE. Neuilly-Plaisance. September 4, 2018. From the series Agata. © Bieke Depoorter / Magnum Photos
 


100 Films
Available On Demand

Film has the power to ignite, transform and change the world. It is rich in powerful storytelling, compelling narratives and ideas. Stream 100 Films from the Aesthetica Art Prize and Film Festival. Spanning Artists’ Film, Dance, Experimental and Documentary, these shorts focus on the topics that are the most meaningful, pressing and present in our world. Film is a mechanism to understand the past, present and future.

Image Credit
Material Bodies, dir. Dorothy Allen-Pickard.



Documentary & Ethics:
When Is it Your Story to Tell?
09:30-10:30


London College of Communication

We are fascinated by stories of others. What role does the documentarian play in disseminating stories? Who is the author? How do we know that story has been authentically re-told through photography or film? What can we learn from histories of photography about ethical representation and storytelling, and not repeat mistakes of the past? How do practitioners ensure accurate representation of their subjects? Jess Crombie, Jennifer Good and Pratap Rughani from LCC will form a panel chaired by Karen Shepherdson, discussing how documentary can incite positive change.

Image Credit

Alice Duncan, Black Holes.




Environmental Photography:
How Can Images Save Us?
11:00-12:00


Leica Oskar Barnack Award
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. 

Image Credit
Flow, 2019. Series, Beyond the Border: A Journey to Touba. Copyright © Maïmouna Guerresi Courtesy Mariane Ibrahim Gallery.



Artist Opportunities:
What’s Available Post-Pandemic?

12:30-13:30


Arts Council England, Jerwood Arts, British Journal of Photography, Lumen Prize, Wasps Studios, London Art Fair
The pandemic has altered everything that we do and the landscape for artists has been immensely affected. What opportunities are there for artists to access funding, studio space, residencies in 2021 and beyond? How can you transform your practice and continue to make work in the ‘new normal’? What are the current priorities for individuals? A panel of experts will speak about understanding the best practice for furthering your career post-pandemic, opportunities that are available, and making your work stand out.

Image Credit

Erwin Redl, Reflections.


Meet the Artists:
Hear from the 2021 Shortlist

14:00-15:00


Aesthetica Art Prize
In this session, you will have the opportunity to meet this year’s shortlisted artists from the Aesthetica Art Prize. We will learn about their practice, the ideas behind the pieces, and how they are navigating the art world today during- and post-pandemic. The artists are working across video, sculpture, photography, painting and discussing some of today’s most pressing themes from representation of women in the media, and pollution to new technologies. The artists in this session are Monica Alcazar-Duarte, Andrew Leventis, Chris Combs, James Tapscott, Alice Duncan and Cesar & Lois Collective.

Image Credit

Monica Alcazar Duarte, Second Nature.


Architecture of the Future:
Award-Winning Design
15:30-16:30


Architizer
The Architizer A+Awards is the world’s largest and most democratic awards programme for architecture, inviting esteemed juries alongside members of the general public to vote on submissions from across the world. These prizes act as barometers of contemporary design, revealing trends in public perception and priorities in relation to the built environment. Paul Keskeys, Content Director at Architizer, introduces winners from the 2020 award, including representatives from Foster + Partners, MGA | Michael Green Architecture and MASS Design Group, exploring how successful design has a real impact on people’s lives. 

Image Credit

Wood Innovation Design Center by MGA. Photograph by Ema Peter Photography.



Curating During a Time of Change: Part I
17:00-18:00


MoMA, Guggenheim, High Museum, Gagosian, International Center of Photography, Creative Review
The idea of the gallery closing down for months on end is not something we could fathom before 2020. How do you curate when society has been redefining every facet of existence for the past 18 months? Are the exhibition themes pre-pandemic still relevant? What is the future of the gallery? Join experts from the world’s leading institutions. Hear from David Campany, ICP; Rand Suffolk, High Museum; Sarah Meister, MoMA; Antwaun Sargent, Gagosian; and Kyung An Hui, Guggenheim. Moderated by Eliza Williams, Editor at Creative Review.

Image Credit

Christiane Zschommler, THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.



Cut, Paste, Post: The Convergence of Fine Art & Social Media
18:15-19:15


George Byrne & Ian Volner
Urban minimalism is growing in popularity through the rise of Instagram, with sleek aesthetics and pop-coloured street signs pulling in thousands of engagements every day. George Byrne’s large-format images build on this fascination and take it to another level, presenting Californian landscapes as painterly abstractions, referencing the works of Lewis Baltz and Ellsworth Kelly. In conversation with design writer Ian Volner, Byrne discusses his collage-like practice, as well as the technical and conceptual differences between viewing images in the gallery as opposed to scrolling through the parameters of the screen. 

Image Credit

George Byrne, East Hollywood Carpark, 2016.

Authority, Ownership & Collaboration: In Conversation with Bieke Depoorter
19:30-20:30


Bieke Depoorter
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 complex interactions between subject and photographer – as well as a constant questioning of the medium: the tensions between authority, fiction and reality. Depoorter will speak with Tate’s Assistant Curator, Sarah Allen.

Image Credit

LEBANON. Beirut. August 3, 2018. From the series Agata. © Bieke Depoorter / Magnum Photos

 

 

Day Three Sessions | Friday 30 April 2021


Re-defining Narrative:
Jane & Louise Wilson in Conversation

Headline Speakers | 19:30-20:30


Jane & Louise Wilson
Film is rich in narrative. It can take you to new places, cultures and offer insights into the lives of others. It is at once both personal and universal. Film is the most immediate art from and in recent years artists have been exploring new ways of telling stories and pushing definitions of “artists’ film”. Does it always have to appear in a gallery? Filmmakers are using the medium to depict socio-political concerns. In conversation with UAL’s David Knight, Turner Prize nominees Jane & Louise Wilson discuss the role of storytelling and the importance of film.

Image Credit

Jane and Louise Wilson, Suspended Island.
 



100 Films
Available On Demand

Film has the power to ignite, transform and change the world. It is rich in powerful storytelling, compelling narratives and ideas. Stream 100 Films from the Aesthetica Art Prize and Film Festival. Spanning Artists’ Film, Dance, Experimental and Documentary, these shorts focus on the topics that are the most meaningful, pressing and present in our world. Film is a mechanism to understand the past, present and future.

Image Credit
Somalinimo, Dir. Alice Aedy.




New Australian Art:
Geography, Perspective and Genre

09:30-10:30


NGV Melbourne, MCA Australia
These are are two of the most-visited galleries in Australia, welcoming millions of visitors each year. Over the last 18 months, both galleries have grappled with Covid-related restrictions, balancing international Triennials with exhibitions of local artists. Through the lens of their expansive collections and upcoming shows, Rachel Kent, Chief Curator at MCA, and Susan van Wyk, Senior Curator, Photography at NGV, discuss the diversity of Australian art today, examining the responsibility of the gallery as a platform and their goals to explore complex cultural perspectives. Moderated by curator Dr. Ali MacGilp.

Image Credit

Atong Atem, Morayo (2015). Printed 2019, from the Studio series (2015). Digital type C print, ed. 6/10 84.1 x 56.1 cm (image) 104.1 x 65.4 cm irreg. (sheet). National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Purchased, Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists, 2019 © Atong Atem.




Digital Ecologies:
Three-Dimensional Storytelling

11:00-12:00


Jakob Kudsk Steensen;
Serpentine Galleries

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.

Image Credit

Courtesy of the artist // Caption: Jakob Kudsk Steensen, The Deep Listener, 2019, The Serpentine Galleries London.




The Business of Art:
The Future of Collecting

12:30-13:30


Armory Show, Creative United,
1-54 African Art Fair, Frieze
What is the landscape of commercial galleries and fairs? How do artists find their footing in this world, gain representation and attract the attention of gallerists and collectors? How has the virtual model worked? Moreover, have the criteria for representation changed? Will gallerists take more risks? What does the future look like for the market? Join a panel who will look at this new world: Eliza Osborne, Armory Show, Mary-Alice Stack, Creative United, Touria El-Glaoui, 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair and Eva Langret, Frieze. Chaired by Gaby Schwarz, Online Editor at Apollo.

Image Credit

Studio Above & Below, Atmospheric Seeings.




Women Street Photographers: Reshaping the Canon
14:00-15:00


Gulnara Samoilova, Diane Smyth
Think of a great street photographer: who springs to mind? Henri Cartier-Bresson and the “decisive moment”? Garry Winogrand or Bruce Gilden? Brassaï capturing Paris at night in the 1930s or Daidō Moriyama and his raw vision of Tokyo? Gulnara Samoilova is a New York-based photographer and curator determined to spotlight women street photographers, from Instagram to the gallery floor and beyond. Diane Smyth, independent journalist and former Deputy Editor at British Journal of Photography, leads a conversation with Samoilova about balancing the scales – building your platform, creating resources and inspiring others.

Image Credit

Betty Goh, The Maze, Singapore, 2018 © Betty Goh (detail)




Aesthetica Art Prize:
Meet the Artists

15:30-16:30


Aesthetica Art Prize
In this session, you will have the opportunity to meet this year’s shortlisted artists from the Aesthetica Art Prize. We will learn about their practice, the ideas behind the pieces, and how they are navigating the art world today during- and post-pandemic. The artists are working across video, sculpture, photography, painting and discussing some of today’s most pressing themes from representation of women in the media, and pollution to new technologies. The artists in this session are Carlos David, Seb Agnew, Kitoko Diva, Christiane Zschommler, Henny Burnett Niels and Lyhne Løkkegaard.

Image Credit

Carlos David, KiyKiy B



Curating During a Time of Change: Part II
17:00-18:00


Tate, New Museum, MASS MoCA , ICA Boston, Fondazione Prada, Chisenhale, Brooklyn Museum
We will use today’s session to look at what the future holds. Can we go back to practices before the pandemic? Moreover, would we want to? How can we harness this moment in time to reflect on more sustainable and diverse practices? Will new technologies widen access for audiences globally? Hear from Margot Norton, New Museum New York, Denise Markonish, MASS MoCA, Chiara Costa, Fondazione Prada, Eva Respini, ICA Boston, Devika Singh, Tate and Zoe Whitley, Chisenhale. Moderated by Drew Sawyer, Brooklyn Museum.

Image Credit

Henny Burnett, 365 Days of Plastic.

Breaking the Mould:
Sculpture by Women Since 1945

18:15-19:15


V&A, Arts Council Collection
2021 marks the 75th anniversary of the Arts Council Collection. It has acquired more than 250 sculptures by over 150 women. The landmark exhibition, 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.

Image Credit

Rana Begum, No. 429 SFold, 2013. Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London.

Re-defining Narrative:
Jane & Louise Wilson in Conversation

19:30-20:30


Jane & Louise Wilson
Film is rich in narrative. It can take you to new places, cultures and offer insights into the lives of others. It is at once both personal and universal. Film is the most immediate art from and in recent years artists filmmakers have been exploring new ways of telling stories and pushing definitions of the term “artists’ film”. Does it always have to appear in a gallery? Filmmakers are using the medium to depict socio-political concerns. In conversation with UAL’s David Knight, Turner Prize nominees Jane & Louise Wilson discuss the role of storytelling and the importance of film as a mechanism to understand our turbulent world.

Image Credit

Jane & Louise Wilson, Atomgrad (Nature Abhors a Vacuum), 2010
All works courtesy of Jane & Louise Wilson and 303 Gallery, New York and Galería Helga de Alvear, Madrid.

Day Four Sessions | Saturday 1 May 2021


Politics & Identity:
Shirin Neshat in Conversation
Headline Speaker | 19:00-20:00


Shirin Neshat
“Every Iranian artist, in some form, is political. Politics have defined our lives.” Shirin Neshat was born in Iran but has spent much of her life in exile in the USA. Through this experience, she has relentlessly engaged with the world through photography, film, performance, and installation, exploring universal themes of displacement, oppression, gender and identity. She has demonstrated the power of art to deconstruct the political climate – including Trump’s legacy of an aggressive and nationalist America. Neshat speaks with Ed Schad, The Broad.

Image Credit
Rapture Series, 1999, Shirin Neshat. Photo: Larry Barns/© Shirin Neshat/Courtesy Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels.
 


100 Films
Available On Demand

Film has the power to ignite, transform and change the world. It is rich in powerful storytelling, compelling narratives and ideas. Stream 100 Films from the Aesthetica Art Prize and Film Festival. Spanning Artists’ Film, Dance, Experimental and Documentary, these shorts focus on the topics that are the most meaningful, pressing and present in our world. Film is a mechanism to understand the past, present and future.

Image Credit
Singularity, Dir. Yiannis Biliris




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


Athi-Patra Ruga
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. 

Image Credit
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.



Cultural Relations:
Global Challenges
11:30-12:30


British Council
Cultural relations are changing in an era of seismic shifts. Global challenges are significant and unprecedented. The paradigm of cultural relations is in a state of reinvention, but are we changing too late? The British Council works on the ground in more than 100 countries engaging hundreds of millions of people. How can the arts make real change in international relations so that we can develop a more inclusive and representative cultural sector at home and worldwide? Join Skinder Hundal MBE, Director of British Council Arts, who will speak about how British Council are addressing these very profound questions.

Image Credit

Ignacio Barrios.




Deep Fakes: From Synthetic
Media To Synthetic Art?
13:00-14:00


Bill Posters
In the context of the disinformation age, fake news and algorithmic colonialism via the surveillance architectures of social media, artists are beginning to creatively re-appropriate the freely available biometric data of others – the ‘public faces’ of celebrities, politicians and influencers, to create a new form of art. In this session, Bill Posters, shortlisted artist for the Aesthetica Art Prize in 2020 and featured in the January 2021 issue of Frieze, will speak about his critical practice and research into synthetic art. Discover how deep fake technologies can be more than just a commentary on the novelty of the technology.

Image Credit

Big Dada. AI-synthesised video personas. Single-channel video, 3min 4sec. Courtesy of the artist.




Fine Art, Hip Hop, Pop Culture:
Fahamu Pecou
14:30:15:30


Dr. Fahamu Pecou
Hear from an interdisciplinary artist and scholar whose works combine observations on hip-hop, fine art & popular culture. Pecou’s paintings – held in international collections including the Smithsonian National Museum of African American Art, Seattle Art Museum and The High Museum of Art – address concerns around representations of Black men and their impact on the reading and performance of Black masculinity. Pecou delivers a re-thinking on painting – how the canvas can be used to engage with stereotypes and misconceptions as a critical intervention on our understanding of Black identity. 

Image Credit

Dr. Fahamu Pecou, Trapademia, Kopeikin Gallery.




Aesthetica Art Prize:
Meet the Artists

16:00-17:00


Aesthetica Art Prize
In this session, you will have the opportunity to meet this year’s shortlisted artists from the Aesthetica Art Prize. We will learn about their practice, the ideas behind the pieces, and how they are navigating the art world today during- and post-pandemic. The artists are working across video, sculpture, photography, painting and discussing some of today’s most pressing themes from representation of women in the media, and pollution to new technologies. The featured artists in this session are David Brandy, Shan Wu, Cathryn Shilling, Dirk Hardy, Juliana Kasumu, Gabriel Hensche and Erwin Redl.

Image Credit

Cathryn Shilling, Metamorphosis.



Tales of Us:
Global Visual Narratives
17.30-18.30


Eva Vonk & Kovo N’Sondé
Tales of Us is an ongoing multimedia project that communicates the urgency of protecting the world’s most fragile ecosystems. The project began in 2013 as an initiative to draw attention to the Congo Basin, raising awareness of 500 million acres of rainforest and six nations under threat. Tales of Us has produced films, photography, books and online education, partnering with storytellers from lesser-known parts of the world. Its team has received critical acclaim from the BBC, The New York Times and more. Eva Vonk, Creative Director, and Kovo N’sonde, Story Adaptor, join us to discuss environmental messaging.

Image Credit

The Two Nkééngé Sisters. “A strict respect for traditional laws and prohibitions protects against misfortune. The eternal aura of spiritual beings enriches the heart.” Photo by Pieter Henket. Edited by Eva Vonk and Stefanie Plattner. Story told and recorded by Mr. Simon Miakaluzabi N’Sondé in 1999; written version by S.R. Kovo N’Sondé. Produced by Tales of Us.



Politics & Identity:
Shirin Neshat in Conversation

19:00-20:00


Shirin Neshat
“Every Iranian artist, in some form, is political. Politics have defined our lives.” Shirin Neshat was born in Iran but has spent much of her life in exile in the USA. Through this experience, she has relentlessly engaged with the world through photography, film, performance, and installation, exploring universal themes of displacement, oppression, gender and identity. Perhaps more than any other living practitioner, she has demonstrated the power of art to deconstruct the political climate – including Trump’s legacy of an aggressive and nationalist America. Neshat is in conversation with Ed Schad, The Broad.

Image Credit

Shirin Neshat – Roja (Patriots), 2012, from The Book of Kings.



Submit Your Work to
The Aesthetica Art Prize
Win £5,000, publication and exhibition.


Artist Opportunity
Aesthetica is looking for artists redefining the parameters of contemporary art. The Prize is open to multiple genres including photography, sculpture, installation, digital media, video, painting and more.
Our prestigious Art Prize Jury comprises influential art world figures, including curators, academics, gallerists, editors and practitioners across all media. Since its establishment 10 years ago, the Art Prize has provided a platform for artists across the globe. Our alumni have gone on to achieve further awards success, showing work around the world.
Click here to find out more about the Aesthetica Art Prize.

Image Credit

Suzanne Moxhay, Copse, 2014. Archival digital pigment print.