Announcement
April 29, 2021

Antoni Muntadas
About Academia I-II, an Online Interpretation, 2011–2017 (2021)

Fórum Permanente

Antoni Muntadas, About Academia I-II, an Online Interpretation, 2011–2017 (2021).

Antoni Muntadas, About Academia I-II. Diagram,

Activaiting Artiffacts: About Academia, 2017. Baltimore Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, Maryland Universtiy. Photo: Dan Meyers.

Based on his experience in American higher education, the artist Antoni Muntadas inaugurates in Brazil an online interpretation of About Academia. The project discusses the role and function of universities today, the place of art in this context, the relationship between public and private, tradition and contemporaneity, the future of universities and interdisciplinarity, based on interviews with professors and students.

About Academia, a project originally presented at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, after an invitation by Harvard University, during Antoni Muntadas' last teaching period in the program in Art, Culture and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (ACT MIT), in 2011, followed in different versions to cities like Boston, Vancouver, Amsterdam, Seville, among others.

The Brazilian version of the video installation About Academia, which at first would occupy the Biblioteca Brasiliana at the University of São Paulo (USP), translates as another work of the multimedia artist and professor, by creating a digital interpretation of the original installation and developed as a website, which can be accessed after April 30 via aboutacademia.iea.usp.br. For the first time, it will be exhibited in Latin America, with all its materials translated into Portuguese, in a bilingual version (Spanish), through a partnership between the Fórum Permanente, the Institute for Advanced Studies at USP, and the Biblioteca Brasiliana José and Guita Mindlin with the support of the São Paulo state government through the Programa de Ação Cultural (PROAC).

About Academia provokes a reflection through art about the American academic and university system. Muntadas' video installation considers the possible conflict between a faculty (and its values) and an administration (and its power). To circulate the project successfully in non-US universities, Muntadas proposes roundtable discussions that contextualize the conflicts and difficulties of the university system that hosts it. Confronting with other models in different contexts and cultures. Therefore, on the opening day, a virtual roundtable is being organized with the theme "What University Do We Want?" Participants are: Ailton Krenak, philosopher, environmentalist, indigenous leadership; Eliana Sousa Silva, educator, socio-cultural activist; Macaé Evaristo, educator, former State Secretary of Minas Gerais, Brazil; and Néstor Garcia Canclini, anthropologist and philosopher. Apart from Portuguese, all the roundtables will also be available in Spanish and English on the website of the exhibition.

The project is composed of two sets of projections and publications. While About Academia I (2011) addresses these issues from the perspective of professors and academics, About Academia II (2017) delves into its themes exclusively from the students' point of view. Due to COVID-19, the first exhibition of this project in the Southern Hemisphere takes place through a virtual room on a website where it is also possible to access the roundtables and two bilingual publications (Portuguese/Spanish) are available with the complete transcriptions of the speeches of the interviewees, among them Noam Chomsky, David Harvey, Carol Becker, Ute Meta Bauer, as well as the students.

The immersive, online, interactive video installation gives prominence to the two sets: About Academia I (2011) and About Academia II (2017). It thus respects the time lengths of the videos originally developed by the artist for their existence in a real physical space. Thus, despite the interactivity of navigation, it is not possible for the visitor to control the projected videos. The aesthetic experience in virtuality corresponds to the real time of the analog exhibition space.

Antoni Muntadas: About Academia I-II, an Online Interpretation, 2011–2017 (2021) is open April 30 to May 15 worldwide and until October 31, 2021 for Latin America.

Culturator: Martin Grossmann (Fórum Permanente—FP)
Executive production (Brazil): Diego de Kerchove (FP)
Executive production (Spain): Andrea Nacach
Digital project: Arthur Lauriano do Carmo (FP)
Design: Arthur Lauriano do Carmo (FP) and Raul Luna
Programming: Marcela Mancino

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