Future Orbits 

In 6-8 January 2017, VisionMix presented Future Orbits in Mill Hall, Mattancherry. This event coincided with, and was an independent trajectory within the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, VisionMix brought together international artists, writers, filmmakers, curators, and academics in this symposium and film screening event.

This gathering in Kochi functioned as a platform for debate, exchange and sharing of practices - as orbits within orbits, much like the solar system. Orbiting became a method in un-fixing our gaze, oscillating between closeness and distance. See the programme of talks/presentations is included here.

 Concept 

Future Orbits was also ‘VisionMix 02’, the network’s second live event since its founding (see Archive pages for ‘VisionMix 01’, the first event convened in New Delhi (visionmix.info/archive). We are now developing VisionMix 03 that continues collating the discoveries and models of sharing practice that were reached in Future Orbits, building on their strengths. VisionMix 03 will take the form of a three-year artists’ residency and critical research laboratory that beginning in November 2018. An interim meeting that researches and develops this next major platform will be convened in London and Winchester, in association with two of our partner universities in March 2018. The March event will also engage audiences from within and beyond these universities.

VisionMix has three associate university partners. In the UK: Queen Mary University London and University of Winchester. In India: Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore.

Since forthcoming events in 2018 will connect with concepts explored in VisionMix 02, the below gives a summary of what was explored and will be taken forward into the next project phase.

The desire to break free from the shackles of space-time has always marked human existence and imagination in both scientific and creative endeavours. The histories of futurism are equally important as the futures of the future. The ‘contemporary’ is often seen as a breaking-away from historicity. However, the present is not only rooted in the past, but is constituted by its projection into/of the future. VisionMix 03 will re-route ideas and resources, to launch a platform in which we repeatedly (over the course of three years) return to a physical space (an environment designed/consisting of the artists’ and thinkers’ projects) that manifests our response to this shared topic in an on-going sense. It will bring together and build from the partnerships and participants forged in first VisionMix 01 and 02; an opportunity to further solidarities.  Apart from research/arts collaborations, we also support ground level action engaging with relevant localized communities in our host countries. Our Kochi event focused on the following themes:

 

I. Urban Imaginaries/ Global Ontologies:

With ‘smart cities’ and ‘consumerism’ overshadowing every conceivable imagination of modern urban life, we consider alternative urban interpretations of ‘modernity’. We consider the intrusion of ideological projects for urban ‘development’; the re-imagining of neo-colonial inscriptions on cities. Fictional imaginings become commentaries or interventions that interrupt our experience of today’s urban environments; the relays, repetitions, and possible interfaces between subversive & alternative imaginaries, human and non-human ontologies of material processes constituting the city.

 

II. ‘Rights’ in a Right-Wing World

The 21st century has seen a sharp turn towards right-wing ideologies across the world. However, the seismic (if foreseeable) shifts in the political landscape with its attendant sense of instability, vulnerability and constant crises, represent the zeitgeist of our era. Our conversations and actions will respond to the universal and the specific in our political landscapes, with a view not only to comprehending our times, but planning a sustained critique and  public intervention(s).

 

III. Curation and/as Creative Practice

Although the work, practice, forms, modes, and value of ‘art’ are seen as constantly changing and evolving in response to historical contexts, art history/curatorial studies have only recently begun to reflect on curation as a practice in need of constant transformation. From curators  as ‘care-takers’ and ‘preservers’ to their becoming ‘exhibition-makers’ and ‘producers of critical discourse’, curatorial work itself is transcribed by economy, aura and intent. We seek to ask what the work of curation in our times really (might) entail, and what processes might one explore in engaging with exhibition practices in the digital context, seeking to propose alternate Future Orbits curatorial practices. We are also interested in addressing the future of the image (and its curation) in the time of hyper-visuality and sensory saturation.

 

Please see the Programme.

Supporting partners for Future Orbits, Kochi, 2017 are:

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