Marshmallow Laser Feast, We Live in an Ocean of Air
The Future Now Symposium is an exploration of 21st century culture through the mechanism of art. This multi-disciplinary event brings together key institutions, galleries, publications and artists for discussion 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. You will be able to hear from the UK’s leading curators, artists, gallerists and publications.
Topics include: the ethics of representation, mass digitization, globalization, diasporic identities and the continuing threats posed by the climate crisis. This two-day event brings together leaders from the creative industries to invigorate our minds and invite discussions around the most pressing topics from the sector. This year we are looking at Designing the Future: Advancing Technologies, Innovators of Post-Photography, and The Future of Curation. Featured speakers include: Ingrid Pollard, Cornelia Parker, Yuri Suzuki and Hannah Starkey, alongside representatives from Open Eye Gallery, Barbican Centre, Hayward Gallery, Baltic, Arts Council England and many more. Future Now is a platform for idea generation and a key event in the UK art calendar. The 2023 edition asks: how do curators make decisions? How does an idea develop into a fully realized exhibition? How can you ensure artistic success? In a world where attention spans have been reduced to three seconds, how do you captivate audiences and ensure that public engagement is high?
We will also be celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Aesthetica Magazine and the founders, Cherie Federico and Dale Donley will be speaking about setting up an independent publication. Join us at one of the UK’s most engaged arts events this March.
Fares Micue. Cover image for Aesthetica Issue 103
Welcome Address / Cherie Federico
Cherie Federico, Founder, Director and Editor of Aesthetica, kicks off the 2022 Future Now Symposium with a Keynote Speech. Art has the power to transform and change the world. This has been a time of profound change. Over the last few years, we’ve had to quickly adapt to situations that were beyond our control. Through these turbulent times, we can and have taken comfort in artwork that helps us to make sense of the world. Art is a way to convene, and to collectively discover new modes of thinking. In this brief welcome address opening the event, Cherie Federico, Director of Aesthetica, offers an overview of the talks to come, and the importance of inspiration – an idea at the core of Future Now.
The Red Bags, Bea Last
Courtesy Lavinia Keller
15 Minutes with Aesthetica Art Prize Finalists
The Aesthetica Art Prize celebrates contemporary art in all its forms, offering opportunities for exhibition at a major public gallery alongside publication in Aesthetica Magazine and the Aesthetica Art Prize Anthology. The award celebrates creativity in all its forms, across multiple disciplines, including: digital art and installation, painting and drawing, photography, performance and more. Previous exhibitions have posed larger questions about what it means to exist in a digitised, post-industrial landscape. Join us to hear from a selection of our shortlisted artists for this year’s Aesthetica Art Prize. Each artist will take to the stage to discuss their practice for five minutes.
Via Unsplash: Pierre Châtel-Innocenti
Designing The Future: VR & Multi-Sensory Experiences
Artificial intelligence. Virtual reality. Augmented reality. Immersive experiences. As these technologies offer users new experiences, and our average screen time reaches upwards of seven hours per day, the lines between “digital” and “real” worlds become increasingly blurred. London-based immersive art collective Marshmallow Laser Feast cut through the noise. In conversation with award-winning artist and innovator Sadie Clayton, Co-founder Robin McNicholas discusses the complex relationship between art and emerging technologies, taking us behind-the-scenes of MLF’s mesmerising multi-sensory experiences. This session is a glimpse into the future: it looks at how we might use digital tools to spark conversations.
Via Unsplash: Leonardo Sanches
The Future Of Curation: Who Tells The Story?
How do curators make decisions? How does an idea develop into a fully realised exhibition? How can you ensure it is a success? In a world where attention spans have been reduced to three seconds, how do you captivate audiences and ensure that public engagement is high? What opportunities are there for emerging practitioners in an age defined by footfall and what is “Instagrammable”? Who and what is being exhibited, how and why? This session discusses the role of the curator in all its many forms and intricacies in the 21st century. The panellists are from some of the UK’s leading galleries, including Open Eye Gallery, Hayward Galley, The Art House and Barbican, and the discussion is chaired by Ameena M. McConnell.
Ingrid Pollard, Self Evident (1992) / Courtesy of the artist
Ingrid Pollard / Who Shapes The Narrative?
Turner Prize-nominee Ingrid Pollard is a photographer, media artist and researcher. Pollard is a leading figure in contemporary British art. She has developed a social practice concerned with representation, history and landscape with reference to race, difference and the materiality of lens-based media. In the 1980s, Pollard produced a series of photographs of Black people in rural landscapes, entitled Pastoral Interludes. The works challenge how English culture places Black people in cities. Pollard will speak about her career – how she has broken new ground and forged pathways for younger generations, which has shaped Britain’s understanding of society and culture.
Ori Gersht, On Reflection, Fusion B05 (2014) © Ori Gersht
Ori Gersht: Collisions Of Art History, Science And Technology
Can creatives draw inspiration from and re-imagine classical work? How can these images be brought into the digital world? How do you converse with the past? These are questions posed by London-based Israeli artist Ori Gersht, who is best known for destroying painstakingly recreated versions of classical paintings on camera. Fruit explodes and flowers shatter in slow-motion video, many of which reference classical paintings. His distorted replicas invite conversation around digitalisation, reality and virtual spaces. Gersht is interested in time periods involving revolutions – the scientific, industrial and digital – which he posits as the crossroads that define photography. A collision of history, science and tech.
Hannah Starkey, Untitled – October 1998 (1998)
What is the Future Of Photography?
Photography has had a long and eventful history – moving from wet plates to smartphones, camera technology has changed dramatically over the years. What does the future hold for storytelling in this media? Four photographers with very different practices – Hannah Starkey, Tom Hunter, Maryam Wahid and Mónica Alcázar-Duarte – take us on a journey through the future direction of photography and lens-based media. How do we hold up a mirror to the present? Where do we go from here? These panellists discuss how practitioners continue to innovate with the democratisation of photography – where almost everyone has a camera in their pocket, and pictures are shared round-the-clock.
Fiona Banner AKA The Vanity Press, Pranayama Organ Still Shot, 2021
Fiona Banner AKA The Vanity Press / The Relationship Between Language and Self
The struggle between language and its limitations is central to Fiona Banner’s conceptual approach. She has an interest in how conflict is mythologised through popular culture. Her early work took the form of “wordscapes” or “still films,” blow-by-blow accounts in her own words of feature films, from war movies to pornography, as well as intimate scenes and historical events. These works evolved into solid single blocks of text, often the same shape and size as a cinema screen. Banner later turned her attention to the idea of the art-historical nude, observing a life model and transcribing, in words, the pose and form. Banner will speak about her extensive career and work. Chaired by University of York’s Helena Cox.
Portfolio Reviews: Hosted by Industry Professionals
These 1-1 sessions, hosted at York Theatre Royal, are for practitioners working across all genres, including painting, photography, digital media, sculpture, video and more. Our industry experts provide essential guidance on how to develop ideas and further artists’ careers, as well as providing insights on funding opportunities and exhibition. Each session lasts 20 minutes. This is an opportunity to get key advice on any number of topics: how to accelerate your practice through digital platforms, how to approach curators and galleries, or simply to discuss a particular portion of your portfolio in real time