European culture fund grants €1.9m to five-year global art project
Headed by Spanish artist and philosopher, Metabody aims to generate “unprecedented convergence” of art, technoscience, philosophy and social activism
By Laurie Rojas. Web only
Published online: 24 July 2013
Despite public arts funding drying up across Europe, the EU’s Culture Programme has granted €1.9m to Metabody, a five-year global art project that starts this July. Headed by the Spanish artist and philosopher Jaime del Val, Metabody, which stands for Media Embodiment Tékhne and Bridges of Diversity, is a collaborative project among 11 partner organisations and 19 associated partners in 14 countries across Europe and the Americas.
The Culture Programme funds projects that “aim to encourage the mobility of artists, arts professionals and cultural workers across different countries”, says Christoph Jankowski, a UK representative for the programme. “We are not interested in supporting touring exhibitions, but in something that makes a real change through collaboration, and has a life beyond the funding period. It's all about how how many citizens participate and collaborate.” Projects are not selected by bureaucrats either, but by a rotating jury of independent professionals in culture, heritage, visual and performing arts.
The programme has funded several large-scale collaboration projects before, but Del Val says, “this project generates an unprecedented convergence of art, technoscience, philosophy and social activism”. Metabody aims “to invert the mechanistic approach to movement” and the view that “bodies can be analysed and reduced to a set of universal human emotions”. Del Val sites the proliferation of “emoticon culture” and “reductionist” facial recognition technology as examples of one of the most fundamental problems of our time. “In the example of the Snowden case,” he says, “the issue is not our right for privacy, but how corporations are using all sorts of data, giving form to our desires and capitalising on everything we do.”
Metabody's five-year schedule of 25 events includes conferences, workshops and research, leading to the completion, in the fifth year, of an interactive laboratory for understanding how technology affects bodies. This mobile architectural structure will travel to nine countries and will be designed in collaboration with the Hyperbody research group in Delft University in the Netherlands, who are experts in interactive and digital architecture, along with other architectural partners in Chile and Spain.
The first conference, “Metahuman/Metaformance Studies: 3,000 Years of Posthuman History”, at Medialab Prado in Madrid, will run from 24 July to 31 July, 2013. The keynote speaker of the conference is Katherines Hayles, the author of the 1999 book, How We Became Post-Human and will include presentations of projects received from open calls, many on topics focused on diversity. The conference will be live-streamed through a link at metabody.eu. Artists can visit the site for further programming and open calls. Metabody conferences will be taking place every four months in a different country for the next five years.
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