Cumulus Guayaquil 2021: Arts imagining communities to come

November 8-11, 2021 Guayaquil, Ecuador
Hosted by Universidad de las Artes del Ecuador (UArtes)

The Cumulus Conference Guayaquil 2021: Arts imagining communities to come seeks to promote academic reflections and artistic performances focusing on different ways of working with local communities. The conference would like to invite artists, scholars, professors, and researchers to share their experiences and reflections on this matter, pre, during and after the pandemic. Research tracks can be found below. Please consider the proposals can be submitted as theoretical, performative and/or document-artistic presentations that contribute to address the questions below.

For UArtes is important to focus on inter-learning experiences that connect communities over outreach programmes and projects. We create community projects that, through arts education, enable collective construction of knowledge, encourage know-how exchanges, and promote participation for social transformation.

In our outreach programs we seek, from the arts perspective, to provide solutions to: interculturality, gender and diversity, memory, ancestral languages, public space, cultural rights, inclusion or identity and environmental related problems. To do so, UArtes works with priority targeted groups particularly: children and adolescents, indigenous populations and nationalities, people affected by violence, people with disabilities, migrant populations, communities sitting on defenceless territories, and people deprived of liberty. We build working networks with government institutions, educational system establishments, community, and international cooperation organisations. These projects have resulted in an outstanding creative production in/from/with the communities themselves, which fortify the sense of public education in the arts as a right.

TRACKS

Track 1: Crisis, criticism, and creation

Our present has emerged as a time of crises: economic, geopolitical, epistemological, sanitarian, and climate. Such crises are so dramatically intertwined that it becomes difficult to imagine concrete alternatives. However, a crisis is not the end of the world, but rather an opportunity to critically reflect on it and the genealogy that has led us to our current state. And, because the best defence is a good offense, criticism, therefore, should be first of all a way of rethinking and redesigning the Age in which we live, radically changing our point of view and our outlook with respect to the future. If design is intended to make visible the invisible, to design the future is to make visible what will happen after the crisis, creating the social and cultural conditions for its completion. In this sense, it is particularly important to identify those crucial agents or issues that could be addressed in order to begin the process of re-imagining the world. We ask, then, starting from a local perspective, is it possible to establish the South as a strategical place of enunciation to reconcile critical analysis of the present with acts of creation? Which social experiences, artistic practices and activist projects seem to embody, within the crisis, this effort? Which theoretical and artistic trajectories are committed to a counter-hegemonic critique of the present that could also be considered a creation?

Keywords: Global crisis, counter-hegemony, design thinking, social engagement in arts, imagination-creation.

Track 2: Production Design in the Arts

In a global atmosphere oscillating between confinement and fears of new COVID-19 outbreaks, an emphasis has been drawn on the aestheticized and fictional forms of products exhibited and distributed on social media and digital platforms. However, in the face of the permanent presence of virtuality, the doubt arises about whether the use of technological tools traversing artistic production diffuses the breach between art buffs, emergent artists, and professionals. This problem remarks the way friendly and open software, apps or interfaces resolved the needs of creators once they reach technological competences in artistic design, reflection and composition.

Since creative processes’ times and freedoms have been altered as a result of the lack of physical exchanging and conviviality, our challenge is to project ourselves towards a sustainable popular economy or a self-income generation model through fairs, garage sales or auctions, amongst other actions/strategies, that could result in partnership affiliation and cooperative movement, that could enable regional networks activation.
This call invites DJs; artistic producers; sound, stage or animation designers; and visual artists in general to share their archives and proposals in regard to self-publishing, understanding of algorithms, marketing logics in order to position an inclusive brand that, in some occasions, turns out even profitable thanks to the support of endorsers that legitimize inside a complex and saturated market.

Key words: DJ, transdisciplinary design, rent, influencers, co-creation, digital strategies.

Track 3: Art, nature, biology and technology

If the decade beginning in 2010 can be thought as the crucial period of smartification, of social media dominance, and the awareness of the Anthropocene-Capitalocene, then 2020 and the pandemic has in turn obligated us to reorient our attention towards biology and its direct effects on our physical health. At the same time, technology has totally reconfigured our social and individual environment. We live in a new era of the screens or, as Naomi Klein defines it in “Screen New Deal”. During quarantine and the forced lockdown caused by the sanitary emergency, we came towards a social and painful atomization; we are still far from comprehending its long-term effects, but it immediately makes us more aware than ever before of a simultaneously yearned-for and avoided otherness. In this framework, the arts and design are driven to rethink the relations between technology, the environment and biology. In this context of a Damaged Planet (Haraway), the ambition of passing from the expression of one’s own cosmovision and the self, to the concrete design of a pluriversal (McKenzie, Mignolo), multi-specific (Margulis) and perspectivist (Viveiros de Castro) world becomes strategic. In this respect, and given that it would be a political error to reduce the role of the arts merely to its aesthetic dimension, we find ourselves moving towards a great cosmopolitical question: How should we think bioethically and biopolitically about the relations between life/lives, technologies and creation? Besides, and turning back to more general aspects, we ask ourselves what sense is there in making art in a «Damaged Planet»? How should we handle, politically and artistically, the possibilities of designing worlds provided by the digital, while, at the same time, fighting against its totalitarian tendencies of control? Which opportunities for a world to come arise from artistic practices, Latin American “artivism” and the epistemologies of the Global South?

Key words: Smartification, World design and worlding, cosmopolitics, artivism, southern epistemologies.

Track 4: Urban art and redesigning cities

For several decades, the urban landscape has become a territory of disputes and a place for the articulation of relationships which range from the political and emotional to the aesthetic. To this extent, the resonance of creative expressions on the streets are ever more deserving of a profound and careful analysis. In this sense, visual phenomena like the ‘Ganchos’ from Monterrey, the ‘Pichação’ in Sao Paulo and the ‘Chapeteo’ in Guayaquil Ecuador, amongst others, provide proof of organic and regional cultural processes that, albeit stemming from the Bronxs’ boom in New York (Castleman), configure a regional graffiti typology, framed within a specific socio-political context.

Taking into account the current state of urban design and how this has impacted on the way art is produced, it is now relevant to review the ways in which this intervention has impacted on the production; this includes amongst others graffiti and urban art as part of the contemporary repertoire shown on street walls.

Graffiti is an unstoppable cultural process that maintains an open and direct dialogue with the physical and social architecture of its territories. It presents itself as a strategy and methodology for diverse processes of creative exploration. Different types of graffiti such as; ‘Caligraffiti’, ‘Laser Tag’, ‘Led Throwie’ and ‘Electrograf’ are the result of these primary inquiries, which include the use of new technologies.

Therefore, we must ask ourselves, to what extent is design inserted into these forms of creative production? To what extent are urban art and graffiti configured as a space for graphic resistance? To what extent are they a means of exploration of new ways of creative intervention in the urban landscape?

Key words: Urban art, city, public space, laser tag, graffiti, design

Conference website: http://cumulusguayaquil2021.org

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