Ágora Club. Fórum do Futuro.

As envisioned by Georges Didi-Huberman, the present contains part of the past and edifies a bridge towards the future. Recognizing this relationship and applying it analytically allows a greater clarity when looking into the present, at the most diverse levels. The possibility of rescuing cases, works, previous objects through new interpretations, embedding them in the now, shows that nothing is just related to the context where it is born, and that everything can remerge in another moment. Essentially, that is to reject the idea of ​​a diachronic time and, therefore, to better inhabit the present moment

In this sense, in 2018, Fórum do Futuro [Forum of the Future] goes back to Greek Antiquity, reflecting its presence and strong manifestation in contemporary culture. This is precisely the starting point proposed to scrutinize the present moment. And, since the canons of ancient Greece are still dominant and determining factors of the Western world, remaining as imperishable models, they can be regarded as myths (legends, narratives) that reappear in distinct historical periods, particularly in ethics and aesthetics. In parallel, there is an approximation between art and science, fields rooted in the cultural realm, in permanent relation, development and progress, and there are also echoes of such reminiscences in the social, political and economic spheres.

With Fórum do Futuro being a cycle of thinking, reflection and discussion of topics of present-day importance and significance, the panel of interventions and participation in the several different sessions (conferences, videos and performances) was designed to be broad and diversified, encompassing the most diverse areas of action, research, arts and even everyday life. Accordingly, this year’s program includes 52 guests from multiple areas and backgrounds, from 17 different countries. It is a heterogeneous group that represents the extensively plural contemporary universe.  Eduarda Neves, Delfim Sardo, Nuno Crespo or Ricardo Nicolau, names that hold an important place in the Portuguese cultural scene, are part of it.

Throughout the intense one-week chronogram, we have personalities who are absolutely relevant in art, like Christian Boltanski (1944, France) and Martin Crimp (1956, United Kingdom), in philosophy and sociology, such as Maurizio Lazzarato (1955, Italy), or, more recently, but already important in our times, Astra Taylor (1979, Canada) and Nadya Tolokonnikova (1989, Russia) of the activist punk band Pussy Riot. The latter was part of the third act of the opening session, in the main stage of the Municipal Theater of Porto, last Sunday. A spokeswoman for the protest female Russian group mentioned several activism actions and sought to justify why she advocates the application of a practical philosophy to address the current socio-political and cultural issues. She appealed to transformation, to the dynamism and, above all, to action as a reaction, understanding it as the most effective way to fight for change in the world.

In a collaboration between the Oporto City Hall, Teatro Rivoli, Serralves Contemporary Art Museum, Cinema Trindade and Mala Voadora, Ágora Club is now set up. Albeit transposed to the 21st century, and understood under a contemporary logic, the Agora has the same meaning that it did in Athens or, later, as a Forum in Rome. I.e., action and word (praxis and lexis). Therefore, this project in the city of Oporto recreates a public spot of meetings, discussion, sharing and “negotiation of identities, ideas, practices and language”, as suggested by the promotional text. This is the fifth edition of Fórum do Futuro and ends on November 10.

Constança Babo (Porto, 1992) has a PhD in Media Art and Communication from Universidade Lusófona. Her research focuses on new media arts and curatorship. She has a master's degree in Art Studies - Art Theory and Criticism from the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto and a degree in Visual Arts - Photography from the Porto School of Art. She has published scientific articles and critical texts. She was a research fellow in the international project Beyond Matter, at the Zentrum für Kunst und Medien Karlsruhe, and was a researcher at Tallinn University, in the MODINA project.

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