[artinfo] Antoni Muntadas: About Academia

Art & Education edu-news at mailer.e-flux.com
Fri Apr 30 12:19:12 CEST 2021

Antoni Muntadas: About Academia I-II, an Online 
Interpretation, 2011-2017 (2021)

Roundtable: April 30, 2-5pm, (BRT) What University Do We Want?
Institute for Advanced Studies at University of São Paulo (USP), online event


Based on his experience in American higher 
education, the artist Antoni Muntadas inaugurates 
in Brazil an online interpretation of About 
Academia. The project discusses the role and 
function of universities today, the place of art 
in this context, the relationship between public 
and private, tradition and contemporaneity, the 
future of universities and interdisciplinarity, 
based on interviews with professors and students.

About Academia, a project originally presented at 
the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, after 
an invitation by Harvard University, during 
Antoni Muntadas' last teaching period in the 
program in Art, Culture and Technology at the 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (ACT MIT), 
in 2011, followed in different versions to cities 
like Boston, Vancouver, Amsterdam, Seville, among 

The Brazilian version of the video installation 
About Academia, which at first would occupy the 
Biblioteca Brasiliana at the University of São 
Paulo (USP), translates as another work of the 
multimedia artist and professor, by creating a 
digital interpretation of the original 
installation and developed as a website, which 
can be accessed after April 30 via 
For the first time, it will be exhibited in Latin 
America, with all its materials translated into 
Portuguese, in a bilingual version (Spanish), 
through a partnership between the Fórum 
Permanente, the Institute for Advanced Studies at 
USP, and the Biblioteca Brasiliana José and Guita 
Mindlin with the support of the São Paulo state 
government through the Programa de Ação Cultural 

About Academia provokes a reflection through art 
about the American academic and university 
system. Muntadas' video installation considers 
the possible conflict between a faculty (and its 
values) and an administration (and its power). To 
circulate the project successfully in non-US 
universities, Muntadas proposes roundtable 
discussions that contextualize the conflicts and 
difficulties of the university system that hosts 
it. Confronting with other models in different 
contexts and cultures. Therefore, on the opening 
day, a virtual roundtable is being organized with 
the theme "What University Do We Want?" 
Participants are: 
Krenak, philosopher, environmentalist, indigenous 
Sousa Silva, educator, socio-cultural activist; 
Evaristo, educator, former State Secretary of 
Minas Gerais, Brazil; and 
Garcia Canclini, anthropologist and philosopher. 
Apart from Portuguese, all the roundtables will 
also be available in Spanish and English on the 
website of the exhibition.

The project is composed of two sets of 
projections and publications. While About 
Academia I (2011) addresses these issues from the 
perspective of professors and academics, About 
Academia II (2017) delves into its themes 
exclusively from the students' point of view. Due 
to COVID-19, the first exhibition of this project 
in the Southern Hemisphere takes place through a 
virtual room on a website where it is also 
possible to access the roundtables and two 
bilingual publications (Portuguese/Spanish) are 
available with the complete transcriptions of the 
speeches of the interviewees, among them Noam 
Chomsky, David Harvey, Carol Becker, Ute Meta 
Bauer, as well as the students.

The immersive, online, interactive video 
installation gives prominence to the two sets: 
About Academia I (2011) and About Academia II 
(2017). It thus respects the time lengths of the 
videos originally developed by the artist for 
their existence in a real physical space. Thus, 
despite the interactivity of navigation, it is 
not possible for the visitor to control the 
projected videos. The aesthetic experience in 
virtuality corresponds to the real time of the 
analog exhibition space.

Antoni Muntadas: About Academia I-II, an Online 
Interpretation, 2011-2017 (2021) is open April 30 
to May 15 worldwide and until October 31, 2021 
for Latin America.

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