From May 7 to May 12, Forecast and Haus der Kulturen der Welt welcomed 18 artists, musicians, producers, and collectives to the Forecast Forum, an intensive four days of workshops with their mentors, followed by two days of public presentations and discussions. At the end of the action-packed public weekend, the mentors each selected one talent with whom they will collaborate for the next six months. Together, mentors and mentees will bring the mentees’ projects to fruition, and the resulting works will be presented to the public in the fall, during the Forum Festival at the HKW, Berlin, from October 12-13.
During the Forum, many parallel themes became apparent, with practitioners across all disciplines engaging with questions surrounding Machine Learning, AI, structures of power and control, and the body as a means for participation, organization, and disobedience. Forecast’s Artistic Director Freo Majer said: “All participants of this year’s Forecast Forum have proved to be fascinating thinkers and practitioners. The six creators that have now been invited as mentees for the next months have shown outstanding deliberative skills as well as the courage and ability to experiment with forms and practices. These tandems will be adventurous.”
The six mentees and their mentors are:
Curator David Elliott will mentor curator Abhijan Toto on his proposal for the exhibition The Exhaustion Project: Occupy Exhaustion. Elliott said: “My three young mentees, two artists and one curator, are extremely smart and make good work in which they are, from different perspectives, concerned with how the brutality of power impacts the ‘body.’ This week together in Berlin, and the lead-up to it, have been just a starting point for me in understanding their individual potential for development. So, I have asked Abhijan if he would take forward and extend our project as the curator of this next stage, including these artists along with others, under my mentorship.”
Radio producer and curator Peter Meanwell will mentor Canadian musician, sound artist, and radio maker Julia E Dyck on her audiovisual performance Frequency Interference, a sci-fi radio drama broadcasted in real-time. Meanwell said: “I’m excited to work with Julia to develop her practice that combines radiophonic sound, live performance and dys/u-topian narratives. I’m looking forward to seeing how she brings her craft of radio-making, experimental sound performance, and identity research to the world of live radio drama.”
Musician and composer Holly Herndon will mentor the Seoul-based electronic musician and sound artist Jeongmin Jeon, a.k.a. MIIIN, on her sound and video-art project Xeno Miiin. Herndon said: “Over the course of the week I interacted with all three artists and tried to help them to realize their projects, as a sort of trial run. While I’m truly interested in all of their work and ideas, I found that MIIIN and I had the most fruitful working relationship in terms of productivity and impact.”
Curator and museum director Tulga Beyerle will mentor the Amsterdam-based Commonplace Studio, founded by Jon Stam and Simon de Bakker, on their project Backchannel Tools, an interactive drawing machine that spurs visitor-activated interaction with artifacts in encyclopedic museums’ collections. All candidates in this category explored ways to rethink museum displays and narrative structures, and together with Beyerle, penned a manifesto for a dream institution, dubbed “Our Museum of Possibilities.” Commonplace Studio’s project showed great applicability and a potential to effectively “invade” and be implemented in museums.
Artist and filmmaker Omer Fast will mentor artist Omar A. Chowdhury on his film Augustijn, a multichannel metanarrative that follows a young Belgian convert to Islam and explores the ambiguous relations between him and the author, an atheist, Muslim-heretic artist. Fast said: “Omar’s accidental encounter with a young Belgian man on a train from Brussels to Ghent serves as the framing device for an exploration of identity, masculinity, and religion. This open-ended project and its two protagonists—messy, voluble, slippery, and vulnerable—eventually won me over in a group with exceptionally strong projects from Eliane Esther Bots and María Molina Peiró.”
Artist Laura Lima will mentor artist and researcher Saverio Cantoni on his project Cyborg Welfare System, a lecture performance based on voice recognition and machine learning.
Born deaf, Cantoni learned to speak with the aid of a machine. His project reverses the process, teaching a machine to speak in his voice and read his memoir aloud. Lima worked closely with all three candidates despite the unfortunate fact that one of them, Arthur Ban, was not permitted to travel to Germany from Burundi, where he lives, and they could only converse remotely.
Forecast would like to thank all participants in this year’s edition for sharing their research and work processes, and making them accessible to a wide audience in Berlin.