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Ana Cristina Cachola


Created by Contemporânea, Community as Immunity is a transdisciplinary project that brings twenty artists, curators, scholars, and critics together to examine artistic production and reflection on the various dimensions of the present day in its inevitable relationship with the pandemic turn. Running throughout 2021, this project aims at constructing community as a form of social and cultural immunity in the face of the challenges presented by a wide-range present day that has laid bare the inescapable intersectionality of (the) contemporary crisis/es. This way, it reflects on and proposes new ways of constructing community as a form of social and cultural immunity in the face of the several challenges, the uncertainty, and the precariousness brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is in this critical moment—one of crisis and of necessary criticism—that Community as Immunity is inscribed.

As such, twenty authors from different places of speech and various artistic and academic fields (visual arts, language sciences, cognition, art criticism, curation, literature, music, performance, digital sociology, among others) have been invited to take part in this project. In this intersection, an ecology of knowledges and collaborative forms of acting in the contemporary age is fostered. Taking into account the complexity inherent in the constitutive processes of community and immunity, this project will be developed and presented in different stages.

Firstly, five mediation and reflection workshops with the guest authors, the partner institutions, and the core team will take place. Each workshop will focus on a single subject: "Proximity at a distance: (pre)existing models"; "Taking part in and beyond Presence"; "Community and Immunity — based on Paul B. Preciado's work"; "Curation and Cure: virulence and contagion in contemporary thought"; "The Power and Action of Cultural Programming: manifestoes and manifestations". More than creating crucial spaces for reflection and dialogue, these workshops aim not only at enabling cooperation and collaboration among the authors and partner institutions within and without the context of this project, but also at laying the basis for original production by each of the authors. Relatedly, in the second stage, each author will produce original contents—an article, a review, an essay, a visual essay, a sound essay, a reading, a performance, or a video, for instance—for Contemporânea's online platform. Published in phases, these contents will later be gathered into a free bilingual journal.

In its polysemy and manifold dynamics, the concept of community/ies has been thoroughly problematised, examined, and critiqued, especially within the frameworks of the social and human sciences, of interdisciplinary art making, and of network-based organisational activism. The current pandemic context has made way for a reactivation of this word which has proved to be a paradoxical one. On the one hand, many formal and informal movements have since called upon (and realised) community bonds of mutual aid and reflection; on the other, the word "community" has been recurrently exploited by power structures as a lexical tool for generalisations and descriptions of the spread of the coronavirus. 

From a cross-disciplinary viewpoint and through activities chiefly focused on creation and on online and print publishing, Community as Immunity aims at (re)activating the concept, action, and agency of a diverse cultural community whose practises draw upon and link up various artistic disciplines, differentiated fields of knowledge, and plural places of speech which use an intersectional approach to problematise ethnic and gender issues, as well as issues of belonging. The resulting production, as well as the subsequent presentation of this multitudinous, diverse community which throws light on the Portugal-based artistic fabric, will serve as a form of social and cultural immunity to the problems and problematics raised by the present day.


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