Antoni Muntadas — Activating Artifacts: About Academia
Exhibition opening reception
An opening reception will be held on Thursday, February 2, from 5 to 7 p.m., and the gallery will open for its regular viewing hours on Friday, February 3.
Organized by Niels Van Tomme, director of de Appel Art Center in Amsterdam, Antoni Muntadas: Activating Artifacts — Interpretation, Translation, Education presents a site-specific exhibition project produced in close collaboration with world-renowned multimedia artist Antoni Muntadas (Spain, 1942). Through his work, Muntadas addresses social, political and communication issues, often investigating channels of information and the ways in which they may be used to censor or promulgate ideas.
This particular exhibition project addresses a gradual but steady shift in academia, from the initial American ideal of mass public education, which developed throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, towards an increasingly privatized and corporatized form of knowledge production as we know it today.
Commissioning a major new artwork by Muntadas, Antoni Muntadas: Activating Artifacts — Interpretation, Translation, Education launches the newly produced second installment of the artist’s internationally acclaimed About Academia video installation (2009–17). In this project, which presents a critical inquiry into the structure and function of the university system, Muntadas investigates the complex and often conflicting relationship between the production of knowledge and the economic interests it generates, which increasingly entwines scholarly activities with the commodification of knowledge. Whereas About Academia installs a critique from the perspective of professors and faculty-affiliated scholars, the newly commissioned second installment further elaborates on its themes exclusively from the viewpoint of the student. To facilitate this latter process, Muntadas has initiated and is currently supervising a special educational program leading up to the exhibition, organized in partnership with UMBC’s Department of Visual Arts, in which he collaborates with students to conduct a series of filmed interviews with undergraduates and graduates from universities across the East Coast. As the overall aim of About Academia serves to create a platform for independent critical thinking about university contexts, the second installment specifically facilitates the forging of alternative models of academic education that can potentially be implemented in the future.
Antoni Muntadas: Activating Artifacts — Interpretation, Translation, Education presents for the first time the complete version of About Academia in one large, multi-channel video installation.