Call for Proposals:

The Future Museum in the Future City

25-27 April 2021

Doha Institute for Graduate Studies and Mathaf: Arab Museum for Modern Art, in Doha, are planning to hold the 3rd Annual Conference of Visual Arts. This edition of the conference will look at the implications of the current pandemic on the futures of museums and cities. We expect the conference to be an open platform for discussions and raising questions concerning the different potential scenarios to come upon us in the near future. Below is a preliminary conceptual framework for you to consider and possibly engage with. We invite you to consider participating in the conference and present your interventions to our Arab and international audiences. 

Conceptual Framework: 

There are turning points in history that we understand in retrospect, in a deferred insight. The current crisis, the pandemic, seems to act differently, for it contains an acute awareness that it is a major disjuncture between two eras, two regimes of human existence. Inherent to this tragic experience of a “major break” is the orientation towards the future, loosely defined. The cultural fields of production are doubly bounded in this tragic experience. They are one of the most affected domains of this tragic experience which has deep and lasting effects on it. And those most affected fields are expected to tell the story of this transition between the two regimes of existence. “The Story of the Pandemic” is partly constituted by ways of narrating the future to come, the nature of the unfolding new regime(s).

Of the different cultural fields at the center of these processes, are the city and the museum. Traditionally, the modern city constructed the museum as its mirroring mechanism. It was supposed to tell the story of the city via different media, e.g., visually, architecturally, and temporally. Fortunately, it did more than just telling a story, it has been reshaping the city and its dwellers. At the current juncture, both the city and the museum have been deeply implicated in the tragic experiences and are being radically transformed. Part and parcel of this transformation is that the city and the museum are narrating the moment of transformation as it occurs. And thus they are both active in shaping the “future” of the coming regime of human existence.

These current dynamics of the “urgent” now force certain challenges on us. What are the shapes and the practices of the sociopolitical regimes that we foresee? What type of agency could we carve out in these emerging regimes? Is the biosphere the determining factor after all? What would the city based on the new biopolitics look like? And the museum? Do these scenarios entail ways of visually narrating them? Could one resist these unfolding changes, and how? 

We invite you to send proposals to participate in the conference (up to 500 words), in accordance with one of the following topics:

  1. Critical reading of the urban formative forces of the plagued city;
  2. Revising the history of the modern museum in light of the current pandemic;
  3. Foreseeing the future possible relations of the museum and the city;
  4. The possibilities of visualizing the new biopolitical regime(s), and the ways of resisting it; 
  5. The positionality of the viewer: The Southern Scene and its deconstructive charge\claim;

Note: this year’s panel discussions will take place online, and selected papers will be published in the proceedings. 

Download call for proposals - Submission for proposals closed.