In the edition in which we mark ten years of existence it can be said that it has never been so challenging to think and do together, to dialogue, to approach and to persist. The circumstances in which we live turn the exercise of building an encounter with the characteristics of MEXE into an intense daily task of trying out balances, fighting fatigue, questioning and consolidating principles, dissipating confusions, generating intimacy devices and imagining other configurations for doing and being.
When in 2020, in the discussion forum spaces that allow us to define a theme for each edition, we chose – “The Risk” – we were far from knowing the multiple meanings that it would gain throughout the development of this proposal. It has been, however, in this risk, and in the fragility that is associated with it, that we have found ourselves – team, citizens, local communities, artists, partners and promoting/funding entities – adapting and reinventing ourselves, trying not to lose, however, the ethical and aesthetic sense that guides us.
It is with a focus on the need to live the risk, in its multiple facets, that in July 2021, the moment we present this program, we insist in making present not knowing how the real MEXE will be in September 2021. But it is, precisely, the risk that mobilizes us to co-creation and that we collectively accept to continue taking. Assuming the indefiniteness, instability, blocking fear and control that we already experienced, aspects that are currently aggravated by the pandemic, we support ourselves in the conviction of the reinforced importance of confrontation, dissonance, listening and difference in artistic creation, political action, democratic discussion and community life.
This program, which remains practically all free, seeks to amplify concerns and challenges, allowing social realities to speak for themselves, convening distinct aesthetics without crystallized hierarchical impositions and other ways of doing from an artistic and communitarian point of view. In this construction, we experiment with the production of distinct meeting configurations between creations and publics, communities and spaces, institutions and processes of creating and programming, formal and informal protagonists. We commit ourselves to the production of micro-politics of the sensitive and of attention, reinforcing the focus on original processes and premieres. The programmatic proposals presented here call upon us to expand the limits of the thinkable and the imagined. To this end, we propose the crossing of the contributions of technology and scientific thought, putting into perspective communities beyond the human, deepening other possible relationships with nature and seeking to build a space of affirmation for “invisibilities” that reflect social inequalities, aggravated by the pandemic.
In 2021, MEXE will arrive for the first time, and simultaneously, during two weeks, to two more cities – Viseu and Lisbon – materializing the desire to act and think locally, without losing the connection to other places, to different ways of building community, as it is emphasized with the maintenance, in an added effort in the context in which we live, of the international proposals, as well as with the launching of MEXE online.
This is also, naturally, the space to thank the courage to continue being human and to risk ourselves in the search for possibilities so that we don’t stop being human, even experiencing the expansion of this experience. A big thank you to the more than 100 participants, besides the researchers that integrate the International Meeting of Reflection on Community Art Practices, of the 32 groups from 6 countries that will occupy 10 spaces in 3 cities with the support of 30 partner entities. This is what we can tell you today that we have dreamed and prepared together for September 2021.
After ten years, we are here and we continue to learn how to MEXER, how to return to the body, how to intensify experiences and materiality. To live the risk of being human we gain breath in the urgency to produce intimacy, care and repair – ideas that will be discussed in this issue – that fuel our future. We do MEXE aware of the need to take the risk so that we can advance in the daily claim of our humanity in a different relationship with ourselves, with others, and with non-human communities. We do MEXE in 2021 with the conviction that artistic and communal imagination are in themselves political acts because they experiment and materialize worlds, today, still impossible.
We are MEXER.
Artistic Director MEXE