Talks & Screenings 2023

Public event

Join us for this Saturday June 24 from 4-6pm for a public program of Talks and Screenings at AiR 351.

Talks program  (synopsis below)
– Paulette Gomis
– Filipa Sousa
– Filomena Mairosse
– Kim Schoen

Screenings by Kim Schoen

During the event, visitors are also invited to visit the studios of AnaMary Bilbao, Kim Schoen, Paulette Gomis, Filomena Mairosse and Suzana Queiroga.




With a surface area of 36,125 km2, Guinea-Bissau, home to almost two million inhabitants, is surprisingly diverse in terms of culture. The ethnic distribution of this small West African country is a Guinean peculiarity that deserves real attention. Actually, the ethnic mosaic is made up of around ten groups, the four largest of which alone account for 80% of the population. The Africans, known for their multilingualism, have always used each other’s languages to facilitate communication, but they also strive to preserve their cultural identities. With the arrival of the Portuguese in Guinea-Bissau, Criolo – the result of a mixture of Portuguese and African languages – developed in the country’s main towns, now forms the common language of Guinean city dwellers. This linguistic creation of controversial origins has enabled the “guinendade” to exist and to convey the image of living together.  Today, “guinendade” is a source of national pride and is directly linked to the country’s history. This “guinendade”, which is expressed mainly in the urban areas of Guinea-Bissau, also affects rural areas, although Criolo is little spoken in the villages. This is the case, for example, in Manjaku region, where the Manjaku language is dominant. The annual carnival, which brings all Guineans together, enables ethnic groups such as the Manjaku one to join in this “guinendade” movement. However, what about the Manjaku who emigrated to Senegal and France very early on and were never exposed to the “guinendade”? What about their descendants born in French-speaking territories, who think that Guinea-Bissau is limited to Manjaku area and who have no idea of the existence of this cultural mosaic that both highlights differences and reflects national unity?



Life class

Artists, educators and curators have been conducting multiple pedagogical experiments throughout the 20th century and at the turn of the 21st century. This artistic approach and interest to education, driven by the desire to create alternative methods and to produce knowledge beyond formal systems, has brought about significant changes in the traditional relationships between art and academia. These autonomous, self-organised artists initiatives have gained in popularity among younger generations and have given rise to many alternative schools, academies, and universities around the world. Schools like the Bauhaus, Black Mountain College, or the Free International University, among others, continue to serve as inspiring models in the realm of non-formal arts education. In Portugal, Ar.Co is one such example of these schools. Established in 1973 with the powerful slogan of “free learning” (“ensino livre”), Ar.Co has provided a platform for many artists in the Portuguese contemporary art scene.

I have started off investigating this global phenomenon by placing it in relation to some of the early community education movements of the late 19th century, such as Toynbee Hall and The Hull House, to then move on to look at experimental art schools movements of the 20th century. I have looked at Ar.Co as a case study to provide insights into pedagogical activity and educational practices and to intersect practice with theoretical concepts – such as participation, experimentation, collective action, among others.

My larger research questions are: what defines an art school in the 21st century? What role do these experimental schools play in the History of Art and the History of Education? What is their legacy? How do artists practices and pedagogical strategies, intersect and influence one another?

How do the models of these schools differ from one part of the world to another? And how do they relate to the art-critic-gallery world and to the formal education system?



Not Toward the Sun but Myself a Sun

On global migration and artistic practice

Following an initial observation of Portugal as a port of access to the new world for artists and art patrons fleeing World War II, I want to examine Portugal’s current position as simultaneously the “new world” itself for migrants escaping socioeconomic discomfort in their own countries while also maintaining its position as a portal to a “new” (global/international) art world for artists Portuguese-speaking countries.

Throughout the presentation, we’ll explore what defines spaces of possibility for artistic practice, and what happens to places of “non-possibility”, we’ll explore the migratory movement of artists through space and how the direction of that movement – to or from the “west” – impact their artistic practice or the possibility of artistic creation.

The title draws inspiration from Ousmane Sembene’s iconic interview where he clarifies his relationship to Europe, asserting it as not his center nor the center of his work – famously proclaiming lEurope n´est pas mon centre (Europe is not my center) – and emphasizing his position at the center of his own work, being not the sunflower which turns toward the source of light but the source of light himself – stating Je suis moi même le soleil (I am myself the sun).



“Unwilling To Be At The Mercy of a Fading Flower”

What are the demands that an object such as an artificial flower — a substitute for a living thing — present us with? The paradoxical objects of artificial plants call forth many questions regarding care, aging, capitalism and the death drive — while inhabiting a strange temporality.

Why produce a substitute for a living thing? What qualities of care do we extend to living versus non-living things? To care involves time, responsiveness, repetition and sometimes love, but in a non-idealized version, as María Puig de la Bellacasa says, care also involves “anxiety, sorrow and grief.” The demands of care, in their exactitude and repetitive continuation, occasion complicated relations with both persons and objects, which we will begin to try to open up.

What relations do we have with aging and death that prompt us to mass produce substitutes for living things—as fetish, displacement, or delusion? How does the repetition in mass production and consumption intertwine with our own fears and attachments, repetitive drives, towards death, or jouissance?

And lastly, what kind of time do artificial plants inhabit? Representations of flowers (different from the stand-in objects of artificial flowers) call to mind the painterly memento mori (from the Latin; ‘remember you must die’), but filmic representations of artificial flowers are oddly in sync with photography’s immortal project. The time it takes to produce a specific artwork is a weird and finite time. Yet art leaves behind another symbolic body in our hopes for infinitude. A body which may be left for care-taking by others.

Arranged in the structure of a bouquet, Kim will present the multiple stems of her research and writing in gathered, nascent form.



AnaMary Bilbao’s work has been addressing time within its historical, cultural and existential implications and in an attempt to question the anthropocentric logic that imposes acceleration as a natural rhythm and the understanding of the digital as being the closest approach to the real. Currently, she articulates documentation from different sources (photography, drawing, sound, moving image). Through the combination of these elements, she seeks to start fictional narratives that put into question the idea of a single truth mainly through indeterminacy. This obsession arises from the awareness that the notion of a single truth is related with power, and also with the artist’s belief that in order to counteract that same power we need to legitimate space for hallucination, dreams, for doubt.

It is based on these convictions that Bilbao has developed her research during the residency at AiR 351, seeking to cross her investigation with new languages in order to allow the unexpected to emerge from processes of erasure and blurring, for example. But this place of uncertainty is also claimed in her tests with artificial intelligence apps and by reinvigorating their detachment from the truth. Moreover, continuing to deepen the dialectics around the idea of reality and fiction Bilbao’s work starts giving particular emphasis to different dichotomous pairs, like “visible / invisible” or “human / non-human”.

For this occasion the artist will show some studies that are part of her new body of work, which again reinforces the relationship between drawing and photography and which presents now a more clear connection with Nature, the mythological, and the non-human.