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Friday 6 November 2020
Institute of Contemporary Arts
March 2023

As the second lockdown begins, we awake once again to a global reality that violates the values we share, stand for and strive to spread.

Four years ago, while camping out at a friend’s place in Brooklyn, I woke up in disbelief to the 2016 US election results. Later that morning I met members of the  MTL+ Collective at Artists Space Books & Talks. I’ll never forget sitting in a circle with them, a circle that grew bigger and bigger during the course of the morning – as did the tears, the angst and the pain, as people talked about their fears of deportation and potentially losing life-saving healthcare. Both the last four years and the past 72 hours have shown us that such fears have become part of our daily reality, but we must never let them become our normality.

I booked my flight to London to join the Institute of Contemporary Arts exactly four years ago. I remember thinking: Is this what society has come to – a world caught between Trump and Brexit? The situation continues to require all of us to collectively think through some of the conditions that structure our thinking, our behaviour, our work, and to further evolve ourselves, our reach and our organisations.
As I did back then, I continue to believe the ICA can be an institution that makes sense of our contemporary predicament by daring to experiment, serving as a forum for new ideas, and applying those ideas to our own structures and actions. In this way we might stand as a living testimony to how things can be done differently – that, indeed, a different world is possible.
Stay safe!
Stefan Kalmár


Archival Encounters
I’m really pleased to be taking part in this online series that fosters a dialogue between African diaspora studies, postcolonial studies, archival theory, and artistic research to consider the limitations and possibilities of engaging with colonial archives in the cultural present. Curated by Daniela Agostinho, the series runs on through to December and features Hazel Carby, Katherine McKittrick, Cynthia Oliver, Deborah Thomas, and the Virgin Islands Studies Collective.

Mykki Blanco: I Want a Dyke for President
This text, originally written in 1992 by artists Zoe Leonard in celebration of poet Eileen Myles’s ‘openly female’ presidential bid that same year, then released as a video by Adinah Dancyger starring American rapper, performance artist, poet and activist Mykki Blanco for the 2016 US election, is as relevant today as it was back then.

Cyberpunk: The Documentary
This early 1990’s delve into the origins of sci-fi tracks its influences from literature to gaming, including early AR, VR and The Matrix, with Neuromancer author William Gibson and others.


Matt Williams & Mobbs: A4503.17.08.20
A4503.17.08.20 is a collaborative sound work that portrays the urban topography of the Coventry ring road (A4053). It presents a textured sonic print of the site through sparse, ghostly field recordings and historical media footage.


Gianfranco Rosi: A Cinematic Journey into the Real
This is an essay I wrote to contextualize the seminal works of American-Italian filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi. From his debut Boatman (1993) to the recent Venice film festival premiere of Notturno (2020), Rosi’s distinct body of work demonstrates his deep interest in the cinema of the real and ongoing search for new cinematic languages. In 2017 we presented Of Places and Encounters, a complete retrospective of Rosi’s works with the director in attendance, along with a series of  in-depth conversations. The 2020 edition of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA), which takes place online at the end of November, will present Rosi as a guest of honour and screen all his films.

Track of the Day

James Blake: Barefoot In The Park feat. Rosalía (2019)

Agujerito del cielo
Cuelando el brillo de Dios
Un rayo cayó en tus ojo’
Y me partió el corazón
Agujerito del cielo
Díctame por dónde ir
Para yo no equivocarme
Y así ver mi porvenir

When you’re done with me
I see a negative space
What you’ve done for me
You need to lose someday
Who needs to pray?
Who needs balance? I’ll see you every day

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