Materia Abierta
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Materia Abierta is an independent summer program on theory, art, and technology based in Mexico City. It focuses on the study of the social, political, and philosophical impacts of digital media from both a global and local perspective. Conceived as a space to reflect on the ethics of the present and future, the program aims to address the influence of dominant powers on cultural production and to favor marginal forms of knowledge. Materia Abierta is also a flexible prototype of itself. It is a changing platform for researching and articulating methods for learning beyond the limitations of traditional educational structures.
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Summer 2019
The inaugural edition of Materia Abierta, Novo Pan Klub, will take place from August 5 to 26, 2019. It is curated by Natalia Zuluaga and developed with the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in coordination with Cultura UNAM, the Programa de Arte, Ciencia y Tecnologías (ACT), and Cátedra Max Aub en arte y tecnología. Activities will be held at Casa Universitaria del Libro (CASUL) and at Casa del Lago Juan José Arreola.
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Novo Pan Klub
Novo Pan Klub will bring theorists and artists from different fields together to consider a contemporary crisis of imagination. The program will reanimate Argentinian artist Xul Solar’s Pan Klub. This “universal club,” initiated in 1939 in Buenos Aires, was conceived as a “collective seánce” of minds and ludic ideas. The Pan Klub emerged from Solar's expansive intellectual undertakings, which were guided by a coded pattern of reconfiguration, revision, and rupture. Solar’s paintings, languages, games, and utopian futures represent the artist’s continuous search for the frontier of reality, and it is in the spirit of this pursuit—not the deciphering of his visions—with which the Novo Pan Klub engages. Over the course of three weeks, the program will serve as an epistemic and political space from which new tools for the creation of meaning may emerge. The sessions in this edition will be led by contributors from diverse fields of knowledge and praxis, including Black studies, Indigenous worldviews, queer and feminist practices, critical and philosophical computation, design, and environmental justice.

This call to awaken the collective imagination of the Pan Klub comes at a moment in which even the predictive and generative capacities of images and discourses seem to foreclose any way out of contemporary regimes of oppression. In addition, while the contemporary power of computation allows for the construction and distribution of innumerable simulations that offer convenient ways to perceive the world, these programs and systems only respond to their own design and training logics. The feedback tightening loop between media, knowledge, lived experience, and the environment, moreover, is not merely a concern for today. The future is trapped in an endless financialized exchange with the present; a loop that all but guarantees that the inequality, detention, and violence enacted upon racialized and marginalized bodies will endure. In considering the representational, structural, and technical problems posed by economic precarity, climate emergencies, racial injustice, and algorithmic dominance—to name only a few—Novo Pan Klub works toward collectively conjuring insurrectionary and perhaps even emancipatory language and imaginaries. The demand for new paradigms is particularly pronounced in Mexico, where a significant political transition has taken place and flows of power are not easily extractable from corruption and organized crime. With these landscapes in mind, Novo Pan Klub participants will consider with which knowledges and networks art and technology must begin to collaborate in order to force open new future-presents. The program intends to realize—and not only to serve as—a bridge between the world in front of us and those which remain unseen, occult, and yet to emerge.
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Materia Abierta is an intensive program that takes place every summer in Mexico City. Organized with varying collaborators and institutional alliances, each iteration is distinct in both topic and format. Over the course of the program, approximately twenty-five participants work with a group of local and international faculty. Activities include public lectures and discussions, reading seminars, technical workshops, and critiques, as well as satellite events, such as studio visits, field trips, film screenings, and concerts, within Mexico City and its surroundings.

In addition to the dialogue and speculation instigated through group activities, individual work is also encouraged. Materia Abierta seeks to aid the development of aesthetic and poetic undertakings as well as technical and strategic propositions in response to specific issues. The program urges participants to advance artistic projects that offer not only symbolic gestures but also operational capacities.
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Materia Abierta invites applications from artists, authors, and researchers based anywhere in the world whose work engages critical and unconventional practices. Successful applicants will demonstrate an investment in fields of study related to contemporary art and critical theory, including but not limited to the visual arts, philosophy, curatorial studies, digital media, design, architecture, film, and creative writing. The program encourages students and alumni of graduate and postgraduate programs in these and related fields to apply, but an academic degree is not a prerequisite for acceptance. Materia Abierta prioritizes the participation of applicants who identify as part of a group or groups that are disadvantaged within the arts, including women, Indigenous people, people of African descent, members of the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities, and others.
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Materia Abierta is a non-profit project. The cost of participation decreases as external economic support is obtained. The current fee is $1,500 dollars. This fee includes all scheduled activities but does not cover lodging, transportation, and other personal expenses. The program will offer a limited number of partial scholarships for Mexican applicants and for candidates based on economic need. If you wish to be considered for such support, please express it in your statement of interest when applying.
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The application is open from April 22 to June 15, 2019. Those interested should email a PDF (10MB max) to with the subject line “Application 2019.” The document should include the following materials:

1. Resume or short bio (1-3 pages)
2. Statement of interest (500 words)
3. 3-5 work samples
4. Copy of identification

Work samples should be recent and should demonstrate relevance to the topics to be discussed during the 2019 program. They may include images and texts, as well as links to websites, videos, and/or audio-based works.
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Federico Pérez Villoro
Founder and director

Natalia Zuluaga
Curator of the 2019 edition

Cinthya García Leyva
Planning coordinator

Eva Posas
Local program coordinator

Eduardo Makoszay
Logistics coordinator

Ana Rivera
Participation coordinator

The website design and programming are based on a proposal template for the website of Forensic Architecture, designed by Dexter Sinister, 2018
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Mailing list
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