Images Festival Research Forum 2021

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The animating concern for the 2021 edition of the Research Forum is decentralization, as method, as a practice of freedom in general. This thematic focus and its differing potentials will be explored across the festival through conversations, social media interventions, publications, and more.


Calls to decentre structures of cultural and political power have grown increasingly louder in the pandemic era, which has laid bare socio-economic rifts all over the world in a particularly urgent way. Principles of decentralization have been held up as utopic pillars in new forms of technology that promise liberated states of being in worlds both online and offline. Collective practices have gained renewed relevance in a hyper-competitive landscape exacerbated by the effects of neoliberal strategies in the creative industries. There are many paths to freedom. This multiplicity is at the heart of how we will engage with the idea and the promise of decentralization.

The Forum will be composed of collectives and collective-like bodies of individuals invited to deliver online talkback sessions on their practices and policies. This will be a key opportunity to meet and interact with some of the leading practitioners and theorists in their fields. These groups will also be invited to assemble playlists composed of the readings, songs, films, art, and other works that have influenced them in their ways of functioning and that help delineate the concept of decentralization as they understand it. After their participation in the Forum, the groups will be invited to provide key recommendations and practices, serving as tools that they would offer to anyone that may want to incorporate decentralized thinking and acting into their operations. The playlists, recommendations, and other outcomes of the sessions will be compiled into a Forum catalogue that will be made available in open access, documenting the joys and struggles that will be shared among participants, and hopefully taken out into the wider world long after the festival has closed.


This year’s Research Forum is open to all audience members. To register for the session(s) of your choice, please complete this survey.

Featured Guests:

  • Thursday May 20 - 12PM

    The Nest Collective is a multidisciplinary arts collective living and working in Nairobi. We are a collective with an intentionally decentralised practice. We are committed to all the pros and cons that come with working in this way: decentralising is costly on time, and is a tough thing to communicate outwardly because of the expectation that hierarchies exist. That being said, this process has been crucial to the making and release of work whose layers and richness would not have been possible without it. (Download Playlist)

  • Friday May 21 - 12PM

    The inaugural curatorial team for the Toronto Biennial of Art was assembled to work together on the first two editions, in 2019 and 2022. Between Biennials, Candice Hopkins, Clare Butcher, Katie Lawson, Myung-Sun Kim, and Tairone Bastien have come closer together as a collective, to think, listen, (un)learn, and move alongside one another, shaping and realizing a collective vision through the challenges of the global pandemic, political upheaval, and a climate crisis. As they breathe together, they conspire. So risky, in viral times, that “collective breath” creates a climate of its own, a curatorial ethics. Collectivity supports a modality through which the exhibitions and programming curators look to new forms of kinship—with one another, their collaborators, human and non-human—and to new ideas, beliefs, and perspectives. (Download Playlist)

  • Saturday May 22 - 12PM

    Founded in the Philippines in the early 2000s, Green Papaya Art Projects was born out of the need to create a platform for artists to do what they want, without the constraints of the market or the institutions. Until now, it endeavours to provide a platform for intellectual exchange, sharing of information, critical dialogue, and creative and practical collaboration among members of the artistic community both locally and abroad. The programs (projects, talks, screenings etc.) that it offers also widens the exposure of its visitors, as it covers perspectives that are not usually prioritized by art schools and other institutions. (Download Playlist)

  • Sunday May 23 - 12PM

    Founded in 1998, Chiapas Media Project (CMP)/Promedios was a bi-national collaboration that facilitated the production and distribution of video, radio, and multimedia through four regional media centres we built and equipped in collaboration with the Zapatista communities in Chiapas, Mexico. CMP/Promedios collaboratively produced 32 Indigenous and non-Indigenous documentaries for international distribution. Currently, CMP/Promedios is known as Promedios de Comunicación Comunitaria, a Mexican NGO based in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas. Promedios continues to work with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in Southern Mexico providing audiovisual training and technical support. (Download Playlist)

  • Monday May 24 - 12PM

    Forensic Architecture (FA) is a research agency, based at Goldsmiths, University of London, investigating human rights violations including violence committed by states, police forces, militaries, and corporations. FA works in partnership with institutions across civil society, from grassroots activists, to legal teams, to international NGOs and media organizations, to carry out investigations with and on behalf of communities and individuals affected by conflict, police brutality, border regimes, and environmental violence. Findings from FA’s investigations have been presented in national and international courtrooms, parliamentary inquiries, and exhibitions at some of the world’s leading cultural institutions and in international media, as well as in citizen’s tribunals and community assemblies. (Download Playlist)

  • Tuesday May 25 - 10AM

    The Kinomatics Project collects, explores, analyzes, and represents data about the creative industries. Our research is collaborative and interdisciplinary. Kinomatics is derived from the word Kinematics; the study of the geometry of motion, and Kino; the term meaning cinema in many countries. Kinomatics is therefore the study of the industrial geometry of motion pictures. The focus of Kinomatics has been extended further in our research to mean the study of the industrial geometry of culture. (Download Playlist)

  • Wednesday May 26 - 12PM

    Universe Contemporary is the premiere cryptomedia consultancy, building community and advising artists, collectors, and institutions. The consultancy curates unique interactive experiences and has special expertise in NFTs, blockchain technology, and decentralized systems. Founded by curator Lady Phe0nix. (Download Playlist)


Thursday, May 20, 2021 (All day) to Wednesday, May 26, 2021 (All day)



Thursday, May 20, 2021 (All day) to Wednesday, May 26, 2021 (All day)