October 14, 2020

The launch of a new syndicated blog: Beyond the Now

In a time of ongoing uncertainty, Counterpoints Arts is delighted to launch Beyond the Now with our partners in the Mozilla Festival, CREATE, The Open University, co-culture, Plymouth College of Art and Ettijahat. Beyond the Now explores – through the prism of socially engaged art practice – the inequalities and fault lines exposed by COVID-19, and what community and social justice might look like in this new reality. 

Beyond the Now is a future-facing, collaboratively curated space for critical thought and imagining not limited to writing and including video, image essay, interview and other digital formats. Intentionally designed in the form of a syndicated platform, Beyond the Now works horizontally to co-curate, cross-sector conversations and exchange between people, projects and local and global, social change organisations.

Offering surprising and challenging juxtapositions of thought, practice and action, one of the aims of Beyond the Now is to become a ‘parallel institution’ (de Sousa Santos), informed by different forms of knowledge and creative, practical interventions. Contributions produced from a variety of contexts, including, for example, the grassroots of refugee camps and routes of displacement, to housing estates and local neighbourhoods, through to the arts together with education and across the fields of health, economics, advocacy and the intersections of racial, social and environmental justice.

Our collective aim is to listen and learn from the many experiences and insights of different social actors at this critical moment, to share content and resources and to move beyond our relative (even if well-meaning) ‘silos’. One of the key questions to animate this project is ‘where and what is the social in a post-pandemic world?’

We launch the first Season of Beyond the Now with the personal and political voice of Ashish Ghadiali in his piece ‘The Age of Uncertainty’ reflecting on the edges of identity and the promise of a planetary humanism, despite or even through the pandemic; a critical tour, ‘Artists’ Responses to Covid-19’ by Gregory Sholette, through a series of site-specific, socially engaged practice projects far flung between Palestine to Venice and places in-between; and a reflection by Jeanne van Heeswijk ‘How we are preparing for the not-yet’ on the delicate balance between individual desires, collective imagining and deep collaboration in the places that we live in.

With more blogs to come in November and December 2020, and as we wind our way into 2021, we hope that Beyond the Now can become an open platform for a form of social practice solidarity, the bartering of fresh ideas and the nurturing of a renewed sense of hope for the present and the near future.