Vera List Center Forum 2020: As for Protocols

Vera List Center Forum 2020: As for Protocols

Vera List Center for Art and Politics

IRL Black Womxn Temporal Portal, 2019. Photo: D1L0 DeMille.

September 22, 2020
Vera List Center Forum 2020: As for Protocols
October 6–10, 2020
Instagram / Twitter / Facebook

The Vera List Center is pleased to announce the Vera List Center Forum, an international, annual convening of artists, curators, and activists in the fields of art and politics and presented online from October 6 to 10. This year’s forum introduces the center’s new 2020–22 focus theme “As for Protocols” and over five days will highlight the Vera List Center’s vibrant and expanding fellowship program culminating with the announcement of the finalists for and recipient of the 2020–22 Jane Lombard Prize for Art and Social Justice. 

The Vera List Center Forum 2020 addresses protocols as the underrecognized structures determining urgent issues in technology, biopolitics, racial inequality, and land and water rights, and begins to chart the distinct curricular investigations that the center will develop over the next two years.

The Forum will serve as a platform to introduce the five VLC Fellows Carolina Caycedo (Colombia/Los Angeles), Etcétera (Buenos Aires), Maria Hupfield (Toronto), Adelita Husni Bey (Milan/New York), and Rasheedah Phillips (Philadelphia) as well as the finalists for and recipient of the 2020–22 Jane Lombard Prize for Art and Social Justice. Each day of the online forum will explore different socio-technical aspects of protocols as articulated in the work of artists, activists, and thinkers.

“What is it that silences some and elevates others?” asks Carin Kuoni, Senior Director of the VLC. “Why do some kneel and others stand? Protocols are at the heart of our engagement with the world, and while often obfuscated or invisible, they determine much of what we do. They are evidence of power, and thus provoke subversion and action. The VLC Forum 2020 launches two years of programming dedicated to protocols where outstanding thinkers and makers from all over the world will join our learning journey. We are thrilled to share this initial deep dive into thoughts, sights, and projects-in-progress.”

The Forum includes a series of discussions alongside performances, screenings, and readings. It begins on October 6 with a tribute to scholar, educator, curator, and New York Times columnist Maurice Berger (1956-2020), who was the first Vera List Center Fellow in 1993. Berger’s seminal contributions to the studies of race and representation will be illuminated by scholar Courtney Baker, Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie G. Bunch III, artist Nona Faustine, New York Times writer David Gonzalez, and scholar Sarah Lewis in a discussion moderated by curator Kinshasha Homan Conwill. It will include a protocol-directed performance by VLC Fellow Robert Sember as well as video tributes; a piano recital closes out the evening by VLC Fellow Sarah Rothenberg of Morton Feldman’s last composition, Palais de Mari, presented earlier this year and dedicated to Berger.

October 7 and 8 feature presentations and conversations with the 2020-2022 VLC Fellows and their guests: Carolina Caycedo with poet and MacArthur Fellow Natalie Diaz, Etcétera with scholar Jennifer Ponce de León, and Maria Hupfield with Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. Adelita Husni Bey will discuss her film and pedagogical work with Robert Sember, connecting that to her current research into decrees and the protocols of pandemics. Rasheedah Philips will talk about her work with Black Quantum Futurism and her research into the effects of time on Black Americans.

On October 9, writer, programmer, and scholar Alexander Galloway delivers the keynote lecture “The Computable and the Uncomputable” in which he revisits his groundbreaking 2004 book Protocol: How Control Exists after Decentralization

The Forum concludes on October 10 with What Protocols Are Needed Now?, a conversation with curators Ivet Curlin/WHW (Vienna/Zagreb), Natasha Ginwala (Berlin/Colombo), Candice Hopkins (Toronto), Shuddhabrata Sengupta (New Delhi), and activist Tamara Oyola-Santiago (New York), jurors of the 2020-2022 Jane Lombard Prize for Art and Social Justice, and the announcement of the recipient of the 2020-2022 Jane Lombard Prize for Art and Social Justice and the Jane Lombard Fellows with artists and activists gathering from around the world.

For more information, full program listings, and registration, visit

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Vera List Center for Art and Politics
September 22, 2020

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