The almanac was invented in the Middle Ages as an annual publication similar to our calendar, but with additional information, such as astronomical indications, the times of rising and setting of the sun and the moon, maps and statistics. Why did you choose such a reference for the name of your project space? Is it related to an endorsement of traditionalism?
The original source of the name comes from a song by the Kinks, ‘Autumn Almanac’, which is something of a satire of British society. The tradition of producing almanacs can be found all over the world, and is specific to the culture in which it is made. It is a tradition that is constantly reinterpreted, as there are agricultural almanacs, film almanacs and even comic almanacs, and in a way our programme is another take on what the almanac could be. It is a rich history to build upon, as many almanacs are visually characteristic. Besides this, an almanac had a very specific relationship to temporality, because it is a forecast of the year to come, as well as an annual review. When starting out on this project, on of the main things we wanted to think about was how to think of curating not only in relation to space, but also in relation to time. Each exhibition and publication we produce becomes part of an almanac of our collective experience and collaborations.
Almanac was founded by Astrid Korporaal, Francesca von Zedtwitz-Arnim and Guido Santandrea. How did you guys meet?
We met at Goldsmiths College in 2011. All three of us were following an MA in the Visual Cultures department and we came together through common interests in self-organization and a desire to experiment with different curatorial concepts, to engage directly with an audience and to create the time and space to enter into a dialogue with artists.
The titles of some exhibitions that you hosted are: Poems, Postscript (ps. I love you) and Evolution & Comfort. Is there any connection between the concept of all these projects thats is linked to your personal idea of life?
The titles of the exhibitions were all related to their specific content, and so far the shows we have put on have been quite diverse in their aesthetics and the issues they deal with. This is something we do consciously, because being a young project space we have the freedom to experiment. Looking back perhaps you could say that each of the exhibitions deals with a particular kind of being-in the world, a state of engagement with the surroundings, both in terms of time and space.
If you could define Almanac in an unconventional way, for instance thinking of a painting, what would you say?
The metaphor of an almanac works quite well to describe our work. We all come from different countries, backgrounds and fields of research, but these come together in a programme which reflects our take on the art we see and interact with, and the way we see art relating to the world around.
Alexandra Ferreira and Bettina Wild will set up the next exhibition in Almanac Projects.
Could you tell us more about it?
Alexandra Ferreira (Portugal) and Bettina Wild (Germany) are an artist duo based in Berlin, who have been in residence at Gasworks for the past months. We are working with them at Almanac for the upcoming show in June, which will be related to the research they have been doing about Brazilian musicians Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, who were in exile in London during the 70’s and were involved in the Tropicalia movement, developing in Brazil at the time. Their project revolves around the question of what it means to be creating work for a distant public, and also how popular representations of what the Tropicalia movement constituted were representations of what the Tropicalia movement constituted were formed outside of South America. Juxtaposing the different modes of production that take part of these processes, the exhibition they are developing will try to destabilize the idea of a past that can be located, by developing different pockets in space and time through each work.
You talked about the collaboration you’re organizing with Cripta 747, “Taxi”. This project counts on your widespread geographic network, with collaborators in Beirut, London, Turin, Paris, Los Angeles and Mexico City. What is it about?
T-A-X-I is a platform devoted to research and exchange among curators, artists and institutions. The idea is to create a curatorial board, bringing together diverse professional experiences to work towards a specific knowledge of the Italian context in the arts. From the 20th to 27th of May 2013, T-A-X-I will be hosted by Almanac Projects, 55 Dalston Lane E8 2NG London, where a series of screenings, workshops, performances and interventions will be presented.