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Antoni Muntadas: About Academia I-II, an Online Interpretation, 2011-2017 (2021)

by Richard Meckien - published Apr 29, 2021 01:55 PM - - last modified Jun 17, 2021 11:35 AM
Rights: All rights reserved to Fórum Permanente.

Visit the exhibition's website here

Exposição "Sobre Academia", de Antoni Muntandas
Video installation ''About Academia," by Antoni Muntadas, in 2017

Based on his experience in American higher education, artist Antoni Muntadas inaugurates in Brazil an online interpretation of "About Academia." The project discusses the role and function of universities today, the place of art in this context, the relationship between public and private, tradition and contemporaneity, the future of universities and interdisciplinarity, based on interviews with professors and students.

"About Academia," a project originally presented at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, invited by Harvard University, during Antoni Muntadas' last teaching period in the program in Art, Culture and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (ACT MIT), in 2011, followed in different versions to cities like Boston, Vancouver, Amsterdam, Seville, among others.

The Brazilian version of the video installation "About Academia," which at first would occupy the Biblioteca Brasiliana at the University of São Paulo's (USP) Butantã Campus in São Paulo, translates as another work of the multimedia artist and professor, by creating a digital interpretation of the original installation, developed as a website, which can be accessed from April 30 at For the first time it is being shown in Latin America, with all its materials translated into Portuguese, in a bilingual version (Spanish), through a partnership between the Fórum Permanente, the Instituto de Estudos Avançados at USP, and the Biblioteca Brasiliana José and Guita Mindlin, with the support of the Government of the State of São Paulo, through the Secretariat of Culture and Creative Economy, and the Cultural Action Program (PROAC).

"About Academia" provokes a reflection through art about the American academic and university system, more specifically about the public/private duality, as well as the complex relationships that exist between the production of knowledge and the economic interests that influence education in its different forms of pedagogy. Muntadas' video installation considers the possible conflict between a faculty (and its values) and an administration (and its power). In order to have a fruitful circulation of the project in universities outside the US, Muntadas proposes round table discussions that contextualize the conflicts and difficulties peculiar to the university system that hosts it, confronting it with other models in different contexts and cultures.

Croqui para videoinstalação "About Academia"
Sketch by Antoni Muntadas for the video installation ''About Academia''

The project is composed of two sets of screenings and publications. While "About Academia I" (2011) addresses these issues from the perspective of professors and academics, "About Academia II" (2017) delves into its themes exclusively from the students' point of view. Due to the pandemic of COVID-19, the first exhibition of this project in the Southern Hemisphere takes place through a virtual room, on a website where it is also possible to access the three roundtables that take place on April 30 and May 10, and where two bilingual publications are available with the complete transcripts of the speeches of the interviewees, among them Noam Chomsky, David Harvey, Carol Becker, Ute Meta Bauer, and the students.

The creation of the immersive, online, interactive video installation gives prominence to the two sets: "About Academia I" (2011) and "About Academia II" (2017). It thus respects the duration of the times of the videos originally developed by the artist for their existence in a real physical space.  Thus, despite the interactivity of navigation, it is not possible for the visitor to control the projected videos. The aesthetic experience in virtuality therefore has correspondence with the real time of the analog exhibition space.


The publications in Spanish and Portuguese versions are partially available on the exhibition site. In order to have full access, it is necessary to buy them for a symbolic price. The link for this purchase is through the exhibition site.

Round tables

The round tables will be broadcasted in the exhibition site and will be available later on this site and in the sites of the partners (IEA-USP, Biblioteca Brasiliana and Fórum Permanente).

Which university do we want? | Watch the recorded event

Friday, April 30th, from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm (Brasília time)

  • Néstor Garcia Canclini - anthropologist, philosopher, chair holder at IEA-USP

  • Eliana Sousa Silva - educator, socio-cultural activist, former chair former at IEA-USP

  • Macaé Evaristo - educator, former State Secretary of Minas Gerais

  • Ailton Krenak - philosopher, environmentalist, indigenous leadership

  • Antoni Muntadas - artist

  • Martin Grossmann (moderation)


Intercontinental academy | Watch the recorded event

Monday, May 10, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm (Brasilia time)

  • Nikki Moore - art historian - Wake Forest University (ICA-UBIAS)

  • Érica Peçanha - anthropologist and post-doctorate at the IEA-USP

  • David Gange - historian - Birmingham University (ICA-UBIAS)

  • Julia Buenaventura - art historian - Universidad de los Andes

  • Mariko Murata - media and museum theorist - Kansai University

  • Martin Grossmann (moderation)


University and context | Watch the recorded event

Monday, May 10, from 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm (Brasilia time)

  • Naomar de Almeida Filho - epidemiologist, former dean of UFBA, professor of IEA-USP

  • Helena Nader - biomedical sciences, vice-president of ABC, Chair at IEA-USP

  • Guilherme Wisnik - architect, curator, professor at FAU-USP

  • Renato Janine Ribeiro (moderation) - philosopher, former Minister of Education (FFLCH-USP)


Antoni Muntadas (1942, Barcelona, Spain - lives and works in New York)

Antoni Muntadas - 2017
Antoni Muntadas during his conference at the IEA in 2017

He studied at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Industriales in Barcelona and at the Pratt Graphic Center in New York. A pioneer in the use of video since the mid-seventies, his production has expanded to the use of various plastic languages, media, and supports, with intervention in public space being one of his most radical forms of cultural criticism.

Muntadas is an artist and teacher of proven recognition, having been invited to give courses, workshops and lectures in several of the most important art schools and museums in the world, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology - School of Architecture in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he taught the discipline 'Seminar on Public Art' (early 2001); he is a regular lecturer at Cornell University Seminars in the program 'Dialogues Art and Architecture' (early 2006) and professor at the IUAV Venice, Italy, (early 2004). His work has been exhibited all over the world, in events such as the Venice Biennale (1976) where later in 2005 he occupied the entire Spanish pavilion; the Kassel Documenta (VI and X Editions); the 16th São Paulo Biennale and the Havana and Lyon Biennales. He has exhibited, among others, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Berkeley Art Museum in California, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, and the MACBA in Barcelona. He is considered the father of Spanish and defines himself as 'a translator of images of what is happening in the contemporary world'.

He has received numerous grants and awards, such as the 2005 National Prize of Plastic Arts, granted by the Ministry of Culture of Spain for his artistic trajectory and for being one of the most innovative artists of the Spanish panorama. Antoni Muntadas also has a long history of dialogue with South America, especially Brazil, a country that has been home to his work since the late sixties and where he has held exhibitions and taught courses in museums, biennials and institutions, including as a guest of the Department of Fine Arts at the School of Communications and Arts, USP, in 1996, 1987 and 1992. Among the lectures given in other institutions in Brazil, the highlights are those at the University of Brasilia in 2002 and 2003, at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Niterói in 2001, and at the public art event 'Artecidadezonaleste' in 1999, where he also developed an artistic proposal. He is an artist represented by Galeria Luisa Strina where, since 1970, he exhibits regularly.

Fórum Permanente

Fórum Permanente (FP) is a floating and ubiquitous platform for research, criticism, action / cultural mediation and cultural memory, acting, nationally and internationally, at different levels of the contemporary art and culture system. It has established itself in this scenario as a cultural interface, which constitutes itself, in a hybrid and simultaneous way, as an agora, a museum-laboratory, a multimedia magazine, a library, a living archive. In its national and international reference site <>, the FP, besides keeping the memory of the actions already carried out and in progress, hosts research projects in art and culture, makes available information and the memory of undergraduate and graduate courses in the area, dossiers from cultural institutions and organizations, as well as interviews and meetings held by its team and partners. The site's content is published under a free license, allowing full accessibility to its rich collection as well as reproduction for non-commercial purposes.

Brasiliana Guita and José Mindlin Library

Opened to the public in 2013, the Brasiliana Guita e José Mindlin Library (BBM) is an organ of the Pró-Reitoria de Cultura e Extensão Universitária of the University of São Paulo (USP). It was created in January 2005 to house and integrate the Brasiliana collection gathered over more than eighty years by bibliophile José Mindlin and his wife Guita. With its expressive set of books and manuscripts, the brasiliana collection assembled by Guita and José Mindlin is considered the most important collection of its kind formed by private individuals. There are about 32 thousand titles that correspond to 60 thousand volumes, approximately. Part of the donated collection belonged to bibliophile and librarian Rubens Borba de Moraes, in whom José Mindlin recognized "a kind of older brother", owner of "a love for books and reading very similar to mine". The library formed by José Mindlin throughout his life was organized in four main thematic areas: Brazilian issues, literature in general, art books, and books as art objects due to their typography, layout, illustration, binding, etc. The collection donated to USP in 2006 remains a living library, according to José Mindlin's ideals, acquiring new titles and collections that dialogue with the initial sections of the collection, gathering material about Brazil or that, having been written and/or published by Brazilians, are important to the understanding of the country's history and culture.


Antoni Muntadas: About Academia I-II, an Online Interpretation, 2011-2017 (2021)

From April 30 to October 31, 2021

Culturator: Martin Grossmann (Fórum Permanente-FP)

Executive production (Brazil): Diego Kerchove (FP)

Executive production (Spain): Andrea Nacach

Digital project: Arthur Lauriano do Carmo (coordination - FP)

Design: Arthur Lauriano do Carmo (FP) and Raul Luna

Programming: Marcela Mancino