The Selected Mentees 2020

Announcing the Six Projects of Forecast’s Fifth Edition

For the first time since the program’s inauguration in 2015, the Forecast Forum took place digitally rather than as a physical event in Berlin.

The mentors and nominees in Forecast’s fifth edition worked together remotely since May, and the fruits of this extended period of mentorship for all 18 nominated projects were shared with the public in a three-day digital Forum livestreamed online October 29–31.

Each mentor has now selected one project to continue to accompany to its completion. The final six productions will be shared with the public at the Forecast Festival in April 2021, at radialsystem in Berlin.

Forecast’s artistic director Freo Majer said: "In this year’s Forecast Forum, the participants, along with their mentors, tackled the challenge of how to transform elaborate and rich proposals—which were supposed to be presented in a physical form, using space, immersive sound, and the interaction with an audience—into something that fits into a digital display. It was impressive to witness how these incredible nominees neither downsized nor simplified their work, but actually used the disruption of the current pandemic to reflect on their work afresh. The outcome of this six-month-long process tells us a lot about their resilience, unshakable inventiveness and energy, and the social relevance of what they have to say."

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Cooking for Change

Chef Manu Buffara will mentor Venezuelan artist Andrea Nones-Kobiakov, whose project Whatever That Ground May Be reflects on displacement and comfort through the materiality of food and ingredients. Buffara says, "I believe that food, and our relationship to it, can change the world. I believe that we need to understand the processes that go into growing and producing food, and connect again with the land. We need to cook again—and be happy to do that. It has been a pleasure to get to know all three nominees and see a future generation that shares these same values. Andrea’s project in particular embodies many of these things. Originally from Venezuela, and having moved around a lot as a child, Andrea is now based in Mexico. She looks at recipes and ingredients that connect her with her family heritage and trigger memories through the sense of smell and taste. She then grows whatever elements of the recipes she can successfully cultivate in her rooftop garden, and reinterprets the recipes in a way that captures the flavors of her childhood."

Curating as Unearthing

Curator and museum director Koyo Kouoh will accompany Nigerian food explorer Ozoz Sokoh as she continues to unearth the legacy of West African culinary excellence from the fifteenth century through the transatlantic slave trade in her project Coast to Coast: From West Africa to the World. Kouoh says, "As a primal artistic expression, the narratives of culinary practices continue to be undervalued and tokenized in the context of contemporary art. I select Ozoz Sokoh as she continues to dig and connect culinary histories of the Black experience in the framework of her long-term, expansive research, for the bold and fresh ways in which it advances the knowledge of and recognition for a culturally defining legacy that has been invisibilized for the longest time. Yet its story is at the root of modern culinary practices, food ways, and politics of taste that pretty much shape Black identity on both sides of the Atlantic."

Dissecting Technocapitalism

Writer and researcher Evgeny Morozov has chosen to work with PostRational on their research project around Cyber-Waste, a neologism that describes both eWaste, the physical refuse of dead or redundant electronic goods; and digital detritus, the materiality of digital infrastructure and the digital economy. Morozov says, "At a time when the pandemic has revealed just how vulnerable we are and how misguidedly we have gone about setting our priorities, Dan Gavshon-Kirkbride and James Pockson, through PostRational, have trailblazed a unique approach to an issue that is long overdue for both theorizing and taking on empirically: cyber-waste. They have shown both enviable analytical rigor and flexibility in approaching this challenging issue. Their work promises to put this extremely important but still mostly invisible subject at the center of our intellectual and policy agenda." 

Resistance Through Duration

Artist Markus Öhrn has selected  the duo Only Game in Town—Louise Pons and Mirjam Schaal—and their project LD50: Der Vorkoster. Öhrn says, “Only Game in Town’s dystopian, disturbing, surreal, strange, unpredictable, and yet realistic project evolves around the high-tech company LD50, which has the solution for our overpopulated world: shrinking people to the size of a pill, which is then swallowed by a person chosen as the Vorkoster. By letting us, the audience, witness the three nominees’ lives inside the Vorkoster’s stomach, Only Game in Town are addressing topics relevant to the here and now. How shall we deal with overpopulation when we‘re using too many resources for Mother Earth to survive? I am very interested in seeing how the three characters inside the Vorkoster’s stomach deal with each other and the lot they‘ve been dealt. Will the strongest survive or will they stick together as a group? Will there be a leader? Will anyone be excluded? What happens when they run out of sustenance or if someone catches a virus? In times when our world is experiencing a pandemic, with closed borders, lockdowns, and our solidarity with others at stake, I am very much looking forward to mentoring this project.  I am also fascinated and impressed by the duo’s DIY aesthetics and the unique universe they evoke, which somehow feels closer to reality than reality itself. It strikes me as a fresh breeze in our overproduced and polished art world, where we have lost contact with our inner chaos.”

Future Traditions in Music

Composer and performer Du Yun will continue mentoring Dutch-American musician and researcher Jonathan Reus, whose project Celestial Fruit on Earthly Ground points at the rich cultural networks that musical instruments embody. Du Yun says, “I had the great honor to work with all four fellows for the past five months. Each of them and their three projects have equally challenged me. Late last night, I finally made the decision to choose Jonathan Reus’s research to be my year-long mentee project. This transformative, shapeshifting work could be an inviting platform for encouraging a new model of ethnomusicology and storytelling, by way of micro-commissioning and directing funding back to the community. And in particular, because of the inherently complex and challenging topics it touches upon, this project needs the most mentorship from a framework that Forecast could provide. In the current cultural climate, knowledge-sharing allows for new models of deep collaboration. Emphasizing cultural and socio-economic dialogues, this project will engage a wide network of people—lifting within and across communities to ignite and pursue impactful changes rooted in very difficult, complicated, and formidable dynamics that our current world desperately needs to address.”

Still Images, Loud Voices

Photographer and filmmaker Tobias Zielony has chosen to work with Nigerian artist Adéola Ọlágúnjú, whose ongoing project Born Throw Way! explores the subculture, counterculture, and minority variants  of loosely organized gangs of young men known as Area Boys in Lagos, Nigeria, and the structures that sustain them. Zielony said, “I wish I could continue to work with all three nominees. The last months were a privilege, a lot of fun, and a wonderful learning experience for me. I choose Adéola as the future mentee because her project Born Throw Way!—which is produced in collaboration with a group of Area Boys in Lagos—is captivating in its emotional closeness to her collaborators and the sense of urgency and volatility that it evokes. I look forward to exchanging ideas with her and exploring the ways in which this body of work can develop further and benefit from the mentorship program.”

Forecast would like to thank all participants in this year’s edition.