Het Nieuwe Instituut was part of the Porto Design Biennale 2021 (PDB’21) with For the Record: The Politics of Design in Music Video. The two-day programme of lectures and workshops took place on 23 and 24 July in Maus Hábitos and Casa da Arquitectura, reflecting on recent Portuguese music videos and addressing various themes relating to the role of design in music video productions.
As part of the satellite programme of Porto Design Biennale 2021 (PDB’21), For the Record presented a special two-day lecture and workshop programme.
On 23 July, the public event For the Record: The Politics of Design in Music Video invited artists, designers, filmmakers and the audience to reflect upon recent music videos by Portugese artists Vasco Mendes (music video and film director), Maria Reis (artist amd musician) and Sara Graça (artist and designer) from Cafetra Records, and Sreya (artist and musician). These videos will form the basis for a discussion on design strategies for staging realities, urban imaginaries and forms of representation, and how various music video formats engage audiences across platforms.
On 24 July, a workshop programme took place at Casa da Arquitectura in Matosinhos. The workshop invited artists, designers, researchers, musicians and other participants to discuss the role of design in music video productions through thematic lenses - staging realities, urban imaginaries, technologies of circulation - and to contribute to the online research platform fortherecord.video, to be launched later in 2021. For the first part of the workshop, an international group of researchers and For the Record contributors discussed a series of case studies remotely, after which participants were invited to develop new video playlists and make annotations to existing ones. With presentations by Rawad Baaklini, Erick Fowler, KM Works, Fope Ojo, Luisa Sol and Jordi Viader Guerrero.
Rita Moreira attended the visual arts high school at Escola Secundária Gama Barros, Cacém. When she was 19, she moved to Covilha, where she graduated in fashion design. In 2011, Sreya moved back to Lisbon, where she started to develop her artistic personality in a more independent and autodidactic way, always combining her practice with boring jobs to support her own way of living. After 10 years of working in ceramics, graffiti, painting, illustration, music, video, design and styling, she’s convinced that she still hasn’t explored all possible areas. Sreya is currently working on a new atelier at Associação Goela, where she develops her work both individually, as well as in collaboration with other members of the association.
Vasco Mendes was born in Porto in 1987. His work combines music, rhythm, architecture, and cinema. His strong connection with the musical universe has led him to create dozens of music videos for Portuguese bands such as Clã, Capicua, and White Haus, among many others. He also produces documentaries where the main theme is music, the city, and people, documenting subjects including albums, orchestras, religions, projects where music emerges as a unifying element for people of all ages, and documentary projects of urban art carried out across the country. He collaborated with the European Capitals of Culture of Guimarães and Malta together with Ondamarela and conductor Tim Steiner. His work has already led him to film in different countries such as Germany, Bulgaria, Poland, Malta, Hong Kong, the USA, China, and the UK.
Sara Graça is an interdisciplinary artist, navigating her practice in both individual and collaborative ways. She has shown her work in places like Sismógrafo, Madragoa, Galeria Quadrado Azul or Zé dos Bois, while also frequently working with musicians. Her most recent collaborations in this realm take the shape of music videos, stage installations, covers and merch design, with artists like Maria Reis, Gala Drop, Jejuno and Luar Domatrix. Graça is currently living in Lisbon, after having passed by Porto and London, where she maintains a fluid practice in mostly self-organised contexts.
Since the age of 15, Maria Reis has been a musician - composer, producer, guitar player, singer - and co-founder of the band Pega Monstro. Maria also runs the Portuguese label Cafetra Records. She launched her solo career in 2017 with the EP Maria, followed by her first LP called Chove na Sala, Água nos Olhos in 2019, which she performed at Culturgest in Lisbon. Her latest work is an EP produced by the musician Noah Lennox (aka Panda Bear) called A Flor da Urtiga (Cafetra Records, 2021).
For the Record
Since the early 1980s, when the US video channel MTV launched with Video Killed the Radio Star, the music video has been a controversial and transgressive medium, both affirming and questioning dominant forms of representation. Media platforms such as YouTube have brought a more diverse and complex audiovisual landscape: artists are not necessarily dependent on major labels for the production and distribution of videos, but rather work with independent teams of designers, directors, screenwriters, editors and cinematographers. Contemporary music videos both reinforce and challenge a dominant gaze, articulating questions around gender, race, class, power relations and political realities. While still being a promotional tool for artists, the music video also continues as a medium for experimental and critical practice. During the Covid-19 pandemic, while video platforms have ensured the continuation of gathering and communication outside our own domestic environments, DIY music videos and live-streamed concerts and Zoom parties such as Club Quarantine or Hometour have enabled forms of solidarity and collectivity across borders.
For the Record is a research project by Het Nieuwe Instituut. It investigates how contemporary music video culture operates as a public space for consumerism, activism and emancipation, by exposing realities and imagining alternatives. For the Record documents and reflects upon the technologies, spatial design and forms of representation deployed in music video and live events, using public programmes, video production and tools for annotation as the main methodology. The project engages with local and global issues and dimensions in video culture, involving a broad network of designers, architects, artists, filmmakers, musicians, choreographers, media producers, scholars, institutions and audiences.