Digital Reels: The museum on a keyboard and other stories

on/line in/video of/cinema





In this fourth and last episode revisiting maat Mode 2020, we look back at the newfound synergies that evolved during this pandemic year across the institutional ecosystem and the digital sphere – its transformed emergence as an active ground for engagement and participation.


From mere tech tools to contested public infrastructure: the surmounting events of political and social unrest around the globe have blurred the separation between online and off-line agency more evidently than in any other moment in recent history. It is this superlative scale of outpouring attempts at “feeling” connected, present, belonging, which unravelled across the digital world that made the experience of 2020 one of a new kind; the conceptual paradigms and technologies through which we understand, frame and experience the world irrevocably changed.


The resonant effects of physical removal have forced institutions like ours to substantiate more meaningfully their public interactions in terms of digital outreach and articulate new conduits of exploration and critique around an expanding cognitive understanding of our common present across all spheres of collective participation, physical or otherwise.


Our most laborious accomplishment to this extent has been the launch of maat ext. (extended) in mid-September, an expanded realm of production, research and dialogue where we are experimenting with a variety of collaborators on how we can support inspired forms of living an AFK (away from keyboard) cultural life and one “on it”.


We have endeavoured through 8 weeks of the maat Mode Digital programming during the spring months of global lockdown with newly produced contents; we have experimented with creative and collective writing and in this effort to respond productively and creatively to the challenges of reduced traffic in our spaces, we have been overwhelmed by the inextinguishable energy of all the contributors that had to transform or adapt programmess for a digital form of development and fruition.


From intense laboratories of cross-disciplinary study and co-creation (Truth Tellers by IN Residence; Disturbing Conservation), screening programmes and festivals (Cao Guimarães, Milano Design Film Festival, Fuso) experimental commissions in video, images and sounds (James Ferraro, Carlos Casas, People Like Us, Diogo Passarinho to name a few) – all these have been egregious opportunities to remain alert, immersed and captivated by the unending source of exhilarating invention that is our collective tuning into the next frame of reality.


Stay with us in the post-2020. Away-from or on a keyboard, the museum is always “live”.


Beatrice Leanza

maat Director




Video by Joana Fatela.

maat Mode 2020 was an experimental participatory public programme, presented as an open-ended exercise in interrogating the role of cultural institutions in society and prototyping the future museum.