Freedom Practices

Visions of a world in various states of emergency



maat mode 2020: The wrap-up — Episode 3

We got closer, as we fell apart. 

2020 has been a characteristic year of great escalations, a time when vocabularies of urgency calling for a reformulation of meaningful co-existence have largely signified the same thing for most people around the globe. Togetherness, inclusion, emancipation, equality – they have vividly mutated from ideological sentiments to lived experiences of communal empathy on a world-expanse. 

Revisiting what it means to practice freedom nowadays in face of such escalations – of violence, mistrust but also of newfound solidarity across cultural, gender and age groups of differing histories and geographies  – was the subject of a series of multidisciplinary projects during maat Mode 2020.

We spoke of the condition of women, racial discrimination, politics of labour and the body, bringing focus to the under-explored tenets of colonial history through an expanse of territories ranging from South Africa, Mali, Tanzania, Luanda to Santa Lucia, and through local urban contexts where racial violence and discrimination remain still superficially addressed (“and I am sparse in dense fluidity” – Gestures of Freedom, aka known as the BUALA cycle, curated by Marta Lança; MAKA Lisboa by Francisco Vidal, or the Terra Irada series of conversations). 

This was an important step for the museum to solicit new forms of support and expand outreach to local communities and contextual debates that touch upon processes of decolonialisation, cultural and political activism, as much as an exercise to explore and unveil voices of resistance purported by artists in countries where democratic gestures of freedom have been acutely decurted in recent years like in Brazil (Essa palavra presa na garganta film cycle).

Through the evolution of musical genres, politically inflected forms of documentary making and artistic practice, to communitarian programs motivated by a desire to rekindle our civic identities to always expanding and transforming meanings of collectivity, these projects have helped the museum open up new avenues of experience and dialogue that it will certainly aim to keep fostering.

Thank you, to all those that taught us how to.


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.