https://www.maat.pt/en

Despite the initial controversy about the museum’s futuristic look, I feel it blends quite well with the surroundings.

MAAT is a part of the EDP Foundation and does not have a permanent exhibition, this last sunday the 25th, I got to see the instalment by Bill Fontana, “Shadow Soundings”, and “Tension & Conflict Video Art After 2008” with pieces by several artists.

Bill Fontana’s instalment blends live streaming, sound, and footage of the river to create an immersive environment. It can easily invite reflection about how the bridge, the MAAT Building and the river coexist.

The larger exhibit is “Tension & Conflict” and it’s packed with works around the social and political tension we live in. From “Casus Belli” (cause for war) where Greek artist Yorgo Zois builds a metaphor regarding the economic. crisis and its consequences, to Blacktivist a work that puts the spotlight in the American culture and right to free speech, and bear arms for self defence.

Two other works put emphasis in the rise of violence between law enforcement and citizens. In one, Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” song is shown with people dancing and is progressively replaced with violent footage from political demonstrations. Another, titled “This Lemon Tastes Of Apple” refers to the smell of tear gas and is a documentary of the demonstrations against the Kurdish government.

Not knowing what the demonstration is about only multiplies it’s emotional charge. In fact, the mix of sounds and images made me feel uncomfortable. Guess that was the point.

A friend once told me “I don’t think you care much about the problems of the world.” Thinking back, I am not sure if she meant me or western Europeans in general. Either way, “Tension & Conflict” did bring me a different perspective on those issues and their ripple effect.

Will MAAT’s next exhibition be worth a visit? Yes, definitely.

Museum Art Architecture Technology

Disclaimer: As I write this, I work for the EDP Group, yet the views expressed are my own.