Or: how things will straighten themselves out
Saturday October 30th 2010
Art becomes relevant to society the moment insights, truths, forms of expression are transmitted outside the own group. Just as it does today, in 2208, MAMA aims to be an arbitrator, determining which forms of art, which creative expressions are allowed to proceed to the second round.
It consequently ventures into the area between opinions, taste and facts: this is good; this isn't. The domain of art plays out between what is found in the head (stomach) and what is found beyond; a confrontation with reality. You relate to art by finding out whether what is offered has anything to do with you. Art is important in this respect and it is for this reason - and no other - that it needs to be defended. The (young) audience recognises itself in these efforts, participates or at the very least thinks along with us.

In 2208 too, MAMA is a platform for visual culture on the interface of the visual arts, subcultures and popular culture and serves as a home base for the latest generation of image-makers, artists and urbanites. In 2208, it is approachable, in front of and behind the scenes. The audience can easily become a co-creator by teaming up with us, the 'believers'.

Of course, selective choices need to be made in the programme. The showroom is and remains the most visible 'beacon': this is where we present which choices have been made. For MAMA, making keen choices means that it can stay close on the heels of current affairs and can dare to take risks when it comes to assigning meaning to these current affairs. Which aspects are important for us? Which do we ignore? It's easy to relate to (recent) (art) history. It is infinitely more difficult to hold today's creative occupations and visual languages and production methods up to the light. But that isn't to say that you cannot make a serious attempt.

MAMA 2208 stands for self-sufficiency and collaboration - in the area of content, but also of organisation and finance - in response to a government that is withdrawing its involvement in this area and to high-paced changes in society and technical innovations. At the same time, the forces of scaling up and scaling down have their impact on the organisation: a small, regular core is stubbornly holding on, surrounded by a large and powerful shell or shield consisting of fans, volunteers and flexiworkers who for a large extent determine MAMA's external image. Temporarily or permanently branched-off cells form satellite 'MAMAs', established by (ex) Rookies (MAs) at other locations and at other times. While the showroom on Witte de Withstraat with its 24/7 appearance keeps its central role, MAMA regularly deploys 'other supports' - as extra platforms, as outposts, as breeding grounds - but the these locations also serve a pragmatic function as a space for workshops and encounters and as a workspace. Creative 'feelers' that have been put out by these cells involve new audience groups in the MAMA enterprise. In fits and starts, MAMA is able to capture new positions. The platforms can take a variety of guises: the web, talk shows, parties, but also actions, workshops and master classes. Those ventures that take root are promoted to the showroom.

In 2208 too, the poles between which MAMA traditionally shuttles are still relevant: from canonical contemporary art aspirations to sectarian squatter informality, on the border between the institution and the street. High-brow or low-brow, elitist or popular: it is a matter of determining case by case whether the work in question amounts to much. If superficiality has become the common ground, the need for profundity will develop more or less automatically.