A surface like a membrane, porous, vibrating, mobile, a permeable and malleable contact space, of transition between different areas, revealing relationships, different modes of existence and perception: this was the understanding of surface that guided the design of the route we take in this program of conferences and talks. Surfaces where imaginaries, poetics, aesthetic propositions with technology intersect, but also with a specific context that is both local and takes us to meet problems with a historical and planetary dimension, which are those involved in the current plans for lithium extraction in northern Portugal, a fundamental mineral for the technological transition considered indispensable to face the current context of climate change. At this juncture, we will appeal for consideration that, beyond technologies, we urgently need to reactivate our capacity to imagine together.
To do so, we will go through meetings that will invite us to reflect about the responsibility of our imagination, when we design technologies and bring into the world objects that, even when they appear with a specific function, express us in our relationship with others, both with humans and with what is not human, but planetary, thus contributing to a certain state of the world. We will listen to how artists participating in INDEX 2022 bring the question of surface into their work, how they relate to aesthetic, but also geopolitical, economic and philosophical issues, implicated in their projects and in the conditions of production of their paths. We will find social and environmental movements and political scientists. Computer engineering and artificial intelligence will meet aesthetics. Philosophy will appear several times, inviting us to amplify our understanding of the notion of surface, but also to imagine differently, to conceive a world where it is no longer indispensable to drill, to extract, to “go deep” in order to bring forth the energies we need to live. We will consider the unexplored powers of the surface, we will turn representations about the stability of the places where we live upside down, and we will also appeal to magic, not against reality, but as a way to preserve its possibility, to restore its movement and, to us, the ability to contribute to the weaving of possible worlds to inhabit.