Launched in 2013, the Fogo Island Dialogues is a series of international and interdisciplinary conferences that bring together artists, arts professionals, architects, academics, economists, geographers and other distinguished participants to consider the relationships between local communities and the trans-national networks that constitute the backbone of our contemporary living.
Following previous editions on Fogo Island, in Chicago, New York, Berlin, and Vienna, the 2019 Fogo Island Dialogues will take place in Lisbon, across the storied ocean from Fogo Island.
The constant point of return for this edition of the Dialogues will be the Atlantic Ocean near which we gather. The Atlantic is understood not only as a place but as processes (of making, knowing, wondering and destroying) that have connected very distant locations. As notions of “Europe” are being debated and reshaped, this is also an opportunity to reimagine trans-national but also trans-local networks linking Canada and Portugal; new networks forged from the old.
Connected by Atlantic cod fishing economies for centuries, Newfoundland and Portugal have shared ways of knowing embodied in “hand-lining,” fishing from small punts or dories, and salting cod. They also share unresolved questions: If entire economies, ecologies and forms of making were shaped by the presence of abundant cod in the North Atlantic, binding distant communities, what is to be made of the accelerated extraction which depleted Atlantic cod populations to the point of near extinction in the last century? What features of today’s economy, politics and culture remain embedded in the asymmetrical models of exchange imposed by Portuguese-, Spanish-, Dutch-, English- and French-speaking powers around the Atlantic Ocean? Given the violence and trauma of many processes that constitute the Atlantic, how to navigate between the need to remember and mourn and the desire for renewal and progress?
Gathering distinguished authors—grounded in diverse disciplines and variably connected to Lisbon and Fogo Island—Atlantic Codes is a collective attempt to cohere common threads, storylines, algorithms or ways of moving and making. The project builds upon the role of Fogo Island Arts and Shorefast as international cultural agents, operating at different scales. It unfolds over the course of two days at various resonant locations in Lisbon.