Who’s Who at CIMAM with Alfredo Cramerotti
Who's Who at CIMAM interview with Alfredo Cramerotti, CIMAM member and recently appointed Director of The Media Majlis at Northwestern University Qatar in Doha, Qatar.
How did you get started in the world of art curating, and what led you to dedicate your professional career to it?
Professionally, it started about 20 years ago when I moved to Berlin on a fellowship, and worked in SparwasserHQ, then a non-profit art venue showing mainly artists from the Scandinavian countries. I realized that I much enjoyed working with other people rather than by myself, and so took over the curation of the public program of talks. From then, I enrolled in a proper curatorial MA at the UdK/IfKIK followed by the Critical Studies course in Malmö, and was definitely hooked!
What kind of narratives are you currently working with or most interested in?
Having a background in design and media, I always kept a foot in the art and a foot somewhere else - science, geopolitics, publishing, web culture or journalism. The narrative I’m building at Media Majlis at Northwestern University Qatar is defiantly one of a next-generation museum - a museum of ideas, relations, and current topics which adopts art as an additional layer of interpretation. The idea is to transcend the traditional role of museums through the intersection of art, communication, and technology, showcasing a diverse range of artworks and non-object-based artifacts, including digital narratives, visualizations, and beyond, to engage both professional audiences and the broader public in a stimulating experience.
How would you define yourself as a curator regarding research and relationships with artists and institutions?
A curious mind, a critical friend, an investigator, an interface (between artist and audience), a software (rather than hardware). Sometimes as a counsellor, life coach and therapist!
What are your most common working practices and research sources?
Showing up is half the job. I commit to go and see people, exhibitions, gatherings, events, festivals, situations, and contexts. I never take anything for granted based on what I heard or looks like on social media (and I do use social media a lot as a sort of open archive, an ongoing thought book, a visual flow of inspiration). It’s important to live experiences both online and offline, and there’s no replacement for one another.
Can you share the title of a book you have recently read and found inspiring for your professional work?
Yes, a couple - Notes to Self by Emilie Pine is an astounding book; semibiographical (I guess), raw, intense and hitting you like an arrow; difficult to leave behind. And A Petit Mal by Ana Maria Caballero, an amazing poet, artist and writer, who put into words a personal story that, through difficult and all-consuming, leaves a smile on your face; rare achievement. I get inspiration from life, it seems.
What was the last exhibition you attended, and how did it impact you?
You may be surprised to read this, but I recently attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, in Jan 2024. If you haven't been there before, a short way of describing is like the opening week of the Venice Biennale on steroid - you have something like 15,000 people descending on a village in the middle of the Swiss Alps in the span of a few days, walking from one venue (“House” instead of “Pavilion”) to the other in meter-heigh snow, constantly being distracted and redirected by people, talks, evens., hot chocolate and mulled wine kiosks, and improvises gatherings. It’s a beefed-up version of Venice not only because of the cost (believe it or not) but also due to the wide, and wild, range of topics you can immerse yourself in whitin a few meters from each other: from digital arts (the reason I was there, presenting a project) to biomedical research, to Global South logistics and infrastructures to AI cybersecurity to the economy of non-animal food production, to end up with a philosophical exchange on metallurgy's challenges and opportunities in 2024 - not joking. It’s a ride.
Can you share a song to be included in CIMAM's Spotify playlist?
Oh, yes. I would go with New Body Rhumba from LCD Soundsystem - from White Noise (the film, not the book - though both very DonDelLillean obviously!)
Thank you Alfredo, and congratulations on your new appointment!