News: V&A’s Friday Late 2020 programme announced on themes of ‘The Body’, ‘Endeavour’ and ‘Illusions’

Friday Late at the V&A – the original late-night museum event – celebrates all aspects of contemporary visual culture using the V&A collection and building as its inspiration. For the first time, Friday Late will be programmed across three seasons spanning the year and will explore subjects of ‘The Body’, ‘Endeavour’ and ‘Illusions’. Through these topics audiences will come face-to-face with some of the most innovative artists, musicians and designers working today. Brought to life through live performances, film screenings, installations, debates, DJ sets, workshops and late-night exhibition openings.

The Body (January – April)
The first season of 2020 will look at the body’s place in society and question how our bodies can shape contemporary notions of identity.

Hands – 31st January
Whether you type or write, craft or consume, how we use our hands is what makes us human. From communication and interaction to comfort and care, we feel compelled to keep our restless fingers busy. Explore how our hands allow us to manipulate the world around us and ask how developing technologies may transform the way we use them in the future.

Eyes – 28th February
This Friday Late, visitors are invited to consider one of the most important aspects of the human body – our eyes. Consider how our eyes can deceive us, and how we’ve been conditioned to view the world under our own lens. Examine the effects of both seeing and being seen, watching and being watched.

Bodies – 27th March
We are living in times dominated by the politics of the body. Bodies are inextricably linked to feelings of identity, intimacy and sexuality as well as anxiety and violence. This Friday Late consider bodies – how we use them, control them and feel at home in them.

Hair – 24th April
From fashion and beauty to religion, politics and identity, question how much our hair tells us about who we are. Untangle the social and cultural aspects of hair and consider how our feelings towards it change when it is cut from our heads or removed from our bodies.

Endeavour (June – August)
This season will focus on the subject of ‘endeavour’, with artists responding to how we strive to achieve and what this reveals about the high expectations placed on us by society and ourselves.

Failure – 26th June
What does it mean to fail in today’s culture? This Friday Late, uncover the ideas that never make it from the drawing board, and those which did – but perhaps shouldn’t have. Examine projects which failed in their ambition but which offer unintended positive results. See how failure can be beautiful, tragic or dangerous, and ask who is given permission to fail in our society. Are you comfortable with failure?

Competition – 31st July
To mark the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, we celebrate and question the nature of competition. When does it help and when does it hinder? Artists and designers respond to contest, opposition and rivalry.

Instruction – 28th August
More than just a practical how-to, instructions can reveal a lot about how we spend our time and the society in which these ideas were conceived. This Friday Late, examine the ways in which we are guided through day to day life, from maps to signage, traffic signals to smartphone screens.

Illusions (September – November)
The final season of 2020 is framed by ‘illusions’. In the age of social media filters, hidden messages and fake news, what is real or not?

Fame – 25th September
What makes someone a celebrity and what propels some of us to seek fame above all else? How is the digital age transforming what fame is, who attains it and why audiences are gripped by this ever-moving field? What does the future hold for the famous? From fan fiction to ‘cancel culture’, we explore the ups and downs of the celebrity, past, present and future.

Truth – 30th October
It has been said that we live in a “post-truth” world, where facts are sometimes overwhelmed by opposing narratives. How do we protect the essential resource of democracy — the truth — from the lies that surround it? And how can we even be sure what truth is anymore?

Power – 27th November
Power is the invisible hand that shapes our lives and yet is often based on illusions. Who has authority is constantly in flux and power is often fleeting. Explore expressions of status and influence, as we consider how to convey and subvert power.

For more information visit https://www.vam.ac.uk/info/friday-late

Photo credit: V&A

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