A Future that Wasn’t


Director of Exhibitions at Diriyah Art Futures




NATFA - Aula


1 June, 12:00

Irini Papadimitriou is a curator and cultural manager, and currently Director of Exhibitions at Diriyah Art Futures. She was Creative Director at FutureEverything between 2018 and 2024, and in 2023 she was the Artistic Director for the Sea Art Festival 2023 with Busan Biennale, South Korea. She was previously Digital Programmes Manager at the V&A, and Head of New Media Arts Development at Watermans, London.
Recently curated exhibitions include: Flickering Shores, Sea Imaginaries, Sea Art Festival 2023, Busan; AI: Who’s Looking After Me? with FutureEverything and Science Gallery London; Money, Ruins, and the Sea, NeMe, Limassol, Cyprus; [Digital] Transmissions with FutureEverything and Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, Jordan; Plásmata: Bodies, Dreams, and Data, Onassis Stegi, Athens; You and AI: Through the Algorithmic Lens, Onassis Stegi, Athens; Artificially Intelligent, V&A London. Irini is a co-founder of Maker Assembly, a critical gathering about maker culture, and she has been a co-curator for the Arts & Culture experience at Mozilla Festival, including the 2019 exhibition Trustworthy AI: Imagining Better Machine Decision Making. She has served as a jury member for Prix Ars Electronica, D&AD Awards, Lumen Prize, EU STARTS and ACM Siggraph.

speaker’s works


For a long time art and culture, through visionary works, has helped us envision, imagine and engage with ideas about the future, unknown and distant worlds. Creative works and ideas have enabled us to have conversations about and with the future, trying to understand tomorrow’s worlds, while engaging with challenging presents, socio-political, economic and scientific events of our time.
At a time when society is obsessed with too many futures - forecasting, designing, making and shaping tomorrow - but also a time when complex ecological, humanitarian, political, governmental and other issues, are presented as simply technological problems, reducing everything into data and perceiving the world through a less human and more machine-like lens, how often do we come together to question whose future it is and who gets to build it? Who has the tools and power to “resolve” societal challenges and be a creator of our future? What if technology was a tool for creating more equitable and caring worlds rather than a profit making machine?
This presentation argues that while we live in a world characterised by uncertainty, injustice and conflicts, and one where most of us feel disempowered or unable to imagine differently, art has the power to help us challenge the status quo and corporate narratives, activating new ideas about technology, ecology and intelligence, and better stories about the future.