MoMA R&D

Salon 28 Angels

Reflecting on the dark and confusing times we are living in, we believed it was appropriate to host a salon on Angels, to discuss the people that protect us and guide us, that mediate between individual and established power, that zero in on each soul with surprising intimacy and focus, and do their best. They are lawyers, teachers, ER attendants, firefighters, designers, artists, mentors, mothers and grandmothers, passersby… In this salon we embarked on a thoughtful exploration, to consider what angels can teach us about the human condition and the ways in which they allow us to believe in the potential for change, in new possibilities and narratives.

Some of the questions we strived to answer: Do we need angels? Do they exist? What does their existence teach us about the human condition? What is the historical legacy of angels? Do angels transcend faiths? Are angels problematic? Is a western, Abrahamic conception of angels problematic? What is the connection between angels and violence? What is the modern mode in which they operate? Throughout history, angels have been understood as transitional shape shifters, but can they today truly exist beyond gender, race, class? What forms can an angel take? Are all angels equal? How does the existence of a celestial hierarchy influence the way we conceive of a society that should be inspired by angels? What are the parameters for determining potential hierarchies? Does this mean that hierarchies are inevitable? What is the connection between angels and reality? How does citizenship relate to the presence of transitional beings? What is the difference between an angel and a hero? Are angels always selfless? Are angels inherently good? At what point does an angel become a demon? And do they exist in that binary? Do angels have free will or are they bound by their knowledge, by their visions, by their position as messengers and caretakers? With their given knowledge, do they have a responsibility to share their power and their abilities? What life tools can angels provide us with? How does the existence of angels allow us (mere mortals) to envision imaginary worlds, new potentials for what the future can be?

This salon took place on October, 22nd, 2018.

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