MAF / LUNA 2021

Here and Now

The Media Art Festival 2021 took place from September 24 to October 10 in the Stationkwartier in Leeuwarden. For almost three weeks we were able to enjoy media art by young talent from home and abroad in the Stationskwartier in Leeuwarden, alongside special MAF Specials, meetings and workshops within the festival theme Here and Now. Of course grateful that after 1.5 years we were allowed to set up another festival like this and that we were able to enjoy so much support and cooperation from local entrepreneurs and sponsors.

Every edition is a special gathering of various artists and makers. Also special this edition was the arrival of the TEXT ME: Young Curators, an international project by i-Portunus with young curators who visited our festival. In addition, the final presentation of the Noordenaars, which presented the result of 2.5 years of collaboration between twelve northern organizations in the visual arts that are committed to talent development in the region.

Below you will find the Young Masters exhibiting in 2021, who won the YMAs and the program booklet. LUNA Urban Night Adventure took place from September 30th – October 2nd: check out the artists that took the Leeuwarden city centre as a stage for media- and light art in 2021!


Here and Now was the theme that Media Art Friesland came up with in the autumn of 2019 for the 2020/21 edition of the Media Art Festival. The idea was that we are always running, looking far ahead and usually years ahead of things. Artists and scientists take us into what technology, media and art can create, now and in the future, and reflect on this critically. We had no idea that our intention to put a stop to it and intensively pay attention to the Here and Now would be overtaken by the reality called ‘corona’ before the festival even started. The theme programme Hier en Nu was the only item of MAF 2020/21 that could actually go on this year.

Three evenings in december ’20 artists and scientists shared their ideas in livestreams that are relevant to this day. They talked about art and economy, culture and nature and about not knowing. The common factor was the sheer urgency of these themes and the role artists can play in developing a vision of how we could shape our world and society – from local to international – to make it more sustainable, liveable and inspiring.

In the autumn of 2021, corona and the associated measures, but also the new views that the virus entails, will still determine a large part of our thoughts and actions. In the peripheral programming, artists and other thinkers and makers once again have their say. They share with the public what concerns and moves them, and they seize the opportunity to show what they have made during months of pandemic. Together we enjoy this moment of peace, reflection and representation and we see ourselves confirmed in our thoughts from two years ago: the Here and Now may be difficult and uncertain, but with art it is also a wonderful time to to live.

Young Masters 2020/21

Young Masters Awards 2020/21

All 14 participants in the Young Masters exhibition had a chance to win the MAF Young Masters Award and the Audience Award. The Young Masters Award offers the winner a month-long residency in a talent development program at AADK Spain in the Spanish city of Blanca. Elif Özbay won the Young Masters Award this edition with her artwork Boxer, Ring, Cycle, chosen by an international jury. The Audience Award went to Alcaeus Spyrou with his cinematographic artwork Anina.

Elif Satanaya Özbay won the MAF Young Masters Award 2021 this year. The international jury praised her work for the balance between concept and use of material, the quality of the execution and the interaction with the audience and the space.

Özbay gets to stay for a month at the AADK Spain artist residence for artistic research and production in the inspiring environment of the Spanish city of Blanca. The working period is supervised by the professional team of AADK Spain.

This year’s international jury consisted of Aymen Gharbi (TN), artist and curator and co-director of the International Light Art Project Interference, Ksenia Fedorova (PhD, RU) curator and researcher of media and media art at Leiden University and visual artists Ingo Wendt (DE) and Guiliana Grippo (ARG). Grippo has also been working at the artist residency AADK Spain since 2017, where she is active in concepting and project organization.

The public chose Alcaeus Spyrou’s work Aninaas their favorite. Aninais a psychogeographic film essay that documents the ethnographic properties of the industrial landscape and its malignant effects on the individual.

Photo credits: Maarten Dikken