Curating on the move

Conference: Contemporary Art Biennials – Our Hegemonic Machines in States of Emergency

Date: 27–28 June 2020.
The conference will be held online. More informations can be found here.

Contemporary Art Biennials – Our Hegemonic Machines in States of Emergency
Ronald Kolb, Dorothee Richter

Speakers: Nora Sternfeld (Documenta Professor), Farid Rakun, (Ruangrupa, Documenta 15), Roma Jam Session art Kollektiv, Beat Wyss (Art Historian), Mirjam Varadinis (Kunsthaus Zürich, Manifesta Palermo), Oliver Marchart (political theorist), Ekaterina Degot (Steirischer Herbst), Shwetal Patel (The Kochi — Muziris Biennale), Yung Ma (11th Seoul Mediacity Biennale), Vasyl Cherepanyn (Head of the Visual Culture Research Center / Kyiv Biennial), Iona Leca (Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art), Farah Wardani (Jakarta Biennale), Patrick Flores (Singapore Biennale 2019), Martin Guinard (Taipei Biennale).

The online conference is supported by Goethe Institut Bucharest, The Suisse Arts Council ProHelvetia, and Zurich University of the Arts.

Yet in 2020, in the midst of a new form of crisis, one might feel the affection for “hegemonic machines”, like Biennales, that aim for an international discourse in a democratizing manner in a different light. With all its underlying problems (canonizing, hegemony, colonial pasts, dominant art market, political influences), Biennales tend to establish international discourse, at best, rooted in local cultural specificities/identities. States of emergency also enables states to not only control but also to protect their citizens.

Biennials are, as Oliver Marchart has remarked, big hegemonic machines. They make proposals how to understand the world we live in – locally and globally –, how to be in the world as a subject within a regional and national frame, and how race, class, gender are positioned. Insofar Biennials are part of a bio-political process in the framework of specific local situations.

Biennials are deeply involved in politics of display, politics of sites, politics of transfer and translation and they produce in each single case specific politics of knowledge. The scales of biennials are co-implicated not only with each other but also with different understandings of politics: contestation, resistance, dissent, hegemony, and empowerment.

For this conference (also in times of crises) we are not only interested in how content directly agitates but also in the formats, ideas and concepts that are delivered through the politics of display, through specific forms of production and dissemination, through proposed communities and subjectivities; the more subtle ways of in the bio-political arena when we encounter art. Which forms can we use in states of emergency?

In the conference, we want to critically explore the pitfalls and benefits of these machines, how to use them progressively and how to keep and strengthen cultural exchange they can provide. Biennales in that sense can become imaginary machines to shape and influence possible futures.

Organised by Dorothee Richter (Head of PhD in Practice in Curating, University of Reading/ Zurich University of the Arts) and Ronald Kolb, Scientific researcher PhD in Practice in Curating.)

Respondents to the speakers are PhD Candidates of the PhD in Practice in Curating and MAS candidates of the Postgraduate Programme in Curating

Cooperation Partner: Webjournal

Schedule in CEST

Saturday, 27th June 2020

9.45 am: Delia Popa Artistic Intervention
10.00 am: Welcome by Eugen Rădescu and Introduction by Dorothee Richter & Ronald Kolb
10.30 am:
Talk by Oliver Marchart (political theorist)
11.00 am: Discussion with Oliver Marchart moderated by Isabel de Sena
11.30 am: Conversation with Farid Rakun (Ruangrupa, documenta fifteen)
12.00 noon: Discussion with Farid Rakun moderated by Maayan Sheleff
12.30 pm: Talk by Nora Sternfeld (documenta Professor)
1.00 pm: Discussion with Nora Sternfeld moderated by Sascia Bailer
1.20 pm: Delia Popa Artistic Intervention
2.30 pm: Talk by Ioana Leca (Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art)
3.00 pm: Discussion with Ioana Leca moderated by Hadas Kedar
3.20 pm: Talk by Vasyl Cherepanyn (Visual Culture Research Center / Kyiv Biennial)
3.50 pm: Discussion with Vasyl Cherepanyn moderated by Lalita Radavić
4.10 pm: Talk by Martin Guinard (Taipei Biennale)
4.40 pm: Discussion with Martin Guinard moderated by Beatrice Fontana
5.00 pm: Open discussion moderated by Maayan Sheleff
5.30 pm: Artistic intervention “50 HZ” by minim (Diana Dulgheru)

Sunday, 28th  June 2020

10.00 am: Henk Slager on BB9
10.30 am:
Talk by Beat Wyss (Venice Biennale researcher)
11.00 am:
Discussion with Beat Wyss moderated by Domenico Ermanno Roberti
11.30 am: Talk by Patrick D. Flores (Singapore Biennale 2019)
12.00 noon: Discussion with Patrick D. Flores moderated by Jose Cáceres Mardones
12.30 pm: Talk by Ekaterina Degot (Steirischer Herbst)
1.00 pm: Discussion with Ekaterina Degot moderated by Anastasia Chaguidouline
1.20 pm: Detox Dance by Roma Jam Session art Kollektiv (artist collective from Zurich) Artistic Intervention
2.30 pm: Talk by Yung Ma (11th Seoul Mediacity Biennale)
3.00 pm: Discussion with Yung Ma moderated by Henrietta Mansfeld
3.20 pm: Talk by Mirjam Varadinis (Kunsthaus Zurich, Manifesta Palermo)
3.50 pm: Discussion with Mirjam Varadinis moderated by Antonio Cataldo
4.10 pm: Talk by Shwetal A. Patel (The Kochi—Muziris Biennale)
4.40 pm: Discussion with Shwetal A. Patel moderated by Tanya Abraham
5.00 pm: Open discussion with Jose Cáceres
5.30 pm: zeroArtistic intervention by minim (Diana Dulgheru)

An OnCurating Issue is published alongside the conference. Speakers of the conference will contribute with significant articles, and will be added by a wide array of writers, critics, art historians, curators and artists, who submitted their texts through an Open Call. The Open Call was occupied with the development of innovative research in the field of international biennials. The issue is co-edited by Dorothee Richter, Ronald Kolb, Shwetal A. Patel.