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/ecm diskurs 62: Assembling and Disassembling. What is the function of Biennials and Festivals today?

 

Friday, May 20, 2022, 7pm
steirischer herbst
Sackstraße 17, 8010 Graz

Talk with Ekaterina Degot (steirischer herbst, Graz), Nora Sternfeld (HFBK Hamburg and /ecm, Vienna), and Oliver Marchart (Institut für Politikwissenschaft, Vienna)

What can big and recurring art projects do? “Towards the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century”, as Anthony Gardner and Charles Green propose, “biennials became self-conscious.” Increasingly they are reflecting on themselves as “hegemonic machines” (Oliver Marchart). Biennials today thus understand and describe themselves as sites of intervention in neoliberal conditions of which they themselves are part, addressing these conditions in critical terms while also fueling and fostering them. We have to come to terms with the fact that biennials today are both “Brands and Sites of Resistance” and “Spaces of Capital and Hope” (Panos Kompatsiaris). In some cases, the relation of bottom-up and top-down is inverted: in recent years self-organized collectives in different places have been using the label of the “biennial” not just as a space of art, but as means of survival for discourse and artistic expression within increasingly authoritarian structures. We have seen biennials creating intensities, temporalities, and encounters that challenge existing economies, structures, and discourses coming up with proposals to experiment with alternatives. So, what is to be done in this contradictory and contested terrain? In a dialogue we will discuss the relevance of big and recurring art projects in an intellectual and political sense.

The public talk is a collaboration between steirischer herbst and the /ecm Master’s Program in Exhibition Theory and Practice at the University of Applied Arts Vienna.