Talk by Jamila Adeli, Internationales Künstlerhaus Büchsenhausen, Innsbruck, Austria, May 2015
Photo credit: Jamila Adeli, Installation shot at Pepper House, Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India
The contemporary art world appears to be quite a utopian – as in ideal – place: no more nation-state borders, no more identity issues, and no more language problems. Artists, curators, artworks, texts and audiences seem to flow with ease through different cultural fields. And the ongoing expansion of biennials and art fairs give the impression of a truly global map of contemporary art.
When critically thinking about these global flows and how they compose a global map of art, we unquestionably need to look a considerable bit deeper. The contemporary art world is not a product of flat trajectories of globalization – as it is often alto hastily assumed. It is a complex social space, which is in the process of becoming translocal. At the example of the practice of contemporary curating, I aim to “ground” these global flows and to identify how they encounter in order to make sense of what “being translocal” could mean for the contemporary art world.
My presentation introduces and combines two types of interfaces, which are linked through their most distinguished characteristic: a practice that constructs meaning at specific locations where global flows of the contemporary art worlds intersect.
Curating produces meaning through the accompanied production, selection and juxtaposition of artworks or artistic movements in order to demonstrate specific moments or phenomena in time. It also developed into a practical and academic tool to analyze historical and contemporary artistic practice, to create order and new perspectives within the aesthetic matters.
Photo credit: Jamila Adeli, advertisement of Kochi-Muziris Biennale in Creative Brands Magazine
Biennials, on the other hand, are large-scale exhibitions, which are held to visualize and discuss the present state of contemporary fine art. Since Biennials are hosted in a city that had encounters with global flows, they are a true interface: contact zones of „local“ and „global“, of „center“ and „semi-periphery“, of institutional art theory concepts and day to day cultural life. They are not only interfaces of global art flows but also form hubs within a network of cultural urban centers. A Biennial certainly places a city, region or nation on the global map of art (Charlotte Bydler), and they are important meeting points for local and international artists, curators, critics and audiences.
The presentation exemplifies its main arguments at India’s recent Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Inaugurated only in 2012 by the Government of Kerala and the two artists, Bose Krichnamachari and Riyas Komu, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale is already being considered as the new Biennial format of the 21st century – not only from the specific local viewpoint of India: both editions were perceived as a truly translocal experience of contemporary culture, and hence an experience that highlights not only decisive localization processes but also how such processes connect to global flows of knowledge and aesthetics.