[ISEA2011] Panel: Mau­r­izio Bor­tolotti (mod­er­a­tor) – Art as Media as Dis­play: Bi­en­ni­als as Plat­forms for So­cial Change

Panel Statement

Oc­cur­ring within the scope of the 12th Is­tan­bul Bi­en­nial Par­al­lel Events and ISEA2011

A dis­cus­sion in two ses­sions on the oc­ca­sion of the 12th Is­tan­bul Bi­en­nial and ISEA2011 at the Con­sulate Gen­eral of The King­dom of The Nether­lands, Istanbul.

Today the trend in art and crit­i­cal the­ory often pre­sents a pro­gram fo­cus­ing on so­cial is­sues and con­cerns rather than aes­thet­ics. The con­tem­po­rary bi­en­nial, one of the hy­per­tro­phied ex­hi­bi­tion plat­forms of our global pre­sent, serves as the locus op­ti­mus for this focus. This type of ex­hi­bi­tion has be­come a stage for artists, cu­ra­tors and spec­ta­tors to re­flect and spec­u­late on our cur­rent con­di­tion. But has art be­come solely a ve­hi­cle for so­cial com­men­tary? And what is the role of the media in art prac­tice and ex­hi­bi­tion are­nas? How does media – in­clud­ing in­ter­net, twit­ter and so­cial net­works – serve as a tool for the art to con­vey larger is­sues? Does media de­moc­ra­tize our so­ci­ety, or is the de­moc­ra­ti­za­tion of media in fact a false­hood? The re-me­di­a­tion of our so­ci­ety is re-me­di­at­ing both its epis­te­mo­log­i­cal and on­to­log­i­cal sta­tus, with un­ex­pected ef­fects. Artists, cu­ra­tors and media spe­cial­ists are in­vited to con­verse about these top­ics and to elab­o­rate on their pro­fes­sional prac­tice and point of view within the field of bi­en­nial-mak­ing and con­tem­po­rary art.

Or­ga­nised by:

Bi­en­nial Foun­da­tion is a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion founded in 2009 to fa­cil­i­tate links be­tween or­ga­ni­za­tions and prac­ti­tion­ers op­er­at­ing within the global bi­en­nial com­mu­nity by pro­vid­ing re­sources for re­search and an open plat­form for ex­change and col­lab­o­ra­tion. biennialfoundation.org

School of Media De­sign & New Media Art – NABA – di­rected by Francesco Mon­ico – pro­vides a the­o­ret­i­cal pro­gram on the crit­i­cal de­bate on new media phe­nom­ena and ap­pli­ances, on art and on the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween tech­nol­ogy and so­ci­ety.

  • Hed­wig Fijen (NL) is a his­to­rian and art his­to­rian and found­ing di­rec­tor of Man­i­festa, Eu­ro­pean Bi­en­nial of Con­tem­po­rary Art. Since 1996 she has ini­ti­ated ex­hi­bi­tions that in­ves­ti­gate var­i­ous Eu­ro­pean re­gions based on an in­ter­est in their so­cio-his­tor­i­cal and geo-po­lit­i­cal traits. Kata­rina Gre­gos is a cu­ra­tor and writer. She cu­rated the Dan­ish Pavil­ion at the 54th Venice Bi­en­nale in 2011 with the crit­i­cal ex­hi­bi­tion “Speech Mat­ters” fo­cus­ing on the com­plex issue of free­dom of speech. Nazim Dikbas is an artist and ed­u­ca­tor at the Art Man­age­ment De­part­ment of the Is­tan­bul Bilgi Uni­ver­sity. He was a mem­ber of the mu­sic-mul­ti­me­dia group Zen and the artists’ ini­tia­tive Hafriyat, and he has trans­lated books by Pamuk, Nabokov and O’Con­nor. He par­tic­i­pates in the 12th Is­tan­bul Bi­en­nial 2011. Marieke van Hal – mod­er­a­tor – is di­rec­tor of Bi­en­nial Foun­da­tion. Hed­wig Fijen  lives in Am­s­ter­dam.
  • Martha Rosler is an artist and writer. Her work in video, photo-text, per­for­mance, writ­ing and in­stal­la­tion con­structs in­ci­sive so­cial and po­lit­i­cal analy­ses of the myths and re­al­i­ties of con­tem­po­rary cul­ture. She par­tic­i­pates in the 12th Is­tan­bul Bi­en­nial 2011. Yong­woo Lee is the founder and over-all di­rec­tor of the Gwangju Bi­en­nale, ini­ti­ated in com­mem­o­ra­tion of the vic­tims of the pro-democ­racy civil up­ris­ing in 1980 in Gwangju, Korea. He is a writer and cu­ra­tor based in Seoul and New York. Ques­tion­ing the re­la­tion of the cor­po­ra­tion, the state and the fam­ily, media in­for­ma­tion and the in­di­vid­ual, and pub­lic and pri­vate, she ex­poses the in­ter­nal­ized op­pres­sion that un­der­lies such cul­tural phe­nom­ena as the ob­jec­ti­fi­ca­tion of women (Vital Sta­tis­tics of a Cit­i­zen, Sim­ply Ob­tained, 1977); anorexia and star­va­tion (Los­ing: A Con­ver­sa­tion With The Par­ents, 1977); and sur­ro­gate moth­er­hood (Born to be Sold, 1988).
  • Lan­franco Aceti is chair and artis­tic di­rec­tor of ISEA 2011. He is Vis­it­ing Pro­fes­sor at Gold­smiths Col­lege, Lon­don and As­so­ci­ate Pro­fes­sor at Sa­banci Uni­ver­sity in Is­tan­bul. His re­search fo­cuses on the in­ter­sec­tion be­tween new media tech­nolo­gies, art and vi­sual cul­ture. Mau­r­izio Bor­tolotti – mod­er­a­tor – is cu­ra­tor and Pro­fes­sor at NABA.
  • Nazim Dikbas (1973) was born in the UK. He stud­ied so­ci­ol­ogy and phi­los­o­phy. A mem­ber of the groups Zen and Hafriyat, his draw­ings have pre­vi­ously been pub­lished in the mag­a­zine Hay­van. Dikbas made trans­la­tions in the fields of lit­er­a­ture and art. As such, he trans­lated books by Turk­ish nov­el­ist Orhan Pamuk. In 2007, he or­ga­nized the ex­hi­bi­tion “The Em­pire Is Still Crum­bling” at Karsi Sanat and par­tic­i­pated in the ex­hi­bi­tion “Join The Dots” the same year. As a mem­ber of the Hafriyat group, he took part in the foun­da­tion of Hafriyat Karaköy and con­tributed to some ex­hi­bi­tions or­ga­nized in the space. His first solo ex­hi­bi­tion “Ex­pect­ing Plea­sure To Solve Prob­lems” was ex­hib­ited at Ga­leri Splen­did in 2009. The ex­hi­bi­tion fea­tured the artist’s draw­ings and paint­ings on paper and also a work com­posed of sev­en­teen brass plates ti­tled “An An­nounce­ment Will Be Made Later”. In 2010, Dikbas par­tic­i­pated in the ex­hi­bi­tion “When Ideas Be­come Crime” in DEPO, Is­tan­bul and be­came a res­i­dent of Riso Museo d’Arte Con­tem­po­ranea Della Si­cilia. Nazim Dikbas par­tic­i­pates with a new se­ries of works in the 12th Is­tan­bul Bi­en­nale, co-cu­rated by Jens Hoff­mann and Adri­ano Pe­drosa, 2011.
  • Kata­rina Gre­gos (GR) is a cu­ra­tor and writer. She was se­lected by the Dan­ish Art Coun­cil to cu­rate the Dan­ish Pavil­ion in the 54th Venice Bi­en­nale in 2011, based on the ex­hi­bi­tion pro­posal “Speech Mat­ters”. She is co-cu­ra­tor of the up­com­ing9th Man­i­festa in Gent (2012). Kata­rina Gre­gos is based in Brus­sels.
  • Yong­woo Lee is an art his­to­rian, ed­u­ca­tor, critic and cu­ra­tor based in Seoul and New York. He is over-all di­rec­tor of Gwangju Bi­en­nale Foun­da­tion since 2008. He was a pro­fes­sor of art his­tory and crit­i­cal the­ory at the Korea Uni­ver­sity and lec­tured at many dif­fer­ent col­leges in the States and in Eu­rope. He ob­tained his Ph.D in art his­tory at the Ox­ford Uni­ver­sity. He is found­ing ed­i­tor of the crit­i­cal art jour­nal NOON since 2009. Yong­woo Lee is the found­ing di­rec­tor of Gwangju Bi­en­nale in 1995 with the theme “Be­yond the Bor­ders”, which sub­stan­tially was the first in­ter­na­tional bi­en­nial in Asia. As a writer, critic and ed­i­tor, Lee has been a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to nu­mer­ous ex­hi­bi­tion cat­a­logues, an­tholo­gies and jour­nals. He is found­ing ed­i­tor and pub­lisher of the crit­i­cal art jour­nal NOON: a jour­nal of con­tem­po­rary art, semi­otics, aes­thet­ics, cul­tural stud­ies, art his­tory es­tab­lished in 2009. His writ­ings have ap­peared in nu­mer­ous jour­nals, cat­a­logues, books, and mag­a­zines in­clud­ing: Flash Art, Monthly Art, Col­lege Art Jour­nal, among oth­ers. Among his sin­gle-au­thor­ship books are In­for­ma­tion and Re­al­ity (Fruit­mar­ket Gallery Ed­in­burgh), Nam June Paik (Sam­sung Pub­li­ca­tion), The Ori­gins of Video Art (Munye Madang). Es­says also ap­peared in many books such as Elec­tronic Super High­way (Hatje Cantz), Shamano del Video (Edi­zione Maz­zota), among oth­ers. Yong­woo Lee serves on nu­mer­ous ju­ries, ad­vi­sory bod­ies, and cu­ra­to­r­ial teams in­clud­ing: the jury for Venice Bi­en­nale Un­esco Prize, Ljubl­jana Graphic Bi­en­nale, and ad­vi­sory board of the Shang­hai Bi­en­nale and Bi­en­nial Foun­da­tion.
  • Marieke van Hal (NL) – mod­er­a­tor – is found­ing di­rec­tor of Bi­en­nial Foun­da­tion. She worked as Gen­eral Co­or­di­na­tor of Man­i­festa Foun­da­tion, di­rec­tor of the 1st Athens Bi­en­nial, and is co-ed­i­tor to­gether with Elena Fil­ipovic and Solveig Ovstebo of the An­thol­ogy “The Bi­en­nial Reader”, Van Hal lives in Athens.
  • Mau­r­izio Bor­tolotti (IT) – mod­er­a­tor – is a cu­ra­tor and Pro­fes­sor at NABA. He has cu­rated ex­hi­bi­tions with Dan Gra­ham, Yona Fried­man, Tomas Sara­ceno, Kut­lug Ata­man, Rirkrit Tira­vanija, Oal­fur Elias­son.  He has lec­tured ex­ten­sively at Asian bi­en­ni­als and art in­sti­tu­tions in Eu­rope and was com­mis­sioner at  “Art Gwangju 2010”, 1° In­ter­na­tional Art Fair host by the Gwangju Bi­en­nale. He is based in Milan.

Sup­ported by the Con­sulate Gen­eral of The King­dom of The Nether­lands, SICA, and Fund BKVB.