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.
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.