The Istanbul Biennial Has Been Reimagined as a Compost Heap
26 March 2021
'There may be no great gathering, no orchestrated coming together in one time and place; instead it might be a dispersal, an invisible fermentation,' the curators said.
Istanbul Biennial curators Ute Meta Bauer, Amar Kanwar, and David Teh. Courtesy Istanbul Biennial.
The curators of the 17th Istanbul Biennial have reconceived the event in the face of the pandemic and a perceived increase in social and environmental dysfunction.
'Rather than being a great tree, laden with sweet, ripe fruit, this biennial seeks to learn from the birds' flight, from the once teeming seas, from the earth's slow chemistry of renewal and nourishment,' said the biennial's curatorial team in a statement.
The biennial's curators are: Ute Meta Bauer, Founding Director of NTU's Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore; artist Amar Kanwar; and David Teh, Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore.
'There may be no great gathering, no orchestrated coming together in one time and place; instead it might be a dispersal, an invisible fermentation,' they continued. 'Its threads will be drawn together, but they will multiply and diverge, at different paces, crossing here and there but with no noisy culmination, no final knot. Let this biennial be compost.'
A programme of activities across Istanbul, elsewhere in Turkey, and beyond will be organised under six themes: 'Geo-poetics / Elemental Politics', 'News', 'Pedagogy','Ancient Solutions','Synaesthesia', and 'An-archiving'.
Organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) with the support of sponsor Koç Holding, the event will take place from 11 September to 14 November 2021. However, organisers said, 'this edition will exceed the normal duration of biennials, starting before and ending long after the usual eight-week season' in an effort to 'revive the muscles of civic engagement'.
Artists and the organisers of other kinds of projects have been invited to share the raw materials of their practices to 'see what sprouts'. —[O]