The 3rd Ural Industrial biennial of contemporary art will shift attention from context to actors by raising the question about the relation of contemporary art to the mechanisms of social mobilization that succeeded mass instruments of mobilization characteristic of the industrial society.

3rd Ural Industrial biennial of contemporary art

Mobilization Strategies

9. September – 10. November, 2015

Ekaterinburg and Ural region


Post-historic theories of the post-industrial, postmodern, and post-Fordist society continuously emphasize the mobility of a contemporary person, unrestricted by national borders, labor discipline and persistent identities. Within this narrative, contemporary art with its more or less non-conventional exhibition spaces is primarily a space for a flaneur, the space devoid of sacral connotations and normative obligations of a traditional art museum or an industrial enterprise.  The space of an industrial shop converted into a gallery stops being a disciplinary space of labor mobilization, but does not become a space of traditional “high” culture; instead it is transformed into an amorphous “optional” space of freelance mobility.

It is evident, though, that mobilization, as history itself, refuses being relegated to the past and remains current and relevant, from a local mobilization of certain groups to all-national movements. This mobilization can unite people of the same class, national, cultural, ethnic, religious background or those who adhere to certain values or cause; it can be temporary or long-term. It can operate within ideological and mythological space, be exclusionary or open.

Can art be part of this process? Can it serve as a stimulus, lend a platform or provide a reflexive understanding of mobilization processes in contemporary society? The answer is not obvious. However, it is contemporary art that produces the space of alternative as a new optics of reception of the present, as a projection into the future, as an understanding of the collective and the individual past. By its withdrawal from the topic of mobilization and giving it at the mercy of other art practices, contemporary art risks losing both a considerable audience and its own contemporaneity.

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