Gwangju Biennale 2020: Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning

Gwangju Biennale 2020

Gwangju Biennale 2020
Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning

September 4–November 29, 2020

Public Program: October 1–2, 2019
Opening Date: September 4, 2020

First announced Gwangju Biennale 2020 artists:
Pacita Abad, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Cecilia Bengolea, Yin-Ju Chen, Hyuntaek Cho, Vaginal Davis, Patricia Domínguez, Cian Dayrit, John Gerrard, Sonia Gomes, Trajal Harrell, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Gözde Ilkin, Sangdon Kim, Sylbee Kim, Liliane Lijn, Candice Lin, Emo de Medeiros, Ana María Millán, Kira Nova, Fernando Palma Rodríguez, Outi Pieski, Angelo Plessas, Gala Porras-Kim, Judy Radul, Sahej Rahal, Jacolby Satterwhite, Alexandra Sukhareva, Sissel Tolaas, Cecilia Vicuña, Shen Xin, and more to come.

It has been said that we are experiencing an intelligence explosion that is broadly understood as the emergence of superintelligence. And yet, questions abound: where precisely can organic intelligence be found? To what extent can it be pursued in the human brain and also in the heart, as the Korean term, would imply? Let us avow, then, the dissemination of the “communal mind”—continuously emergent and rooted in healing technologies, indigenous life-worlds, matriarchal systems, animism, and anti-systemic kinship.

Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning sets out to examine the spectrum of the extended mind through artistic and theoretical means. Directed by Defne Ayas and Natasha Ginwala, the Gwangju Biennale 2020 will feature a dynamic program encompassing an exhibition, a performance program, an online publishing platform and publications, and a series of public forums bringing together artists, theoretical scientists, and systems thinkers. The Biennale argues for the primacy of plurality, positing that points of origin and influence ought to be accessed not only through the dominant technological systems and machinic vocabularies traceable to the West but also relate to heterodox ancestries.

In challenging the structural divisions imposed upon corporeal, technological, and spiritual intelligence, Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning will delve into a broad set of cosmologies, activating planetary life-systems, queer technologies, and modes of communal survival. By investigating how such diverse practices transact with multitudinous forms of life, the Gwangju Biennale 2020 will examine how they contend with the future horizon of cognitive capitalism and planetary imperialisms, as well as the present dimension of neural networks and other techno-spiritual emergences that populate our computational biosphere. We feel convinced—living as we are through a traumatic interregnum—that the present co-evolution with electronic intelligence and algorithmic regimes needs to be addressed from a planetary perspective. How then can we interpret the incomputable nature of this transition?

In Gwangju, a city that has long been acutely familiar with resistance building and communal trauma, it is the Biennale’s intent to bring mind-expanding practices together with historically conscious propositions. The 40th anniversary of the May 18 Democratic Uprising and people’s movement in Gwangju provides an impetus to metabolize journeys through the threshold between life and death—the middle world of the undead—to extend analyses of current strategies of solidarity building and global alliances, and to strive for a deeper understanding of the intrinsic relationship between healing, dissent, and renewal.

Beginning with a public program on October 1–2, 2019, Gwangju Biennale 2020 intends to consider critically questions of scale, sustainability, and value intimacy to ensure that the conversations and shared learning generated by the collective labor of biennale production can be accessed by wider audiences. Held in conjunction with the participating artists’ first site visits to Gwangju, the program will open the dialogues that usually remain internal to the Biennale’s production. Invited artists have been paired with local interlocutors for various gatherings: to join a ritual drawn from Dionysian and Indian rites led by Angelo Plessas; to travel through sonic registers and shamanic figurations of the lower world with Yin-Ju Chen; to interpret engineered sculptures as spirit beings from Aztec cosmology and Nahua worldview with Fernando Palma Rodríguez; and to encounter choreographed machine learning with Judy Radul. Sangdon Kim will inquire into the politics of the dead and disappeared as part of the unresolved historical legacy of Gwangju. Sylbee Kim, in conversation with curator Kim Younghee, will explore how the metaphysical aspects of religion connect to contemporary prospects of immortality. John Gerrard will link an intensive engagement with neural networks and deep learning to a protagonist drawn from Celtic paganism. Gala Porras-Kim will query taxonomies of living and dead objects while contesting linguistic protocols of conservation. The Gwangju Biennale 2020 program is open to the public with registration. RSVP to publicprogram@gwangjubiennale.org.

Artistic Directors: Defne Ayas and Natasha Ginwala
Associate / Assistant Curators: Joowon Park / Michelangelo Corsaro and Krisztina Hunya
Research and Programming Associate: Özge Ersoy
Producers: Charles Gohy and Davide Quadrio
Exhibition Architect: Diogo Passarinho
Graphic Identity: WORKS and Studio Remco van Bladel
Editorial Team: Young-Jun Tak and Jill Winder

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