Bergen Assembly originated from the Bergen Biennial Conference in 2009, in response to a proposal by the municipality of Bergen to establish an international biennial for contemporary art in the city. The conference, which discussed the question “To biennial or not to biennial?” with international curators, artists, and academics, was followed by The Biennial Reader (Hatje Cantz/Bergen Kunsthall, 2010)—to date the most comprehensive publication on the global history and practice of biennials or regularly occurring exhibitions and art events.
Following the conference and the publication, it was decided to make the planned biennial into a triennial. This was done to allow time for artistic research and in-depth studies. Bergen Assembly – An Initiative for Art and Research – itself is the outcome of such a long process of reflection and deliberation; a “perennial” model suggested by an advisory board consisting of participants from the Bergen Biennial Conference 2009.
Instead of looking for curatorial practice in the conventional sense of the term, the advisory board has invited two conveners to establish an assembly of artists, cultural producers and other intellectuals to read the emerging histories around us through a symptomatic or prognostic approach; to address possible futures rather than summarize the present.
The first edition of Bergen Assembly, convened by Ekaterina Degot and David Riff in 2013, was titled Monday Begins on Saturday and organized as a narrative unfolding across a series of exhibition spaces. The second edition, in 2016, was led by artist and composer Tarek Atoui, the freethought collective and the collaborative platform PRAXES, who each produced a distinct project. The last edition, Actually, the Dead Are Not Dead, convened in 2019 by Iris Dressler and Hans D. Christ, explored new notions of political assembly in collaboration with a core group of ten artists, curators, theorists and activists.
For its fourth edition taking place in 2022, Bergen Assembly has appointed the artist Saâdane Afif as convener.Source: en.bergenassembly.no