Having its premiere in Gwangju, South Korea on the occasion of the 9th Gwangju Biennale, the 1st World Biennale forum, SHIFTING GRAVITY is aimed to diffuse knowledge and promote the awareness of international biennials while acknowledging their diversity. Co-directed by Hou Hanru & Ute Meta Bauer, the case studies being presented include the Taipei Biennial, the Riwaq Biennale, the Sharjah Biennial, the Gwangju Biennale,the Singapore Biennale, the Yokohama Triennale, the Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, the Aichi Triennale, the Shanghai Biennale, the Emergency Biennale, the Istanbul Biennial, the Guangzhou Triennial, theUral Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art, the Busan Biennale, Seoul Media City, the Tbilisi Triennial, the Hong Kong & Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism Architecture, the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale, the Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT), the Biennale Jogja, and Land Art Mongolia LAM.
Apart from a few important meetings that took place in the past, the World Biennial Forum is the first professional forum for biennale practitioners globally. Speaking of the importance of these public forums, Dr Yongwoo Lee, President of the Gwangju Biennale Foundation says: “Contemporary art is always the central context of any biennale. However, in terms of its mode of practice, one might say that a biennale is not merely an artistic venue as it is also a venue for diversifying the humanities and social sciences. In other words, the spectrum of artistic interpretation in biennales is very wide, and they thus function as platforms for broad-ranging and emergent visual cultures. Today’s biennale goers go “to study” various aspects of contemporary society rather than “to see” an exhibition.”
Addressing issues related to democracy, migration and cosmopolitanism, the forum will present keynote speeches by Wang Hui, Professor in the Department of Chinese Language and Literature at the Tsinghua University, Beijing, Nikos Papastergiadis, Professor for Cultural Studies and Media & Communications at the University of Melbourne, and Chantal Mouffe, Professor of Political Theory and Director of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster, London.
The forum is open to the public and admission is free of charge.