7th Gwangju Biennale
Global Institute: Experiments in Transnational Education
The Global Institute as part of the 7th Gwangju Biennale Annual Report: A Year in Exhibitions is a two-part educational program with Session 1 (August 11~August 23, 2008) and Session 2 (September 24~September 27, 2008).
The Global Institute Session 1: Workshops in Seoul and Gwangju
(August 11~August 23, 2008)
The Session 1, held in collaboration with Korea National University of Arts, Seoul and Chonnam National University, Gwangju, is organized into a series of workshops and clinics within two programs, Open Studio and Arenas and Systems. In both programs, participants will work with a rich community of artists, curators, critics, and intellectuals, to examine the theoretical and historical questions currently being raised around contemporary art.
Open Studio begins with the interrogation of the current status of the artist studio and in so doing will raise questions about where a studio is located in the changing context of global art practice. At a time when the artist’s studio has shifted into a veritable factory floor, a kind of manufactory employing legions of skilled labor, considerations of artistic production could be seen as moving from the ethos of small scale production to one of hyper production, a condition exemplified by the practices of contemporary artists from Warhol to Murakami, Hirst, Koons, Matthew Barney, Olafur Eliasson, Ai Weiwei, Zhang Huang. In this series of seminars and colloqiuia, invited speakers, artists, architects will consider issues of conditions of production, examining how artists shift between multivalent platforms of thinking and making. The meetings will address scales, modes, contexts, models, and conditions of production, from art academies, artist residencies, workshops, travel grants, independent study programs as perhaps part of the global manufactory of itinerant trajectories. Open Studio considers the studio as a site of inquiry, experimentation, and elaboration, a space for meditation on various modes of production.
Arenas and Systems In a year when 11 international Biennials, Triennials, and the Olympic Quadrennial will open between June and September in the Asia Pacific region in 11 cities bidding for global cultural relevance with the Beijing Olympics sited at the core, it may be possible to suggest, that we may be witnessing the beginning of the Asian century. In the same way the 19th century was the European century and the 20th century was the American century, there is no doubt, that Asia today represents and incubates the same forces and energies of modernity of the last two centuries. Given this scenario, new situations and institutions are emerging in Asia that elaborate a new and unique deployment of the politics of spectacle. This emergence requires critical consideration and reflection. As with Open Studio, Arenas and Systems will involve various curators, critics, artists, and thinkers will be conducted in the form of a series of workshops, seminars, and colloquia to take place as the exhibition begins in early September.
Lecturers and workshop leaders include: this year’s Gwangju Biennale’s Artistic Director and curators (Okwui Enwezor, Ranjit Hoskote, Hyunjin Kim, Claire Tancons, Abdellah Karroum, Sun Hyen Park, Patrick Flores, Jang Un Kim), participating artists( Bingyi Huang, Juan Maidagan, Jin Won Lee, MYDADA, Tania Bruguera and Arte de Conducta, Karyn Olivier, Jewyo Rhii, etc.), and renowned professors of Korea National University of Arts and Chonnam National University (Sunjung Kim, Hyungmin Pai, Suk Won Jang, Soo Jong Yoon and so on).
The Global Institute Session 2: Pre-Seminars and International Symposium in Gwangju (September 24 to 27, 2008)
The Global Institute Session 2 is held in collaboration with Korea National University of Arts, Seoul; Chonnam National University, Gwangju; the San Francisco Art Institute; and the Royal College of Art, London. The Session 2 is composed of Pre-Seminars (where selected students from four universities discuss issues and theories developed in readings included in the course package) and International Symposium (where invited cultural theorists, intellectuals, art historians, critics, and curators present their papers to stimulate discussions).
Both Pre-Seminars and International Symposium aim to consider the notion of the Politics of Spectacle and the Global Exhibition in response to changes shaping the distribution of global culture. Two types of cultural convergence make this moment ripe for speculative review around the productivity of the exhibition form: first, this year marks the anniversaries of May 1968 student rebellion and workers strike in France, and the May 18, 1980 Gwangju civil uprising. The continuing examination of these two events in the recasting of the history of radical politics and the emergence in their wake of radical cultural practices provides a contemporary theoretical horizon around which to think forms of contemporary art and activism. Second, it is also the latest defining moment of a rapidly metastasizing system of art fairs, biennials, and mega exhibitions.
Anchored by the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the convergence of these events and the various national and regional agendas ? cultural, economic, political ? that define them, exemplify both the magnitude of the changes taking place in Asia, but also the scale and ambition within which they are occurring. Such scale and ambition, and the confidence with which they are pursued have led to the idea of this moment possibly being the Asian century. Clearly, it is no longer a question of whether or not biennials or similar formations are here to stay ? but rather, to see how they might become productive, to both fit and surpass the horizon of spectacular manifestations around which they are designed and also to articulate the various forms of cultural politics shaping their growth.