The 20th Biennale of Sydney, inspired by a quote from leading science fiction author William Gibson, is titled The future is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed. This edition of the Biennale will be presented at seven main venues conceived as ‘embassies of thought’. It is this metaphor we are looking to develop when thinking about the themes for the Biennale. Understood more as temporary settings rather than fixed locales – transient homes for constellations of thought – the embassies are: Cockatoo Island (Embassy of the Real); Art Gallery of New South Wales (Embassy of Spirits); Carriageworks (Embassy of Disappearance); Artspace (Embassy of Non-Participation); Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (Embassy of Translation); and a bookshop (Embassy of Stanislaw Lem). For the first time, a former train station, Mortuary Station (Embassy of Transition) will also be a Biennale venue.
Artistic Director Stephanie Rosenthal said: ‘If each era posits its own view of reality, what is ours? One of the key ideas this Biennale explores is how the common distinction between the virtual and the physical has become ever more elusive. The embassies are also inspired by the unique locations and individual histories of each venue; they will provide safe spaces for thinking, convening for the three-month duration of the Biennale. A focus on ‘in-between spaces’ is key: in terms of our interaction with the digital world, displacement from and occupation of spaces and land, and the interconnections and overlaps between politics and financial power structures.’
In 2016 the exhibition extends beyond Sydney Harbour and the Central Business District, with more than a third of artworks to be presented at venues in Sydney’s vibrant inner west. In addition to artworks presented across the seven embassies, the 20th Biennale of Sydney has commissioned a series of performances and site-specific installations taking place at locations throughout inner Sydney, including a work created by Bo Christian Larsson at Camperdown Memorial Rest Park.
- Courtesy of 20th Biennale of Sydney