Enwezor’s questions on All the World’s Futures

Words by Riccardo Barluzzi
March 9, 2015

“How can artists, thinkers, writers, composers, choreographers, singers, and musicians, through images, objects, words, movement, actions, lyrics, sound bring together publics in acts of looking, listening, responding, engaging, speaking in order to make sense of the current upheaval? What material, symbolic or aesthetic, political or social acts will be produced in this dialectical field of references to give shape to an exhibition which refuses confinement within the boundaries of conventional display models?”

These are the questions that Okwui Enwezor pose to 136 artists from 53 countries, of whom 89 will be showing here for the first time.

All the World’s Futures is the title chosen for the 56th International Art Exhibition (May 9 – November 22):

“Rather than one overarching theme that gathers and encapsulates diverse forms and practices into one unified field of vision, All the World’s Futures is informed by a layer of intersecting Filters. These Filters are a constellation of parameters that circumscribe multiple ideas, which will be touched upon to both imagine and realize a diversity of practices. In 2015, the 56th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia will employ the historical trajectory of the Biennale itself, over the course of its one hundred and twenty years existence, as a Filter through which to reflect on both the current “state of things” and the “appearance of things”. All the World’s Futures will take the present “state of things” as the ground for its dense, restless, and exploratory project that will be located in a dialectical field of references and artistic disciplines.”

“With each Filter superimposed on the other, the presentation of All the World’s Futures will play host to a Parliament of Forms whose orchestration and episodic unfolding will be broadly global in scope. At the core of the project is the notion of the exhibition as stage where historical and counter-historical projects will be explored.”

Liveness: On epic duration

The concept of liveness and epic duration serve two complementary purposes: they suggest the idea that All the World’s Futures is both a spatial and temporal manifestation that is relentlessly incomplete, structured by a logic of unfolding, a program of events that can be experienced at the intersection of liveness and display. It will be a dramatization of the space of the exhibition as a continuous, unfolding, and unceasing live event.

Garden of Disorder

This Filter takes the historical ground of la Biennale in the Giardini as a metaphor through which to explore the current “state of things,” namely the pervasive structure of disorder in global geopolitics, environment and economics. Proposals that take the concept of the garden as a point of departure will be worked through by artists who have been invited to realized new sculptures, films, performances, and installations for All the World’s Futures (of works on display, 159 are expressly realized for this year edition).

Capital: A Live Reading

Beyond the distemper and disorder in the current “state of things,” there is one pervasive preoccupation that has been at the heart of our time and modernity. That preoccupation is the nature of Capital, both its fiction and reality. Capital is the great drama of our age.
The exploitation of nature through its commodification as natural resources, the growing structure of inequality and the weakening of broader social contract have recently compelled a demand for change. Since the publication of Karl Marx’s massive Capital: Critique of Political Economy in 1867, the structure and nature of capital has captivated thinkers and artists, as well as inspired political theorists, economists, and ideological structures across the world.

All the World’s Futures will introduce the ARENA, an active space dedicated to continuous live programming across disciplines and located within the Central Pavilion in the Giardini.

“Designed by award-winning Ghanaian/British architect David Adjaye, the ARENA will serve as a gathering-place of the spoken word, the art of the song, recitals, film projections, and a forum for public discussions.

“Carrying out the concept of “Liveness: On Epic Duration,” the Art Biennale has commissioned several new scores and artists’ performances, to be presented continuously in the ARENA. Here, we are especially interested in the concept of the song and the potential for the human voice to be an instrument that carries forward the pace of a narrative.”

While the central focus of All the World’s Futures is on an extensive body of new works commissioned from artists specifically for the 56th Art Biennale—an unprecedented range of projects exhibited for the first time—the Exhibition will also pay close attention to a selected iteration of historical perspectives by artists both living and deceased. Organized as small anthologies, these compact surveys range from a series of text-based neon sculptures by Bruce Nauman, dating from 1972 to the early 1980s, to an atlas of Harun Farocki‘s filmography, which totals 87 films. In addition, the Art Biennale will present works by such seminal figures as the photographer Walker Evans, with a complete set of the original edition of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men; from filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein to multimedia artist Chris Marker; installation artist Isa Genzken to sculptor-composer Terry Adkins; author-film director Alexander Kluge to installation artist Hans Haacke; conceptual artistTeresa Burga to performance artist Fabio Mauri; sculptor Melvin Edwards to painterMarlene Dumas; artist-activist Inji Efflatoun to earthworks artist Robert Smithson, painter Emily Kngwarreye to film director Ousmane Sembène; sculptor Ricardo Breyto conceptual artist Adrian Piper; painters Tetsuya Ishida to Georg Baselitz.”

“This gathering of practices from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America searches for new connections in the artists’ commitment to examining the human condition, or exploring specific ideas and areas of production within the artists’ oeuvre.”

A number od Special Projects include artists’ groups such as The Invisible Borders Trans-African Project, Abounaddara, Gulf Labor Coalition, e-flux Journal, Creative Time.

Here the complete list of artists invited.

The National Participations will be 89. The countries participating for the first time in the Exhibition are Grenada, Mauritius, Mongolia, Republic of Mozambique, andRepublic of Seychelles. Other countries are participating this year after years of absence: Ecuador (1966), the Philippines (1964), and Guatemala(1954).

44 Collateral Events, approved by the curator of the International Exhibition and promoted by non profit national and international institutions, will present their exhibitions and initiatives in various locations within the city of Venice.

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