The 13th Gwangju Biennale, Minds Rising Spirits Tuning, takes place from 1 April – 9 May, 2021

April 7, 2021

Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning sets out to examine the spectrum of the extended mind through artistic and theoretical means. Directed by Defne Ayas and Natasha Ginwala, the 13th Gwangju Biennale (1 April–9 May, 2021) features a dynamic programme encompassing an exhibition, a performance programme, an online publishing platform and publications, and a series of public forums bringing together artists, theoretical scientists, and systems thinkers.

The Biennale argues for the primacy of plurality, positing that points of origin and influence ought to be accessed not only through the dominant technological systems and mechanic vocabularies traceable to the West but also relate to heterodox ancestries.

In challenging the structural divisions imposed upon corporeal, technological, and spiritual intelligence, Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning delves into a broad set of cosmologies, activating planetary life-systems, queer technologies, and modes of communal survival. By investigating how such diverse practices transact with multitudinous forms of life, the 13th Gwangju Biennale examines how they contend with the future horizon of cognitive capitalism and planetary imperialisms, as well as the present dimension of neural networks and other techno-spiritual emergences that populate our computational biosphere.

In Gwangju, a city that has long been acutely familiar with resistance building and communal trauma, it is the Biennale’s intent to bring mind-expanding practices together with historically conscious propositions. The 40th anniversary of the May 18 Democratic Uprising and people’s movement in Gwangju provides an impetus to metabolise journeys through the threshold between life and death—the middle world of the undead—to extend analyses of current strategies of solidarity building and global alliances, and to strive for a deeper understanding of the intrinsic relationship between healing, dissent, and renewal.

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