Venice Biennale 2017: Intro & Contents

This year I’ll be doing some set of reviews of the 57th Venice Contemporary Art Biennale, which includes some eighty seven national pavilions and a hundred or so total events, which is no small feat.  Luckily, I’ve got about six weeks to see as much of it as possible.  Of particular interest are this year’s first time participants in the Biennale, namely Antigua and Barbuda, Kiribati, Nigeria, and Tunisia. Because my own personal and academic interests focus on chronocriticism (time-stuff), ecocriticism (environment-stuff), futurology (science fiction), and World’s Fairs.

Useful Links
Official Biennale Website
The Universe in Universe Map (Google Map, essentially)
and My Art Guides Map.

Below is an alphabetical list gleaned from My Art Guides that I’m most interested in seeing.


The Pavilion of Colours can be described as the “fireworks” at the end of the journey through the Arsenale, where all the questions presented in the preceding pavilions come together.

The Pavilion of Time and Infinity:
In the final chapter the notion of time re-emerges with a new metaphysical quality, within borgesian mazes and speculations of a future that is already embedded in the present, or in an ideal infinity.” #chronocriticism #borges

Andorra Murmuri. “Reflects on universal language with an in depth study of changes in material and the origins of form and sound. She works on reproducing the bowl as a container of truth and a sensory experience through its natural resonance. She purposely tears its base to reveal a mouth-like shape, thus transforming its essence and dismissing its conventional use.” (Castello 3701)

The Argentinean Pavilion  The Horse Problem.
“A frozen-scene in which a horse, a woman and a young man, obliged to face a crisis, react in different ways. The causes and the symptoms are connected as the destinies, in the artist opinion, of the human and the horse. The installation, focusing on the idea of nation, territories and national identities, gives a key to interpret history and future.” #Trojan #FearlessGirl (Arsenale)

Bosnia and Herzegovina “What would happen if we rewrote the history of art solely from the perspective of the representation of catastrophe?…Modern History teaches us that catastrophes are not external or independent to us: we are its demiurges.” (Cf. My old tour of the Met Museum of Art, “Moments of Indecision and Catastrophe”).

Canada A Way Out of the Mirror:
An unpublished series of photos depicts a wreck between a lumber truck and a train, which I anticipate will be a symbolic Huckleberry Finn steamship-crushes-raft moment. (Giardini)

CyprusThe Future of Color. “Colour once was key to politics and trade in the Mediterranean. Fabric manufacturing, medicine, painting, and cosmetics alike depended on pigment supplies and colour binding agents like alum. Main alum resources lay in the Eastern Mediterranean. So Rome banned alum imports to curb Constantinople’s influence. Yet, despite the embargo, around 1500 the agent was still in circulation via the Venetian trade network, including Cyprus. “The Future of Colour” takes this story as the point of de­par­ture for invoking the spirit of unstoppable exchange — in the key of living colour.” (Castello 3865)

Estonia If Only You Could See What I’ve Seen with Your Eyes.
“The exhibition takes the tourist out of a comfortable mode of touristic art viewing into a more claustrophobic space, more similar to a sci-fi movie set than an exhibition hall.” (Palazzo Malipiero)

Finland The Aalto Natives. Who can turn down Aalto? (Giardini)

France Studio Venezia.
“Unique musical instruments, some of which were created for the occasion.”
Count me in.

Germany New Production for the German Pavilion. Despite the tepid title, I’m told this one is fantastic. (Giardini)

Greece Laboratory of Dilemmas.
“Narrative video installation–based on Aeschylus’ theater play ‘Iketides’ which poses a dilemma between saving the Foreigner and maintaining the safety of the Native.” #refugees

Grenada The Bridge. “Jasen de Caires Taylor is world renowned for his underwater sculpture parks…” Shame I left my snorkel at home.. #globalwarming (Zattare 417)

Hungary Peace on Earth.
“Drawing on the notion of futurology, Gyula Varnai’s exhibition evokes the utopias of the past and confronts them with the challenges of the present.” #utopia #futurology (Giardini)

Indonesia 1001 Martian Homes. Venice/Jakarta, Tintin, globalization. #MartianChronicles.

Ireland Tremble Tremble.
“Inspired by the 1970s Italian ‘wages for housework’ movement, during which women chanted ‘Tremate, tremate, le streghe sono tornate! / Tremble tremble, the witches have returned!….Jones’ proposes the return of the witch as a feminist archetype.”
Io tremo.. (Arsenale)

Israel Sun Stand Still. “Multi-site-specific installation reflecting the artist’s fascination with the desire to stop time….” #chronocriticism #FOMO (Giardini)

Japan Turned Upside Down, It’s a Forest.
So is Venice, isn’t it?—A forest on the sea? (Giardini)

Lebanon ŠamaŠ. “Questions the theme of the sacred in our civilisation through a spatial, temporal and sound dialogue between Ur in Iraq, Beirut in Lebanon, and Aleppo in Syria.” (Arsenale Novissimo)

Lithuania R.
“R is for recall, record, relate, refer, resemble, respect, ray, radium, rhenium, romantic, real and rhyme. R is the most complex letter of the alphabet, which integrates the entire spectrum of geometric shapes and meanings spanning the boundaries of the ration and imaginary.” Riveting. (Scuola San Pasquale)

Macedonia Red Carnival. “The show explores the new visual communication in Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and the United States using a metaphorical carnival housed in Fiction Film with James Bond in starring role.” I’m both shaken and stirred. (Arsenale)

New Zealand Emissaries.
“A meditation on ideas generated by cartographic endeavours and scientific exploration, aiming to unravel Enlightenment ideals and philosophy, the colonial impulse, and the distant gaze of power.” Colonialist cartographical voyeurism? Off the charts! (Arsenale)

Nigeria How About Now? A reflection on “the now and narrative firmly rooted in the present.” #chronocriticism (Santa Croce 2059)

Peru Land of Tomorrow.
#utopia #worldoftomorrow #tomorrowland #worldsfair (Arsenale)

Seychelles Slowly Quietly. “Presents a ‘creep’ of 16 life-size giant tortoises, each individually customised to bring aspects of Seychelles environment and culture to Venice.” I only need a minute to see this one. #temporalscaling #slowtime #chronocriticism (Giardini?)

Syrian Arab Republic Everyone Admires Palmyra’s Greatness.
A tribute. (Ex Cinema Chiese del Redentore)

Tuvalu Climate Canary. “The artist visits work sbetween Venice and Taipei, and bases his research on a simple question: ‘When extreme weather rages around the world, how could art take a stand, and furthermore, play a role in social reform?”

USA Tomorrow is Another Day.
Basically our national motto since November 8th.


Collateral Events

Catalonia in Venice 2017 La Venezia che non si vede“A sensorial interpretation of the city of canals, created in collaboration wiht people who are blind or visually impaired, a collective who uses their senses in a different and unique way, giving the possibility to discover Venice through different experiences.” #disabilitystudies #synaesthetics (Calle Quintavalle)

A Bonsai of my Dream — Works by Wong Cheng Pou “The title suggests the artist’s intention to cultivate his dreams as a bonsai, like ancient Chinese literati did, planting miniatures in small pots to reflects their desire of simple and elegant spiritual life.(Arsenale, Campo della Tana)

Tehching Hsieh Doing Time. One of my favorite time theorists. A collection of a series of his yearlong works. #chronocriticism (Castello 4209)


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