Gwangju Biennale 2016 : The Eighth Climate (What does art do?)
Until 6 November 2016
This year, the Gwangju Biennale is titled: The Eighth Climate (What does art do?). With the reference of “eighth climate,” which can be described as a world of visionary, spiritual and immaterial qualities, the works presented will explore art as a social-scientific medium. The artists, who have spent time in Gwangju participating in different projects together with local communities, will be responding to the question of, “What does art do?” Fernando Garcia-Dory, an artist who is based in Madrid and Berlin, was in Gwangju this past April for his research and visited Hansaebong Dure, a community that practices open-field cultivation. Through his art, he asks questions about Gwangju’s environment and ecosystem, such as: “Can artists predict social changes first and do something for the future?” You will be able to see works by 119 artists from 37 different countries and also learn about meaningful programs that have been produced through their artistic collaborations.
Attention is directed precisely to art works and projects, addressing the agency of art in terms of the question, “what does art do?”. A central part of this interest in the performative aspect of art is its projective and imaginative qualities – art’s active relationship to the future.
Other concerns of this edition of the biennale is the mediation of art, its embeddedness in various contexts and the potential of connecting dots between already existing activities and people near and afar.
The notion of the eighth climate, or “the imaginal”, goes back to the 12thcentury Persian mystic and philosopher Sohravardi, and was elaborated by the 20th century French philosopher Henri Corbin. It is an addition to the seven physical climates of the earth identified by ancient Greek geographers.
Unlike in the seven earthly climates, the eighth climate is not based on a separation of matter and spirit, history and myth – it is ontologically real and existing, but beyond our ordinary way of perceiving and understanding things. The eighth climate establishes real imaginative knowledge and function, while escaping rationalism as we know it. The eighth climate is also known as mundus imaginalis in Latin (the imaginal world).
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