7th Berlin Biennale highlights political art

0 Posted by - May 7, 2012 - Blog, Editorial, Installations, Performance, Public art, Reviews, Sound, Visual art, Word

When you go to the website for Berlin’s 7th Biennale, you encounter a stream of changing photographs from occupy and protest movements from around the world — Venezia, Toronto, Florence, Malacky, Athens and on and on. It is emblematic of curator Artur Zmijewski’s approach the largest art exhibition in Germany, which opened on April 27.

In the forward to Forget Fear, the accompanying publication of the Berlin’s 7th Biennale, Zmijewski explains that “Art needs to be reinvented, but not as some crafty option to aesthecize human problems of the impoverished majority. What we need is more art that offers its tools, time and resources to solve the economic problems of the impoverished majority. For the actual limit to the possibilities of left-meaning art is effective engagement with material issues: unemployment, impoverishment, poverty.”

Zmijewski wants to transform the art of impotence and individualist survival, which is how he describes contemporary art markets and the institutionalized art world of galleries and curatorial careers, into art that is “genuinely transformative and formative”, art that “practices politics”, and art that is “real action in the real world and [that bids] a final farewell to the illusion of artistic immunity”.

Over the coming weeks, Art Threat will be profiling some of the artists and their contributions to the 7th Berlin Biennale (which runs until July 1), and some of the events that will be happening in Berlin in the coming months. In today’s report, quick look at two upcoming events: a workshop for using art in political protest, and a performance installation that features interviews with 16 economists, historians, thinkers from around the world speaking on viable economic alternatives to capitalism.

Workshop with Anna Jermolaewa and Srđa Popovič

On May 19 at the at KW Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin), artist/activist Anna Jermolaewa and activist/scholar Srđa Popovič will be leading a workshop on the role of creativity, art, design and music in nonviolent conflict. Participants are encouraged to design and perform a nonviolent action addressing issues that women are facing in their society. Videos or photographs of this action and a short report indicating basic information about your campaign should be sent to the following address until 15.5.2012: norevolutionwithoutinnovation@gmail.com.

Srđa Popovič is the founder of the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies in Belgrade (CANVAS), a non-profit educational institution researching and sharing knowledge on nonviolent strategies and tactics to be used in nondemocratic countries. His book, Nonviolent Struggle 50 Crucial Points, co-authored with Andrej Milivojevic and Slobodan Djinovic, is a widely circulating manual on public mobilization for human rights and democracy activists worldwide.

Anna Jermolaewa is a Russian artist and activist who has been organizing demonstrations critical of the USSR since the 1980s. She uses traditional methods of protest and also demonstrations and events intended to ridicule the regime.

Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies

Every Tuesday from 3 pm – 6pm, during the Biennale, Austrian artist Oliver Ressler will be presenting interviews with 16 economists, political scientists, authors, and historians speaking about diverse concepts and models for alternative economies and societies, all of which share a rejection of the capitalist system of rule.

Oliver Ressler‘s work has exhibited extensively around the world.  His art and practice analyzes and criticizes power relations but seeks to go beyond a simple analysis and criticism. His films are available for presentations by activists. He produces posters, billboards, billboard-objects, and magazines.

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