Conceived exclusively for online audiences, works by Ana Prvački, Kira Nova, and nasa4nasa are presented in the form of episodes and web series on the Biennale’s social media channels and streamed on its website. These artists explore hybrid forms of individual and collective expression, protocols of intimacy, and codes of spontaneity, centering relationships among bodies transiting between the spiritual, the physical, and the virtual, beyond the grip of pandemic-induced alienation and social distancing.
Kira Nova’s series encourages viewers to access their extraordinary potential, whether through butoh techniques, cellular memories of animal, plant, or insect pasts, or other improvisations that embrace our limbs’ intelligence. nasa4nasa experiments with bodily practices of synchronicity, collaboration, symbiosis, and communal intelligence that interacts with and sometimes interrupts virtual mass consumption. Addressing topics that have come to define contemporary culture in Korea and beyond, ranging from environmental matters to movement and meditation exercises, Ana Prvacki’s videos attempt the subversion of social anxiety through the comedic potential of faux pas.
“Augmented Minds and the Incomputable” interweaves the exhibition’s generative topics, examining the spectrum of the extended mind and challenging the structural divisions imposed upon corporeal, technological, and spiritual intelligence. This program invites philosophers, system thinkers, and researchers to discuss shamanism, cosmotechnics, neuroscience, and digital labor in relation with Korea’s visual cultures and communal trauma. The three sessions explore non-hierarchical approaches to replenish the body-mind during this time of massive suffering and mobilize plural and coeval conditions of being and belonging.
The Biennale Hall hosts an adaptive program of initiations that tests the boundaries of resilience and resistance. Composed of live commissions and exhibited works, this organic procession inverts notions of the living and the dead, the live and the inanimate, “awakening” the works on view and rendering the exhibition a ceremonial ground where the communal mind plays a revitalizing role. Continuing their engagement with swarm intelligence, confluence dynamics, and the collective cyborg body, ∞OS (Dmitry Paranyushkin and Koo Des) has choreographed and scored the procession with a machine logic and live soundscape based on the audience’s physical movements. ∞OS has spatialized the choreography in collaboration with Biennale artists Angelo Plessas and Sangdon Kim to allow the procession body to morph between flow and rupture as environments of sound, movement, and elective affinities create kinetic vortexes across the exhibition’s five galleries.
Honorable Buddhist monk Jeong Kwan initiates the event with a sutra reading. Corporeal intelligence holds sway in the drumming of shaman Lin Li-Chun (Marina) and artist Yin-Ju Chen’s meditative journeys that summon altered states of consciousness. Angelo Plessas adds props and costumes that conjure talismans for the present, inviting repose, collectivity, and mental cleansing and renewal while also playfully adapting rituals of cyber shamanism in which networked intelligence braids with the body and the machine. A remote performance by Sámi singer Katarina Barruk animates the voices and wisdoms of her grandmothers and ancestors in a composition of Ume Sámi lyrics, vocals, and joik. Siyabonga Mthembu echoes, “We fetch songs from places, or songs fetch us from places,” and his work A Prayer for Healing draws upon South African jazz and Korean percussion techniques to release incantations that distill dissonance as a mode of living, mourning, and surmounting the discordances and clamors of the present.
Cecilia Bengolea continuously mobilizes and re-sculpts the bodily spectrum of tai chi, Taekkyeon, kung fu, and other practices inspired by Asian energy systems in workshops imagined in collaboration with children studying martial arts who lead the audience in respiratory exercises. Trajal Harrell punctuates the program with his take on butoh as “the dead dancing through the living” to navigate various theoretical, physical, sonic, and spiritual vocabularies in forms of communality. Exploring memory-keeping and equity through olfactory means, Sissel Tolaas has infused ecological leather armbands designed by Sruli Recht with a molecule prepared at her laboratory in Berlin to remind us that memory never belongs solely to the past but can be brought into the present through sensory intelligence. Virtual prosthetics drafted by Zeitguised probe the thresholds and potentialities of spectral forces and shadowy presences within the exhibition, as metabolic states of mind and matter converge and resound as Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning reveals its coda, an end that is also a resolution.
DIRECTED AND PRODUCED BY
Jinyoung Shin (apparat/US) x Swan Studio x StudioPEBS
∞OS (Dmitry Paranyushkin and Koo Des): Lyon eun Kwon, Yeji Yi, Yunju Lee, Jonghyeon Lee, Ji Hye Chung, Seungmin Choi | Siyabonga Mthembu: Samulnori HANMAC (Kyeonghoon Kim, Minsoo Kim, Minwoo Kim, Pyeongsup Kim, Jinwoo Park, Daegeun Cho) | Cecilia Bengolea: Janghun Ryu, Jihun Ryu, Eungyul Jo, Daegyeom Ahn, Yulgyeom Ahn, Jaegyu Lim, Jaewhi Cho, Eunchan Chun, Suyeon Han, Taekyung Han (Taekkyeon Advisor: Jeongseok Ahn) | Sissel Tolaas: Wristband designed by Sruli Recht
Commissioned by the 13th Gwangju Biennale and Arthub, with the support of Alcantara
Wristband produced with the support of Ecco.
A special thank you to the Embassy of Italy in Korea and the Italian Cultural Institute for their support.
Rising to the Surface: Practicing Solidarity Futures examines the tidal currents of people’s movements, the recurring spectre of oppressive regimes, and the inventive tools of current citizen protests. This forum brings together scholars, artists, activists, and civil society actors from around the world to address grassroots struggles in a discussion of shared vocabularies on strategies of public dissent, civic advocacy, healing public trauma, indigenous solidarity, and environmental activism. Online sessions focus on algorithmic violence and digital surveillance; struggles to protect land and waters from extractive infrastructures; and the feminist legacy of democratization movements from the 1980s onward.
Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning intends to consider critically questions of scale, sustainability, and value intimacy to ensure that the conversations and shared learning generated by the collective labor of biennale production can be accessed by wider audiences. Several of the artists and team members conducting site visits and research in Gwangju and nearby Jeju experienced recent political upheaval and people’s movements in their own regions. The site visits in Gwangju included meetings at the 5.18 Archive, May Mothers House, and Gwangju Trauma Centre, among others. While artistic works will not directly connect with these sites, it is important to us that the research process includes the experience of crucial local sites of mourning, dissent, care, and recovery.