Advance notice has been given about the Biennale of Sydney for 2022. No one else should get overexcited about this but I’m trying to keep calm. I’ve never quite understood biennales however I accept they are to break boundaries and stimulate the viewers. The 23rd Biennale of Sydney is to be titled rivus, meaning ‘stream’ in Latin. The participants so far, will be from six continents and 33 countries. They are deliberately referred to as ‘participants’, not ‘artists’ because, as the announcement tells us, they will reflect ‘diverse talents, skills, practices and modes of being’.
Developing the rivus theme, the curators speak of waterways ‘as dynamic living systems with varying degrees of political agency’. It goes on: ‘Only recently have some plants, mountains and bodies of water been granted legal personhood. If we can recognise that a river has a voice what might they say?’ Rivus will enable ‘aqueous beings – rivers, wetlands (etc.) – to share a dialogue with artists, architects, designers, scientists and communities.’ This line of thinking raises questions: ‘Can a river sue over psychoactive sewage? Will oysters grow teeth in aquatic revenge? What do eels think? Are waves the ocean’s desire?’ These are direct quotes; you couldn’t make this stuff up.
It is entirely possible that I am too old to get the point of all this. The curators should try to get Matt Kean to open the 2021 Biennale. I imagine he’d be available; he’ll probably be premier by then.
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