I was expecting the curator’s ideas of transience, instability and uncertainties to be translated into powerful works that directly engage with some of today’s most pressing and depressing concerns. I got very little of that. I got plenty of clouds (including a couple of atomic ones), foam, puddles, waves and fountains though.

Fortunately, the biennale also features a surprisingly high number of sound works, extraordinary visual and emotional experiences and, here and there, a couple of more politically-minded artworks

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Socle du Monde, the oldest Danish biennale is one of the most aesthetically pleasing art events i’ve attended over the past few years. But because the event is inspired by the masterpiece of a renowned exponent of conceptual art, it is also a biennale that conveys ideas, provocations and moments for reflection. I’ll get back next week with a post discussing these ideas and provocations but right now, here are some visual impressions of the biennale

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The case studies in this volume include the analysis of the shrapnel fragments in a room struck by drones in Pakistan, the reconstruction of a contested shooting in the West Bank, the architectural recreation of a secret Syrian detention center from the memory of its survivors, a blow-by-blow account of a day-long battle in Gaza, and an investigation of environmental violence and climate change in the Guatemalan highlands and elsewhere

When Jonáš Gruska is not busy giving workshops on urban sonification, creating his own recording instruments, making electromagnetic fields audible or organizing a solar-powered (experimental) music festival called SVUK, you’ll find him under bridges, inside bridges, in ventilation systems or near oil refineries exploring the psychoacoustic properties of sound in industrial spaces

Second and last chapter of my report from the GAMERZ festival, one of the very few French festivals that doesn’t play it safe nor stiff with a programme that endorses the unexpected, a laid-back atmosphere, a few famous names but also an impressive line-up of fresh talents. Plus, it’s in Aix-en-Provence so as the French say “y’a pas photo!” (which means something like ‘it’s a no-brainer.’)

For 5 years, the Gulf Labor Coalition, a group of artists and writers, has been pressuring Saadiyat’s Western cultural brands to ensure worker protections. Gulf Labor has coordinated a boycott of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and pioneered direct action that has involved spectacular museum occupations. As part of a year-long initiative, an array of artists, writers, and activists submitted a work, a text, or an action

“Furl” combines Electroencephalography (EEG) with advances in soft silicone casting of “air muscles”. The introduction of soft robotics replaces the mechanical principles in interactive architecture through a biological paradigm. EEG allows sensing of human brain functioning so that our environments begin moving and responding to our very thoughts

Concentrating on the work of 18 leading photographers from the last 80 years, the exhibition begins in 1935 with Berenice Abbott, who captured New York’s transformation into modern metropolis. From there, it journeys through affluent California in the 1940s, India’s independence in the 50s, the decline of industrial Europe in the 60s and 70s and culminates in an exploration of the contemporary urban experience

What makes the city of the future? How do you heal a divided city?

In Radical Cities, Justin McGuirk travels across Latin America in search of the activist architects, maverick politicians and alternative communities already answering these questions. From Brazil to Venezuela, and from Mexico to Argentina, McGuirk discovers the people and ideas shaping the way cities are evolving

Most people are fascinated by ruins. The appeal of the crumbling and the decaying is such that it has its own term in photography. It is called “ruin porn” and Detroit is one of its most celebrated subjects. Tate Britain currently has an exhibition about the mournful, thrilling, comic and perverse uses of ruins in art. It is called Ruin Lust. Not because Tate curators are prude and proper but because they are erudite, the title of the show, i read, comes from the 18th-century German architectural word ‘Ruinenlust’

Few people would associate the words “English heritage” with car showrooms, repair garages, filling stations, traffic lights, inner ring roads, multi-storey car parks, and drive-through restaurants. Yet, the exhibition at Wellington Arch shows that the car’s impact on the physical environment needn’t be reduced to ruthless out pours of concrete and “wayside eyesores”

While emphasizing the multiple correspondences between collectives and groups like Arte Povera, Archizoom, Superstudio, and figures such as Ettore Sottsass and Alessandro Mendini, The Italian Avant-Garde: 1968-1976 also highlights previously overlooked spaces, works, and performances generated by Zoo, Gruppo 9999, and Cavart. Newly commissioned interviews and essays by historians and curators shed light on the era, while contemporary practitioners discuss its complex legacy