press release

General Introduction of 2004 Gwangju Biennale

A Grain of Dust A Drop of Water The Gwangju Biennale 2004, curated by Yongwoo Lee, is a cultural forum that will experiment with established cultural actions, those that are centered around the specialist and cultural power, and transform them into a new concept: the spectator's direct participation in cultural creation. The Biennale's theme, " A Grain of Dust A Drop of Water", will be the source of an active discourse on visual culture's contrasting and fragmented viewpoints and their acceptance or rejection as a form of cultural discourse. The Biennale's proposed discussion on culture implies a reordering of essential values and, specifically, a redefining of the norms of those aesthetic decisions that, until now, have been determined by the powerful fiefdom of the elite. It also implies an experience of the various mechanisms that form the stage where individuals and groups distinct from one another express their expectations by transcending the established system of power that recognizes and produces art.

The Gwangju Biennale 2004, which will be held from September 10th to November 13th, is the place where one will be able to read art and culture as instruments of vibrant social networking and to read the mechanisms of its support system as the ambition that art, through popular communication, can function like a thoughtful and beautiful present for the spectator. Although "A Grain of Dust, A Drop of Water" is, on the one hand, but a small step in this direction, on the other hand, it is a big step, because far greater than matter is discourse. This theme, then, seeks to reveal great secrets beginning with the smallest ones. Dust and water are an ecological semiotics that justify interdisciplinary work.

1. A reorganization of the power structure of the Biennale The Gwangju Biennale 2004 will challenge to the maximum the aesthetic sensibility of the spectator -- the one who shakes up the avant-garde doctrine -- and the aesthetic discourse of the producer -- the one who has, until now, maintained power in the visual arts. The first way of doing this will be to change the spectator's position from one of passive acceptance and appreciation to one at the forefront of the Biennale's cultural production. This experiment should produce some interesting discourses. By incorporating a system of active collaborative work between artist and spectator,the Biennale will give a broader definition to the category and context of the cultural act and the collective and social values in art. During this process, the curator, who is the exhibition organizer, will serve as guide and intermediary between artist and spectator, by leaving the center stage of the traditional biennale power structure. In this way the curator will play an extended organizational role.

2. The Viewer Participants The viewer participants will be the real organizer at the center of the Gwangju Biennale 2004. Before it even selects its artists and curators, the Biennale will invite sixty spectators from around the world. These guest spectators will be chosen after careful research by a Biennale task force that will base its choices on thirteen key sources of documentation, including the World Citizenship Association (WCA), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations' world demographics map, and the Korean Ministry of Labor's professional data bank. The guest spectators, or participants at large, in the production of culture will be of three categories: cultural specialists, cultural activists, and general spectators. The Gwangju Biennale 2004 especially aims at reestablishing the meaning of the cultural spectator participating in cultural action as someone who leaves behind his or her anonymous membership in the anomalous public. This spectator will be invited twice to Korea, in January and September, 2004, to participate in workshops. Workshop discussions and articles will include a concrete presentation of the reality of the biennale as one of the axes of today's visual culture, the role of the biennale, the rights of the spectator to express his or herself in the biennale, and the spectator's aesthetic conscience.

An important role of the spectator will be to produce a total aesthetic consciousness for our times. This will consist of the creation of a variety of aesthetic perceptions that will go into the selection of artists via the curatorial team's overall research. The spectators will team up with the artists and, when necessary, this team will join with specialists such as critics and curators working in the various events of the exhibition to form an even larger team. In this way, the role of the spectator in the Gwangju Biennale 2004 will undergo a dramatic change from passive observer to active producer. Pressetext

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The 5th Gwangju Biennale 2004
"The Synaesthetics of Art and Public"
Kuratoren: Wonil Rhee, Yongwoo Lee, Kerry Brougher

mit Atta Kim, Allora & Calzadilla, Jota Castro, Thomas Eller, Monika Goetz, Richard Hamilton, Pierre Huyghe, Emily Jacir, Zilla Leutenegger, Teresa Margolles, Eva Marisaldi, Ilka Meyer, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Antoni Muntadas, Daniel Pflumm, Marjetica Potrc, Marc Quinn, Thomas Ruff, Ed Ruscha, Jim Sanborn, SEO , Jennifer Steinkamp, The Kingpins , Lin Tianmiao ...