Curated by Anselm Franke.
vacuum of the present bears the imprint of the systemic monstrosity of
modern history. The re-visioning of modernity and the rewriting of its
master narratives constitute a trans-disciplinary project of global
proportions. The Taipei Biennial 2012 departs from the crisis of the
imagination that plagues global capitalist culture. It explores the need
for collective horizons that withstand both the clichés of modernist
development and the logic of division that haunts nationalist and identity
politics in the long shadow of colonialism and imperialism.
Entitled Modern Monsters / Death and Life of Fiction, the
Taipei Biennial 2012 addresses the relationship between historiography and
the imaginary. Fiction occupies the blind spot of historiographic and
documentary work, as it speaks of the fundamental underside of modernity,
its dialectics and paradoxes, as well as the systemic terror that lurks
behind modernity's emancipatory promises. Drawing upon a recent study
titled "The Monster That is History" by Taiwanese literature historian
David Der Wei Wang, the Biennial engages with the aesthetics of
monstrosity. The figure of the monster is treated as a fictional, liminal
figure, a symptomatic mirror of actual and imaginary relations. Wang
suggests that the ancient Chinese monster Taowu served as an
"objective correlative" of the human account of past experience. Taowu
is furthermore identified with history as such, particularly through
its vicious ability to foresee and undermine human intentions.
Featuring some 40 artistic projects, many of them conceived specifically
for the exhibition, the Taipei Biennial 2012 is structured by a series of
"mini-museums"—distinct spaces within the exhibition that function as
autonomous propositions organized by various co-curators. While the
mini-museums are self-contained spaces, they influence the registers and
contextual readings of the works in the exhibition surrounding them. In
each mini-museum, the relationship between works of art and documents
serves as the backdrop for an interrogation of ambiguities of writing
history. They are conceived as models of possible histories and narratives
hidden in the interstices of official accounts. Their primary goal is to
question the relation between the systemic conditions of the present and
our situatedness in a historical imaginary.
(as of July 2012)
Maria Thereza Alves, Adam Avikainen, Ashish
Avikunthak, Eric Baudelaire, Fernando Bryce, Chen Chieh-Jen, Yin-Ju
Chen, Chou Yu-Cheng, Chang Chao-Tang, Jason Dodge, Jimmie Durham,
Harun Farocki, Omer Fast, Peter Friedl, Simon Fujiwara, Andrea Geyer,
Yervant Gianikian / Angela Ricci Lucchi, Virlani Hallberg, Hsu Chia-Wei,
Hannah Hurtzig, Luis Jacob, Maryam Jafri, Chia-En Jao, Kao Chung-Li,
Rajkamal Kahlon, Joachim Koester, Jompet Kuswidananto, Liu Ding, Marysia
Lewandowska / Neil Cummings, Joven Mansit, Angela Melitopoulos /
Maurizio Lazzarato, Jakrawal Nilthamrong, Willem Oorebeek, Boris Ondreicka,
The Otolith Group, Pratchaya Phinthong, Roee Rosen, Andreas Siekmann, Elisa
Strinna, Teng Chao-Ming, Anton Vidokle / Hu Fang, Sun Xun, Wei-Li Yeh.
The Museum of Rhythm with Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Erick
Beltrán, Juan Downey, Francisco Camacho, Hanne Darboven, Frank G.
Gilbreth, Simone Forti, Ken Jacobs, Katarzyna Kobro, Gerhard Rühm,
Tomo Savić-Gecan, Yashas Shetty, curated by Natasha Ginwala; The Museum
of Ante-Memorials with Robert Filliou, Deimantas Narkevičius, Peter
Watkins, curated by Eric Baudelaire; The Museum of the Monster That Is
History with Bavand Behpoor / Reza Abedin, Jou-jiun Gong, James T.
Hong, Kelvin Kyung Kun Park, Eyal Sivan, Tony Chun-Hui Wu, curated by James
T. Hong and Anselm Franke; The Museum of Gourd, curated by Chihiro
Minato; The Museum of the Infrastructural Unconsciousness, curated
by Territorial Agency (John Palmesino and Ann-Sofi Rönnskog in
collaboration with Yi-Jen Chen); The Museum of Crossings, curated by
Hongjohn Lin and Anselm Franke; among others.