​​Theo Eshetu, Ghostdance, 2020, video still, © Theo Eshetu
01. Apr2021-10. May2021Add to Calendar

13. Gwangju Biennale: Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning

ExhibitionGwangju Biennale Foundation111 Biennale-ro, Yongbong-dong, Buk-gu61104 Gwangju, South Korea
​​Theo Eshetu, Ghostdance, 2020, video still, © Theo Eshetu

Funded: Vaginal Davis, Theo Eshetu and Ana María Millán

It has been said that we are experiencing an intelligence explosion that is broadly understood as the emergence of superintelligence. And yet, questions abound: where precisely can organic intelligence be found? To what extent can it be pursued in the human brain and also in the heart, as the Korean term, would imply? Let us avow, then, the dissemination of the 'communal mind'—continuously emergent and rooted in healing technologies, indigenous life-worlds, matriarchal systems, animism, and anti-systemic kinship.

The exhibition 'Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning' sets out to examine the spectrum of the extended mind through artistic and theoretical means. Directed by Defne Ayas and Natasha Ginwala, the 13th Gwangju Biennale will feature a dynamic program encompassing an exhibition, a performance program, an online publishing platform and publications as well as a series of public forums bringing together artists, theoretical scientists, and systems thinkers.

The German contribution was supported by the ifa exhibition funding.

  • Installations by Vaginal Davis


    Brought together for the first time in Gwangju, the installation of Vaginal Davis presents formerly unknown works from Davis's archive and pays tribute to her three initiatives in Koreatown of Los Angeles: the infamous apartment gallery 'HAG–small, contemporary haggard' (1982–89), the management of the no-budget film studio and the production house 'The Cheese Endique Trifecta' (1990–2005), and the organisation of delirious parties at 'Club Sucker' (1994–99). The spatial reconstruction, photographs, zines, and audiovisual pieces are mementos from a lifestyle that continuously refuses to adhere to the norm and uses parody as a form of social critique.


  • Theo Eshetus audivisual journey 'Ghostdance'


    Theo Eshetu's latest audiovisual journey 'Ghostdance' (2020) looks at the relations between the ethnographical display of Asian and African collections and the choreographing of their metaphorical death and life as they enter the museum space. What does it mean for objects to possess subjectivity in representing spheres of life and social bonds? This question circulates through the bodies of two exceptional dancers, who channel the kinetic energy as a repository of spirit-objects and rituality suspended behind the museum's walls.


  • Ana María Millán and the video game 'Happy People'


    For the new video game 'Happy People' (2020), Ana María Millán collaborated with a group of local LARPers, gamers, art students, and cosplayers in a character-building workshop in Gwangju. A special exploration of Korean animation history and reflections on gendered dimensions of online gaming and political unrest emerged from her collaboration with FAMERZ, a collective of feminist gamers active in South Korea. Alluding to the politics of coalition building and representation, the collective and participatory process of live-action role-play that involves mirroring and reinventing existing realities served as the starting point for 'Happy People'.


Exhibition Funding

The Exhibition Funding programme supports contemporary artists in implementing art projects abroad.

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