Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning - Gwanju Biennale : Ouattara Watts

26 Février - 9 Mai 2021
Gwanju, South Korea

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.

 

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 (26 February–9 May, 2021) will feature a dynamic program encompassing an exhibition, a performance program, an online publishing platform and publications, and a series of public forums bringing together artists, theoretical scientists, and systems thinkers. The Biennale argues for the primacy of plurality, positing that points of origin and influence ought to be accessed not only through the dominant technological systems and machinic vocabularies traceable to the West but also relate to heterodox ancestries.

 

In challenging the structural divisions imposed upon corporeal, technological, and spiritual intelligence, Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning will delve into a broad set of cosmologies, activating planetary life-systems, queer technologies, and modes of communal survival. By investigating how such diverse practices transact with multitudinous forms of life, the 13th Gwangju Biennale will examine how they contend with the future horizon of cognitive capitalism and planetary imperialisms, as well as the present dimension of neural networks and other techno-spiritual emergences that populate our computational biosphere. We feel convinced—living as we are through a traumatic interregnum—that the present co-evolution with electronic intelligence and algorithmic regimes needs to be addressed from a planetary perspective. How then can we interpret the incomputable nature of this transition?

 

In Gwangju, a city that has long been acutely familiar with resistance building and communal trauma, it is the Biennale’s intent to bring mind-expanding practices together with historically conscious propositions. The 40th anniversary of the May 18 Democratic Uprising and people’s movement in Gwangju provides an impetus to metabolize journeys through the threshold between life and death—the middle world of the undead—to extend analyses of current strategies of solidarity building and global alliances, and to strive for a deeper understanding of the intrinsic relationship between healing, dissent, and renewal.