Dubrovnik Biennial

The beginnings of a Biennale, even while being sceptical of the idea.

We are starting to work on a Biennale. We think with other people about what a Biennale might be, what it shouldn’t be, and how it’s shape might be informed by our time and our needs and desires. Who is the ‘our’? We start with a series of informal small-scale meetings that help to outline some key questions about the purpose and value of a Biennale in Dubrovnik. These informal, sometimes remote meetings will lead to other in-person meetings with diverse members of the community. We translate some of the ideas raised in the meetings into a series of posters which will be publicly shared on the street. The meetings and posters will begin to provide a foundation for the Biennale.

We are not a large-scale organisation, we are not an institution with significant resources, we are three people with long ties to the area who think that a Dubrovnik Biennale could be an informal low-key affair that has a great impact. 

We’re keen for the initial stage of meetings to help set out a collection of goals and considerations for the Biennale, but we also have a few things in mind. We want to foreground spaces of interaction with the world and with one-another that are valuable but not commonly accessible, such as neuro-diverse forms of communication, notions of the ‘sixth-sense’ and beyond, and non-rational patterns of thinking and making. 

Dubrovnik is a town that has been radically affected by market forces and the rule of capital, not to mention political changes, and consequently the landscape of the town itself, the surrounding rural areas, and the ocean bed have seen many changes in a very short period of time, namely from the early 1990’s to the present day. The rationale of capital is often associated with a drive towards increased efficiency and the instrumentalising of social infrastructure, human interrelations, behaviour, building, and free time. Within this logic, formal and purposeful activity displaces the possibility for informality and time that isn’t in the service of predetermined outcomes.

We’re looking at ways in which contemporary art, perhaps as non-productive labour, is a vital part of social life, and the ways that art adds non-commercial value in unexpected ways. Diverse voices speaking out and speaking together about what matters to them – what do they need for a life better lived, and how does a Biennale, or art, have a place in that discussion?