Less of Us accomplished at The Venice Biennale 54

by the-biennial-project 11. December 2011 11:55


When we arrived at The Venice Biennale Opening Week we were not looking like the emaciated, malnourished, fabulous artists we felt we were on the inside. We all know that 'skinny artist’ equals ‘famous artist' and ‘fat artist’ equals a ‘plein-aire-artist-taking-classes-at-a-local-mid-western-community-college’. I swear, The Biennial Project are the skeletal, chain smoking, debilitated dilettantes waiting to get out of our American, processed-food-built-up, flabby shells. Well, without having shed the necessary kilos, we had no choice but to simply show up to The Biennale with our chins held high (both of them). We would employ our dazzling personalities and surround ourselves with our well-connected friends to cover up our shame. Miss a moment of fun - NEVER!! Also there are always plenty of attention-seeking curators to place in front of our bloated bodies while the cameras of the international press followed our every move.



After a few days of appearing at all our friends’ events, we started to notice that we were able to button the snaps on our pants. The indentations on our skin from our too tight undergarments were not as red, deep or long lasting when we undressed. Could it be that were shedding kilos in the mist of The Venice Biennale? We were!!
Here, at the Venice Biennale, The Biennial Project was finally emerging as the gaunt, twiggy phenomenon you all know us to be.  Below are a few thoughts on how you, too, can champion the bony, lanky appearance of a famous artist at the Venice Biennale.

When hungry, stop in the first restaurant you see with a free table. Chances are pretty good that the food will be uneatable and over-priced. It seems to us that no matter where you find yourself noshing in Venice you will get the same meals, made with no love, for five times the cost of what you would spend at home. We have a theory that there is one central kitchen located way beneath the island that sends the same microwaved meals to all the restaurants via conveyor belt. After a few days of grazing like this, the sight of another over-priced, over-microwaved, frozen pizza will make your stomach turn and you will start to notice yourself skipping meals.


While in the Giardini forget eating at all!! There are only two places to buy food and they each seem to be understaffed. You have to decide if you want to remain famished and possibly look at some art or if you want to wait in line for hours either in the stuffy, over-stimulating café or wait outside in the hot, Italian sun. We had the very special privilege of waiting in the pouring rain for hours only to get yet another over-microwaved frozen pizza for twice as many Euros then we would have paid outside the gate. The Powers-That-Be will not even let you leave the Giardini to scrounge for food outside of the gates without having to pay entrance again (for those of you who have to pay entrance).

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The moment we landed in Venice we started to burn more calories than we normally do sitting on the couch watching The Biggest Loser. As most everybody around the world knows, there was a vaporetto strike during the opening week. Upon landing in Venice we learned that the only way to get to our fabulous Villa was by huffing through the byways of Venice dragging our luggage behind us. The first Bridge coming from the bus Station, the newest bridge in Venice, Ponte della Constituzione  (but nearly everyone in Venice calls it the Ponte di Calatrava) seemed to be designed to punish the out of shape, over-packed, American tourists. The tiny, little steps built into the Ponte di Calatrava made it extra hard to drag a rollaway suitcase. After crossing the bridge you have to pay attention to every bitty sign or risk getting lost in the labyrinth of itsy-bitsy, little streets. It took one of our crew 8 hours to get from the train station to the villa, pulling their bags in the hot, hot Italian sun. It is like a Boot Camp workout. Hence, thinner us.


Another calorie burner is finding the National Pavilions or Collateral events located outside of the Arsenale or Giardini. Those of us who are fortunate enough to partake in The Biennale year after year know some of the most fantastic art is located in satellite venues all over Venice. Finding these diamonds in the rough can sometimes lead to hour upon hour of walking in circles trying to navigate the tiny often-unmarked streets of Venice. This is a fantastic way to see Venice but not so fantastic on your already swollen, blistered extremities. Some countries like Latvia for instance put arrows on the ground to guide you in the direction of the exhibitions. This is great unless some prankster turns one of the arrows around to face you in the wrong direction or a well-meaning friend decides to bring you the arrow from your country of origin as a souvenir. Such actions make finding the art very difficult.

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The New Zealand Pavilion location appeared pretty straightforward. Palazzo Loredan dell'Ambasciatore is located right on The Grand Canal near the southern entrance of the Academic Bridge. When we traversed over the prominent interchange, we started to follow the well-intended arrows until they sort of just stopped. Jokesters or nationalists were at hand. We were also flustered by a lollygag of lingering, gorgeous Italian High School students on break who aroused us by the erotic smell of Italian teenage pheromones blended with cheap perfume. Venice holds so much for us!! Being as confused and distracted as we were at this point, turning around when lost was not an option. After all Michael Parekowhai, who represents New Zealand, always shows up for our shit. Plus we heard great things about his intricately-carved red Steinway concert grand piano and two concert grands fabricated in bronze supporting two cast bronze bulls entitled On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer. Furthermore, we adore New Zealand wine (especially free New Zealand wine). After trolling around the dead-end alleys of the Dorsodoro neighborhood for an hour or so we finally managed our way into the Palazzo. Our persistence burned off thousands of calories and we were also treated to some live piano music.

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Another calorie-burner was finding our new friends who were showing at the Central Asia Pavilion in their exhibit entitled Lingua Franca. The Biennial Project has always had a special camaraderie with the former Soviet Asian Nations like Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan or any of the other 'stans’. We love all the stan countries. We knew exactly the location of this pavilion being positioned near The Palazzo Grazzi and the pavilions of Iran, Estonia, and Slovenia. We partied hard with the Slovenian accordion players our first night in town. Even if we knew where to find them we did not know that The Central Asian Pavilion was located on the very top floor of the Palazzo Maipiero on San Marco 3199-3201. Climbing the narrow stairs to see the work of our friends Natalia Andrianova or Artyom Ernst reminded us of our hike up Zailisky Alatau Mountain overlooking the beaches of Lake Issyk-Kul. outside of Almaty, Kazakhstan. We took that excursion last April with the artists Said ATABEKOV, Galim MADANOV and Zauresh TEREKBAY. I guess they were getting us ready for 160 stories ascent to see their work at the Biennale. None-the-less, this climb yielded us firmer, perkier, European-style asses that promote the important work of The Biennial Project.

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Being squeezed into small spaces will make you thin as well. You know how they say that fish grow to the size of their bowls; well, The Biennial Project resides in the huge open expanses of America. Knowing it is wasteful to take up as much space as we do in our giant McMansions with bathrooms the size of whole neighborhoods in Kolkata, our bodies none-the-less adapt. American asses spread out all over our so-called wide-open plains. When in Venice we really feel our girth the first time when we step into a shower or sleep in a small bed. This makes us feel uncomfortable and….well, FAT. Subconsciously, I think we eat less simply because there is no room for us behind the tiny, little tables, in the tiny, little cafes. When someone guesses that we are American on the overcrowded vaporetto, we say to ourselves it is because of our distinctly American shoes(sneakers). Really? In truth we know the Europeans recognize us because we are huge. They are really thinking that we are taking up way too much space on the vaporetto and they hope against hope that we will spread our weight out evenly around the boat to avoid capsizing. This, in turn, makes us feel shame and we react by eating less.

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So yes, The Venice Biennale is a great place to get thin. In Venice you can walk your asses off, starve, smoke and loosen your bowels by drinking too much. You actually never have to take a solid shit ever again!! The crappy, over-priced food looks especially unappetizing after a night of free vino. After skipping a few meals your body adapts and you eventually don’t feel hunger anymore. You actually start to enjoy the high you get from the out-of-wacky-glucose-levels reinforced by the terrific compliments you get. Nicotine speeds up your metabolism as well so smoke away. The more you inhale, the thinner you get!! Who needs The Biggest Loser Ranch in Fitness Ridge, UtahjQuery1520414659285833089_1342724123170jQuery15208328245705791499_1342724194449  Simply spend your money on a trip to the Venice Biennale and smoke and drink too much. You, too, can come home undernourished, bony and ashen like a true successful international artist.

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Less of Us

Memories of The 53rd Biennale Closing Ceremony

by the-biennial-project 26. November 2011 11:50

With great emotions, this day marks the close of yet another Venice
Soon, Thomas Hisrschorn's crystal meth nightmare entitled ‘Crystal
of Resistance’
and Tabaimo’s soothing dream 'Teleco-Soup' will be laid to rest
like all of the other beautifully provocative art we saw all summer and


A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely
unhappen.  ~Edward de Bono

We offer a pat on the head to our good friend and colleague Bice Curiger for a job
well done with La Biennale di Venezia 54 entitled ILLUMInations (spelled
with a Capital I, capital L, another capital L, big letter U and finally a
capital M) We agree that the utopian, neoliberal idea that we can escape
such boundaries is what curator Curiger attempts to support with a hint of
neo-romanticism(even if she could not find us space in the Arsenale).

Hopefully Bicey took some time off this fall and took our advise and used our cottage at Kennebunk Gallery Motel & Cottages in Kennebunk, Maine which we
call The Compound. The Kennebunk Gallery Motel & Cottages
is a family owned complex in the "heart" of the Kennebunk and they honor a
AAA discount. We told her to take  advantage of the off season rates which
include accommodations in the Small Cottage for $55.00 for two adults, the
two bedroom cottage for $95.00 or the motel room which is
$55.00 a night for two adults.This price includes FREE beach parking passes
FREE morning coffee served in the office. Kennebunk Compound Website

Kennebunk Gallery Motel & Cottages2Kennebunk Gallery Motel & Cottages1Kennebunk Gallery Motel & Cottages3

Anyhow with all this closing stuff of the Biennale going on we can't help
but remember the good time we had hosting the Closing Ceremony for the 53rd


Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the
things you never want to lose.  ~From the television show The Wonder Years


Here is a You Tube Video of our esteemed event during precious  last hours
of The 53rd Biennale entitled 'Making Worlds'.


We also want to celebrate this occasion as the evening we were enchanted for
the first time by one of our most treasured, ardent and colorful fans, VITO.
Vito occupies a permanent place in our minds and hearts for his performance
of ‘We Are The World’  with Laura at the end of Closing Reception for the 53rd
Venice Biennale
hosted by us, The Biennial Project. After our our party we
were woeful because in all the excitement we lost his contact information.
Well the despair absconded because this June Vito showed up to our Boston
Online Biennial Reception
during the opening week of this years Biennale!! He brought his own theatrical performance and did a reading of Oscar Wilde.


Vito also brought it all home and he and Laura conjured up their best drunken Donny and Marie and revisited the musical splendor from two years before.


We were electrified by his presence and his encore performance. Sadly, once
again we lost his contact information.


  A good performance, like a human life, is a temporal affair‹a process in
time. It is good as a whole through being good in its parts, and through
their good order to one another. It cannot be called good as a whole until
it is finished. During the process all we can say of it, if we speak
precisely, is that it is becoming good. The same is true of a whole human
life. Just as the whole performance never exists at any one time, but is a
process of becoming, so a human life is also a performance in time and a
process of becoming. And just as the goodness that attaches to the
performance as a whole does not attach to any of its parts, so the goodness
of a human life as a whole belongs to it alone, and not to any of its parts
or phases.
Mortimor J. Adler


Venice Biennale Campaigns

November Fan of the Month….REVEALED!!!!

by the-biennial-project 16. November 2011 08:40

As all of the Biennial Project Fan Faithful know, The Biennial Project has made a career of Unapologetic-Shameless-Self-Serving-Promotion to get to the place where we are today! We have climbed and clawed ourselves over the backs of any artist, any art-viewing-poser and of course and above all else any critic or naysayer who deemed it appropriate to stand in our way!! And voila! Here we stand—poised to climb atop the heap that is the pinnacle of the art world.


But, it is now November….and whether or not it is due to being bombarded by turkey and dressing ads and commercials since before Labor Day (after all, we must always serve our staying-current-with-all-things media-bound muse at the end of the day ) we, The Biennial Project, must join Regis and Kelly, Kathy Lee and Hoda and of course The Ladies of the View to give pause and be thankful!!


For every now and then…once in the bluest of blue blue moons you have the great fortune to cross paths with a really remarkable person…..

Someone who you just CLICK with….

Someone who laughs at your jokes (yes, ALL of them!!!)….

Someone who (CORRECTLY) thinks that you are brilliant….

You know, someone who just GETS you….

And this person fires on all of the above cylinders without monetary or sexual remuneration !!!

In The Biennial Project’s case we have had the blessing of experiencing this type of relationship with not one but TWO remarkable persons at the same time!!!

Both are multi-faceted artists in their own rights….


He, according to reknowned Blues Blogger Georgetown Fats, wears many hats-- journalist, columnist, vocalist, guitarist, southern gentleman-- in order to keep his music going. He is probably best recognized as the frontman for his band, Scissormen though in the past year he can add “movie star” to the list since starring in the well-received latest indie documentary by Robert Mugge--“BigShoes: Walking and Talking the Blues.”


She is an accomplished musician and photographer but most recently devotes her noteworthy artistic energies to being CEO, President, and Creative Head Honcho of Pets Rules Jewels—a kick-ass-fun-and-funky custom jewelry company that specializes in creating one of-a-kind pieces featuring images of your own very special best furry friends!! Pets Rule Jewels also has contributed to such wonderful causes as Greyhound and other canine rescue efforts.

BOTH of these individuals have been known to worship REGULARLY at The Temple of The Biennial Project (and let’s face it, that alone is something to get ANYONE some requisite Fan Of The Month brownie points!!!)

He, after reading one of our many blog posts/Constant Contact blasts, was known to remark:

“ I love reading these. The tone is taught and funny, the art world humor great, the take on aesthetics and modern culture is spot on. You guys rock!”

No WONDER we think he is AWESOME!!!

starnes photo

She hand-makes every AMAZING pair of Biennial Project earrings that you see featured all throughout our photography and video oeuvre…..and oh, by the way, YOU TOO can own a pair of these ROCKING ART ROCK STAR EARRINGS!!!! Just contact her!


They are the parents of the rescued and much-loved Dolly the Dog and are just in general SUPER COOL.

So it is with MUCH FANFARE (cue major drum rolls) and ADMIRATION that we tip our collective Biennial Project Hats to the November Fans of the Month…..






Catch the Red Hot Smokin’ Guitar String Shreddin’ ScissormenTHIS THURSDAY!!! November 17……

The Regent Theatre in Arlington, MA to headline the “Regent Roots ‘n’ Blues Revue.”

Anybody who buys an advance reserved seating ticket gets a free copy of the live concert CD cut in Switzerland last year. The band will be available in the lobby and after the show to autograph 'em. The show also includes some great artists who are all good friends and fantastic entertainers: the Peter Parcek 3 (whose debut album Ted produced), the Ten Foot Polecats and the Powerhouse Berklee Band. Plus the concert will culminate in an all-star grand finale jam.

Stay up to date with all of the band’s high jinx at http://scissormen.com






The Biennial Project


Fan of the Month


by the-biennial-project 31. October 2011 17:38











To read the press materials about the Venezuela Pavilion in the 54th Venice Biennale is to be underwhelmed to say the very least.  To sum it up, the Pavilion is described as having three “contemporary art projects in a single show, two of which are individual projects and the third a collective one.”  The writing that appears in both the press release and in the official catalogue goes on to say that the show entitled, “Espacios, emerges from the idea of studying and analyzing the interaction and encounter between the artist (artwork), spectator (who activates the artwork), and the vessel (the space that is susceptible to or facilitates this encounter), which in other words are three readings of the sine qua non-relation-condition of visual arts” …

have you started pounding the tequila shots yet to alleviate the numbing of your brain from such boring drivel?

If I had read either the press release or the catalogue before visiting the Venezuela Pavilion I would have missed one the highlights of the 54th Biennale—the energetic, riveting and hilarious work of Francisco Bassim’s Gran Interior installation of paintings.  Set in a great open room of the Carlo Scarpa-designed buiding that was constructed in 1954, Bassim has created a number of acrylic-on-canvas-instantly-recognizeable-figures from the 20th and 21stcenturies.  The cartoonish characters, looking equally like paper dolls and refrigerator magnets with a mix and match approach to the heads and bodies, fly, float and zoom along the walls of the great room.

Many of the great heroes and anti-heroes of the last 100 years make an appearance.

A fanciful Hannibal Lecter is on roller blades and a Jack Nicholson (Batman) Joker with a cherubic body sits on the lap of His Holiness, the Pope.

Mona Lisa kicks across the wall as akarate kid. Frieda Kahlo swoops down in a little girl’s sailor outfit wearing a pair of those kid shoes that have little miniature wheels on them.  Michael Jackson appears in an enigmatic outfit—it could belong to a cheerleader or a basketball player—offering a bouquet of roses to the viewer.  Albert Einstien is a kind-of-buff-yet-starting-to-go-slack-old-man that pants creepily at the audience from his place on the great wall.

Of course the usual modern political suspects are there too.  Barrack Obama has the body of a vulnerable naked child protecting his private parts.  Adolf Hitler looks like a cliff diver swooping down on Obama  while Joseph Stalin innocently swings through space dressed as a child but sporting a pair of Mary Jane shoes.   George W (the younger) seems lost in reverie (uh-hmmmm!!!!) dressed in a polyester-esque circa 1974 roller derby outfit.  He hovers above one of the Queen’s corgis.  Mao sits nearby in  similar costume—also seemingly lost in his own thoughts.

Both Bush and Mao have sweet un-bequiled expressions on their faces …

who would believe that either one could be an evil-doer …

Glaring over the shoulders of both W and Mao is Lady Liberty.  Her face is unmistakably masculine and worried/hurt/angry though her clothes are of a young girl who might be attending a Sunday school party.  Her body language clearly suggests that she is offended.

The Gran Interior—which mixes recognizable characters with numerous anonymous cherubs that are also flying and floating on the walls is clearly a nod in general to the great historical paintings of the Italian Renaissance masters—many who worked in Venice..  The press release also suggests that the installation “refers us directly to rich and controversial conceptual boundaries between painting and decoration, which are of course present in Tintoretto’s work for the Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice.”

For me,  Francisco Bassim’s random, playful, but yet often ironic creation of such historically loaded characters was fascinating.  Ultimately the fanciful mix and match treatment resulted in a great equalizing factor—whether the “celebrity” had been considered a hero or a villain prior to my encounter with the installation, I was left with the notion that they all, ultimately, had been children once …

As a post script, The Biennial Project had the pleasure of meeting Francisco during the opening week of the Biennale.  We shockingly learned that he has not exhibited in the US.


His work truly is  not to be missed.


Venice Biennale Campaigns

There BUTT for the grace of god - a tale of Biennial Project Daring Do

by the-biennial-project 29. October 2011 15:45

As International Art Rock Stars, Biennial Project Members live large.  We dream large, we think large, we create large, and, of course, we vacation large.  Never content to rest on our considerable laurels, Biennial Project Members are always out there living on the edge - trying new and exciting activities. seeking thrills, testing the limits of our body’s endurance - driven by an unquenchable thirst for new experience. Thus, one recent idyllic summer afternoon, when reason might have told us to remain in the hammock reading The Enquirer, we instead took up the considerable challenge of Rope Swinging.  At first all went well.  There was, after all, no need to be afraid -


The first plunge – an entrancing mix of grace and athleticism -


The second plunge – from even more fearsome heights -


Then, as it often does with those cursed with the need to ignore those voices that tell you when enough is enough, tragedy struck!




The results, documented fearlessly below, would have been enough to send any mere mortal running screaming to the refuge of the nearest ER!



But not someone born to that Band of Fratricidal Siblings known to the world as The Biennial Project! Oh We Few, We Happy Few! We know an opportunity for self promoting heroism when we see it!  As Shakespeare put it (paraphrased and shortened a little of course – we don’t have all day, and that Old English thing gets irritating) -

    If we are marked to die, we are now
    To do our country loss; and if to live,
    The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
    By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
    But if it be a sin to covet honour,
    I am the most offending soul alive.
    He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
    Will stand a tip-toe when this day is named,
    He that shall live this day, and see old age,
    Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
    Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
    Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
    But he'll remember, with advantages,
    What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
    Familiar in his mouth as household words-
   Anna, Eric, Laura-
    Be in their flowing cups freshly remembered.
    This story shall the good man teach his son;
    From this day to the ending of the world,
    But we in it shall be remembered-
    We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
    And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
    Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
    And hold their manhoods cheap,

etc, etc, more stuff about problems in England or France or something, you get the idea.

The point is that we are brave, really brave, and so instead of going to the hospital,


We took pictures! Lots of pictures!  Brave, heroic pictures!  Talk about your Triumph over Adversity!


We see a lifetime movie coming out of this!

Yours in Heroism,



Adult Content | Other Campaigns and High-jinks

The 2011 Gwangju Biennial: Challenging Notions of Design

by the-biennial-project 29. October 2011 08:43

by Dee Mason for The Biennial Project


The definition of design, according to Merriam-Webster is “to create, fashion, execute, or construct according to a plan”. Design biennials, massive arts events that showcase the design prowess of particular cities or regions, have appeared at a rapid rate since the 80s. There are more than one hundred events occurring each year around the globe, primarily during the September design “season”, with the Biennial Foundation in Athens, serving as the non-profit overseer for many of them. In the sea of biennials, the Gwangju Biennial in Gwangju, South Korea, has emerged as a biennial to watch. With a reputation for showcasing innovation, and a markedly less commercial feel, the Gwangju Biennial is attracting worldwide attention.

Purposes and Goals

If you are in Southeast Asia this fall, or have the funds available to take some Tripbase flights to the region, make the time to visit the Gwangju Biennial to view the thought provoking, intelligent works on display.

Launched in 1995, the purpose of the Biennial was two-fold. The goal of the event was to both showcase Asian design, with a focus on South Korean designers, and to attempt to somewhat mitigate Gwangju’s reputation as an intolerant, militaristic stronghold. The site of the 1980’s massacre of hundreds of pro-democracy students, Korea’s sixth largest city has been struggling to redefine its image ever since. The 2011 Gwangju Biennial, which began September 2nd and runs until October 23rd is co-curated by Ai Weiwei, a dissident Chinese artist who was freed from prison in August after worldwide outcry, and award-winning Korean architect Seung H-Sang. Unlike some of the more commercially focused Biennials, like those in Venice or London, the Gwangju Biennial is more directly invested in art that pushes boundaries, either politically or aesthetically. This year’s theme is “design is design is not design”. A rather existential theme compared to festivals in Europe or the US, the Gwanju Biennial’s focus has resulted in a number of challenging works that clearly reflect both Ai Weiwei’s interest in politically motivated art and Seung H-Sang’s eye for form.


The Biennial is divided into four separate exhibitions. The “Named” exhibition showcases works that are a reflection of a move towards multi-disciplinary “total environments”, and an active movement away from static ideas of the individual designer versus the collective designer. The “Unnamed” exhibition showcases works that challenge the ways we define design and the idea of the designer, in an effort to explore what design can accomplish and how boundaries can be redrawn. The purpose of the “Communities” exhibition is fairly straightforward. The exhibition seeks to answer the question, “What is design?”. Finally, the “Urban Follies” exhibition explores the ways in which design evolves, influenced by the environment, and urban environments, in particular. Some of the works on display in the “Unnamed” section include the pamphlets handed out during the Egyptian uprising with instructions on how to effectively carry out acts of civil disobedience and plans for IED designs used in Afghanistan and other countries. South Korea is a plastic surgery capital, and there is video of the plastic surgery procedure used by mixed martial artists to reduce the amount of bleeding caused by blows to the head and face. The “Urban Follies” exhibit houses such interesting pieces as Atelier Bow-Wow’s pergola with a six-storey periscope.


Unlike many other Bienniales, the government funds the Gwangju Bienniale. Consequently, there are no commercial ventures displaying their latest innovation in exchange for their sponsorship dollars, or technology companies vying for attention with flashy displays. Instead, the Bienniale is focused on presenting work that makes us all question where design comes from, what it means, and how it fluid it truly is.


Critical Run Sydney

by the-biennial-project 27. October 2011 16:04


CRITICAL RUN  SYDNEY                       Marlene Sarroff

Artists with a social conscience have always looked to a group or a movement that provides a space for expressing ideas and debate on issues of the day. Critical Run Sydney was first activated in April 2010 by two Sydneysiders, Saha Jones and Nicole Dennis. The Critical Run provides Sydney artists with a platform that generates debate on social and political issues, actually an art format - that becomes a frame of interaction, form and expression, both visually and socially.


Nicole Dennis (left) and  Saha Jones (right), the facilitators of the Sydney Critical Run.

Critical Running is a debate format conceived by Danish-French artist Thierry Geoffroy. He has been creating stimulating situations that help participants develop their awareness of emergencies in today’s contemporary society. Each project intends to enable participants to face together, before it is too late, the important issues of today through debate. The Critical Run is a format for debating while running. In a collapsing world (he suggests) we cannot continue to sit and sleep through conferences or make small talk at openings. New forms of critical debate have to be activated. Running through the city, participants can train their awareness muscles on a journey that will leave them breathless and invigorated. This art format is an artwork in itself and has increased its focus on becoming widespread by expanding into a global artistic movement. It has spread to major cities worldwide including Moscow, Naples, Cairo, Brussels, Rotterdam, Barcelona, Venice, New York, London, Istanbul and now Sydney.


The Sydney Critical Run has staged several runs through different parts of the city, debating subjects that arise at the time and are topical and urgent.  During the 2010 Sydney Biennale, it created several  subjects for debate, mostly concerning the motivations and aims of the Biennale.  It included debates such as – ‘Corporate sponsorship for the arts - Do artists know the aims of their sponsors?’.
Members of the public were asked, ‘What is the theme of the Biennale?’ Another run took place in response to a sudden change of the Australian Prime Minister - Critical Run ran down King Street Newtown (an inner Sydney suburb) and debated issues of ‘political diversion, gender roles and democracy’ and ‘is social media ruining our lives?’, as well as ‘is coolness apathy?’


Artists are not known for their sporting prowess, so getting them to run could prove troublesome. The Sydney Critical Run invests an incredible effort into promoting the run, in having young energetic leaders, in talking up aspects of originality, art history, or the artist’s duty for advocating change  - all of course valid and important issues.  Immediately you find yourself saying yes, please count me in!


The Critical Run Sydney’s formal banner was SHOULD ARTISTS BE INSTITUTIONALIZED? In response to Goran Tomic’s exhibition ‘See Saw’, held at The Vanishing Point Gallery, we were invited to explore the topic based on Tomic’s own experience as a self taught artist. The run started from the gallery.

At first, the run can seem like an endurance test, depending on your level of fitness (or lack of). However, as the run progresses it becomes extremely invigorating. Although as you can imagine, it can be disconcerting when you are starting to sweat a little (or pant heavily) and a microphone is thrust into your face by a very fit knowledgeable inquisitor, and the questions roll out to you and there is no choice but to rapidly reply. Speech becomes an integral part of the run. As the critical run is a format for criticism, it’s not running to escape somewhere but running for solutions. It requires critical solutions.  The questions are fired and answers fired back, the thinking evolves, the group moves along. Words, thoughts, ideas have to be to the point, you can’t talk too much in between the slight gasping for breath. The video camera comes around to you - stamina and will power must avail as you can’t afford to appear too embarrassed about your public persona - although I think it is unavoidable. 


Upon completing the run you feel inspired and invigorated - a very positive experience all round. As Saha Jones says, ‘Critical run draws attention to the fact that we separate our minds and our bodies – it is trying to bring them back together. People think it is unnatural, they think, ‘Why do you need to run and debate? But it’s a metaphor, its really intelligent. If you are activating your body then in turn you are activating your mind, it leads you to new places, it gives you energy’.


The energy will be pumping at this years Venice Biennale as The Biennial Project and the Critical Run Group will meet - and it is anticipated that The Biennial Project will be putting their running shoes on. The theme of the Venice Biennale Critical Run will be ‘Can Freedom of Speech be Curated?’ – a subject that we are sure to have opinions on – that is if we can manage to make ourselves understood through our panting! See you there! See Venice Critical Run for more.


Report-backs and Reviews


by the-biennial-project 7. October 2011 08:47

It’s true – some ASSHOLE stole our painting.

But we’re not taking this lying down.

Click here for The Whole Sordid Tale!

The Story of the Lost Biennial Project Painting


You can see Our Beloved Painting clearly in the photo below,

on display at a cool, hip art gallery,

with attractive arty people in attendance.

Oh Dear Painting, how we miss thee!


otherpaitningbig copy


Other Campaigns and High-jinks

The Biennial Project Running of the Butts at the 2011 Venice Biennale

by the-biennial-project 29. September 2011 08:50

Think that nothing that The Biennial Project will do to get attention will shock you? 

The Biennial Project Running of the Butts at the 2011 Venice Biennale

The Biennial Project Running of the Butts at the 2011 Venice Biennale

    Think again.


Adult Content | Venice Biennale Campaigns


by the-biennial-project 7. September 2011 08:52
We Came…We Saw…WE PARTIED OUR ASSES OFF!!!!]]> The Biennial Project V.I.P. Opening Reception for the 54th Venice Biennale and Awards Presentation for the 2011 Boston Online Biennial is a smashing success!!

It all began, innocently and calmly enough, on a peaceful Sunday evening in the lovely hidden garden of a beautiful pallazo….

first garden

But the quiet would not last for long…….

eric steamersgarden w steamers

And before you knew it, the fabulous V.I.P. glitterati-filled gala was in full swing!!!!

anna streamers #5 people annalaura       

Old Friends were re-aquainted….


                                                                                                                                                                               New Alliances were formed….

                                                                                                                                           charlene and friend

And, yes, even recipes were exchanged!!


Perhaps the highlight of the evening was when The Biennial Project announced


with much fanfare--to the anticipatory masses that were gathered…

                                                                                                             bob audience

The Winners of the 2011 Inaugural Boson Online Biennial

—including the First Place Winner, Hans van Meeuwen!!!


In fact…..we would say that all in all it was a Good Timin’, Wine Guzzling (44 liters to be exact!), Hob-Nobbing, Uber-Networking, Seen-And-Be-Seen-Old-Fashioned-Throw-Down-Of-Party-Until-The-Clothes-Came-Off (more on that in our NEXT blog post!!!) Extravagana---the likes of which has not been seen since the days of yore when the founding mothers and fathers of Venice first dug out the canals and threw up the grandest palazzos!   There were Tate-showin’ artists and critics, collectors, and curators galore all engrossed in scintillating debates over the hottest theoretical art issues of the day!                                 

tom tate   claudio scintillating conver

Hell…we didn’t know the half of what was going on by the end of the evening….



we do know of one very special little hi-jinx….

and you’ll have to tune in next time to find out!!!


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