Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho
The fifth Cornell Biennial, curated by Timothy Murray, features twenty-three invited artists and collectives who join seventeen Cornell-based artists for exhibitions, installations, and performances that will rotate on the Cornell University Ithaca campus, Cornell Tech campus in New York City, and The Cherry Arts in Ithaca, New York from July through December 2022. Projects address crucial questions regarding race and social justice, global warming, artistic representation, robotics, sustainable ecology and architecture, migration, and labor. The Biennial examines how art might activate empowering futurities under the troubling weight of climate change, global pandemic, racial trauma, political insecurity, social injustice, challenged women’s and sexual rights, and effaced indigenous histories.
Grace Sachi Troxell
Paul Vanouse Photo by Natlie Dilenno
Inviting celebratory imaginations and enactments of “Futurities, Uncertain,” the 2022 Cornell Biennial performs an artistic call and response to counter singular utopic models, colonial visions, and socio-cultural sameness. How might artistic imaginaries stage the potential of multiple futurities, thus rendering uncertain the confidence of the colonial past and the multinational present? Inspired by global artistic response to technological and biopolitical hegemony, artistic futurities imagine cultural transformation in its plenitude. An exchange of artistic projects across the disciplines animate the future differently: future cinema, future cities, Afrofuturism, ecological activism, artistic animisms, biological (r)evolution, poetic realism, abstract expression, sound fields, feminist utopias, intermedialities, imagined gardens, and sacred spaces.
Projects ponder future blends of human, animal, and material just as they reflect on fluid temporal movements between past, present, and future. How, today, might artists respond to the future demands of death, erosion, war, memory, extinction, social oppression, digital obsolescence, and cultural terrorism? How might multiple artistic practices embrace the uncertainty of futurities to activate creativity, thought, and social justice anew?
Karrabing Film Collective
Van Tran Nguyen
Screen Art Series July 13 – December 18, 2022
The 2022 Biennial begins with a Screen Art Series from July 13 to December 18, with works by Karrabing Film Collective (Australia), Camel Collective (US/Mexico), Moon Kyungwon and Jeon Joonho (South Korea), Larissa Sansour and Søren Lind (Palestine/Denmark), and Patricia Domínguez (Chile). The artworks in the Biennial Screen Art Series dwell on the shifting knowledge structures of media art practices that are threatened by stifling technological, capital, and political frameworks. Activating the intertwined touch of tactics, thought, and politics, these bold artists face the open abyss of the future to shake off colonial, racial, sexual, and ecological enclosures. At stake is the continual raising of the political question of media technology while churning its potential from within. This series explores not the future per se, but “futurities, uncertain” as the constructions of multiple world-making practices that might enhance understanding of the ecodigital environment at a time, today, when existence in the future remains open to question.
Larissa Sansour and Søren Lind
Celebration Weekend September 15–17, 2022
Cornell will celebrate the 2022 Biennial with a September weekend of exciting public events. On the 15th and 16th, enjoy openings of exhibits and meeting many of the artists during guided walking tours at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Arts Quad, Sibley Hall, Human Ecology Building, and Agricultural Quad.
After dark, on the 16th and 17th, gather outside the Johnson Museum for Mendi and Keith Obadike’s evening performance of sound and light. A full day of artist panels on the 17th will include a bioart performance by Paul Vanouse.
All free public events scheduled during Celebration Weekend can be found at cca.cornell.edu/events.
List of Featured, Commissioned, and Awarded Artworks
Invitational projects include a lecture/performance on race and social justice by award-winning author Wendy S. Walters (M.F.A./Ph.D. in English 2000), a bioart installation by Buffalo-based artist Paul Vanouse, an Arts Quad fabric sculpture in dialogue with the history of Goldwin Smith Hall by Filipinx-Canadian artist Sara Jimenez, a Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art sound sculpture and video and sound performance by Biennial Research Artists In Residence, Black sound artists and Mendi and Keith Obadike, and a number of other exciting projects to be hosted by the Johnson Museum, from A. D. White Professor-at-Large Xu Bing’s shadow box facsimile of one of the Johnson Museum’s classical Chinese ink paintings to a word-generated robotic installation by American artist Ken Feingold.
Wide-ranging Cornell based projects will forge futuristic intersections between art, social justice, biology, design, engineering, and information science. Inaugurating the 2022 Cornell Biennial will be two holdover projects from the 2020 Biennial, cancelled by COVID: Jenifer Wightman’s living sculpture of a “mud painting” is exhibited in Mann Library from April 22 to October 31, and the “Libe Slope Wild Garden” by Matthew Dallos has been growing at the north end of Libe Slope since spring 2020. These investigations of bioart will be followed by a project on recycling human waste by Matéa LeBeau and Isabella Culotta (’22). To encourage the public to reimagine urban waste, New York photographer Jade Doskow will present her haunting and beautiful works of Freshkills Park in Staten Island, New York. A striking natural landscape installation by Jennifer Birkeland and Jonathan A. Scelsa will summon Cornellians to imagine the solutions to ecological pressures threatening Cayuga Lake. Giselle Hobbs echoes the essentiality of environmental awareness by staging a sculptural exhibition to bring awareness to the vanishing ozone layer in partnership with the Botanic Gardens, Plant Science, and Ornithology. And, led by Leslie Lok and Felix Heisel, two different massive wood installations by Cornell Architecture teams will display their research experimentations in a new economy of natural wood reuse, recycling, and reconfiguration.
Rounding out the exhibitions will be a sound art installation by Joanna Malinowska and C.T. Jasper while Juan Manuel Aldape Muñoz stages a large-scale puppetry installation and parade of nine-banded armadillos, a creature with unpredictable migration patterns, to shine a light on the invisibility of indigenous migrant labor and the interconnectedness of climate change, indigeneity, and migration. Austin Bunn and Jeffrey Palmer present a short film of the dramatic true story of three Kiowa boys’ escape from a government-run boarding school in Oklahoma. Gina Goico and Patricia Encarnación offer a haunting performance at the A.D. White House centering on the political tension in the Dominican Republic. Addressing the uncertainty of pandemics, So-Yeon Yoon mounts a 3D data visualization of frontline workers during the COVID pandemic, while the Cornell Fashion + Textile Collection pay tribute to those impacted by HIV/AIDS.
The power of spoken word and music will be featured with three Biennial projects. Esther Kondo Heller produces an evening soundscape series dedicated to the complexity of poetry. Tacet(i) Ensemble, together with Piyawat Louilarpprasert, present several evenings of performances on global sounds. Percussionist Greg Stuart will showcase his experimental and improvisational talents during two performances.
Two inaugural Biennial collaborations promise to extend the public outreach of “Futurities, Uncertain.” With funding from Mellon Collaborative Studies in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities, the 2022 Biennial launches the “Mellon Public Curatorial Expression” program on race and social justice. Two collectives of Cornell graduate students were selected in competition to articulate Biennial projects in dialogue with their academic research. For “Stories Untold: From Patchwork to Justice,” a group from Human Centered Design and Anthropology, Dyese Matthews, Kat Roberts, Ami Tamakloe, and Jenine Hillaire, will exhibit works by Va-Bene Elikem Fiatsi, Dr. Tameka Ellington, Sylvia Hernandez, Kate Sekules, Agnes Yellow Bear, and Social Justice Sewing Academy. For “Between Nothingness and Infinity,” the collective from Africana Studies, Comparative Literature, and Romance Studies of Lauren Siegel, Sarah Then Bergh, Marie Lambert, Romain Pasquer, will feature performances and paintings by artists Gustavo Nazareno and Oupa Sibeko.
Also new for 2022 is an effort to extend the reach of the Cornell Biennial across Upstate New York. In collaboration with the Cornell Council for the Arts, Ithaca’s The Cherry Arts sponsors a regional Upstate art competition, “Local Futurities,” with Monica Franciscus, Leo Kang, Blažo Kovačević, Grace Sachi Troxell, Van Tran Nguyen, and Muhammad Zaman. View the exhibition from September 23 to October 30, 2022 at The Cherry Arts Gallery at 130 Cherry Street in Ithaca, New York.
Taking the Biennial downstate, Cornell Tech will exhibit two new NFT artworks by the prestigious Chinese artist Zhang Huan and Taiwanese artist Cindy Ng Sio Ieng. And Kellen Cooks creates a curriculum exploring how spatial imaginations produced by communities in their environment impact the socioeconomic structures and high school curriculum of his hometown of Ossining, New York.
To view event schedules from July through December, and to learn more about the 40 participating artists, visit cca.cornell.edu/biennial.
Invitational Biennial Critics
Ruixuan Li (Carnegie Mellon University), Sara Garzon (University of Vermont), Lauren van Haaften-Schick (Wesleyan University).
2022 Biennial Curatorial Committee
Timothy Murray, Curator and CCA Director; Ellen Avril, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art; Chris Csíkszentmihályi, Information Science; Renate Ferro, Art; Denise Green, Human Centered Design; Leslie Lok, Architecture; Jeffrey Palmer, Performing and Media Arts / American Indian and Indigenous Studies; Constanza Salazar, History of Art and Visual Studies; Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, Literatures in English; Tina DuBois, Biennial Project Manager.
Futurities, Uncertain / 2022 Cornell Biennial
Features 40 International and New York Artists
Cornell Council for the Arts
Celebration Weekend / September 15–17, 2022
Screen Art Series / July 13 – December 18, 2022
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