Official launch of Groundings

Mukenge/Schellhammer, Beyond Pity (still), 2020. Experimental animated video, Kinshasa. Courtesy of the artists.
Official launch of Groundings
Nine responses to internationalism, infrastructure and sustainability
Launch: April 22, 10–11am
Calle Seconda dei Orbi, 5201 Castello, Venezia

Occasional Groundwork—an alliance of three European biennials (EVA International, Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art, Lofoten International Art Festival)—announces the official launch of Groundings, an ongoing series of commissioned texts exploring themes of internationalism, sustainability, and cultural infrastructure within the context of the contemporary art biennial and the shift in conditions imposed by the ongoing pandemic.

Contributors: Grégory Castéra, Ben Eastham, Taru Elfving, Amanda Ferrada and Olivia Berkowicz, Valeria Graziano, Marcell Mars and Nick Thurston, Dylan Huw, Dr Omar Kholeif, Rebecca O’Dwyer and Eszter Szakács.

Internationalism has been a defining characteristic of the contemporary arts infrastructure and discursive circuitry of the biennial model in particular. Over recent decades, it has been partly built through solidarity and connective diversity; partly built through cynicism and neoliberal opportunity. In descriptive usage, the “international” is often deployed as a benign aspiration and positive value, without specific metrics, qualification or accountability.

Since October 2020, Occasional Groundwork has invited a wide range of texts to explore these themes, in view to collectively rethinking and reoperating the terms of internationalism with sustainable and co-developmental values.

Groundings is an open series of situated responses by artists, curators, administrators, critics and academics. The nine texts published to date have variously sought to address the theme of internationalism from conceptual, operational or infrastructural perspectives; whether identifying new strategies for collective practices, advocating for environmental and human sustainability, addressing the politics at play in digital infrastructures, or dismantling the sustained dichotomy local-international through the story of a hydro-electric power station. The Groundings series is distributed across the web platforms of the three biennial organisations and available for download here.

The nine text reflections will be released formally on April 22 within a breakfast event in Venice.

Groundings launch
Friday, April 22, 10–11am
Casa Venezia, Calle Seconda dei Orbi, 5201 Castello, Venezia
Register here.

Join us for a breakfast presentation of Occasional Groundwork and a conversation with one of the contributors to the Groundings series, curator and researcher Eszter Szakács. Eszter Szakács is the one of the initiators of OFF-Biennale Budapest and The East Europe Biennial Alliance, a collaboration initiated to test new forms of international solidarity, expand socio-political imagination, and develop alternative cultural strategies. The members of the East Europe Biennial Alliance co-curated the fourth edition of the Kyiv Biennial in 2021.

The event is hosted by Casa Venezia as part of Something Out Of It, the Lofoten International Art Festival 2022 preview in Venice curated by Francesco Urbano Ragazzi. In the venue, a new environmental video installation by Tomaso De Luca (Verona, Italy 1988) produced in partnership with CASE CHIUSE by Paola Clerico is on display. The curatorial project continues with a permanent communal installation by Pauline Curnier Jardin at Giudecca Women’s Prison, accessible upon registration only

About Occasional Groundwork
Occasional Groundwork is an alliance of three European biennials EVA (Ireland’s Biennial of Contemporary Art)GIBCA (Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art, Sweden), and LIAF (Lofoten International Art Festival, Norway) that are each concerned with re-proposing the model of the international art biennial. Seeking a rooted infrastructure for the production and dissemination of contemporary art, Occasional Groundwork serves as a peer group for thinking through the existing and speculative frameworks of organisational practice.

Save the dates
Lofoten International Art Festival 2022: September 3–October 2
EVA International 2023: August 31–October 29
Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art 2023: September 16–November 19