The 3rd Athens Biennale 2011 is a double project in the form of an international exhibition and a feature film.
Curated by renowned curator and art theorist Nicolas Bourriaud and XYZ (Xenia Kalpaktsoglou, Poka-Yio and Augustine Zenakos, the curatorial trio which founded the Athens Biennale), MONODROME revolves around an unlikely encounter: The Little Prince meets Walter Benjamin. This intentionally peculiar coupling of the two figures acts as the ground onto which the ongoing worldwide sociopolitical and financial upheaval will be examined, through a narrative that will address humanity in a universal and poetic manner.
Athens, and Greece for that matter, has been the epicentre of a social and economical earthquake whose consequences are becoming stronger: How could one reflect on this situation which seems to exhibit characteristics that make it global rather than national or local in nature? Is what has been rather facilely referred to as the “Greek example” a significant turning point in history?
The curators of the 3rd Athens Biennale 2011 believe that the widening situation for which Greece is a much derided yet overexposed case-study must become the focus of cultural investigation, in a way that it is no longer poignant – or even moral – to simply keep making exhibitions in the way that had become the norm in previous years. So, they decided to address these issues into the exhibition’s conceptual framework and into the biennale exhibition format itself, by following a double process: Firstly, to transform the biennale into a sit-in and a gathering of collectives, political organizations and citizens involved in the transformation of society, an invitation to create a political moment rather than stage a political spectacle. Secondly, as the exhibition is designed and produced, its various stages of development are providing the basis for a feature film directed by Nicolas Bourriaud. The film will be a work of fiction albeit based on real events. This is the first time that the relationship between contemporary art and filmic language is investigated so thoroughly and so creatively.
Following the completion of the biennale, the film in its final format will be distributed both in the art world and the cinema circuit. The executive producer of the movie is Kino Prod (www.kino.fr) in Paris.
A catalogue will document the whole process of the 3rd Athens Biennale, and a DVD edition of the biennale, including the movie and documents on participants’ works, will be published.
MONODROME aims to provoke debate around something that has broken down, but also offer the possibility at a glimpse of something new to come.