Today, the idea of culture as an expedient has gained legitimacy in West and underpins the enormous capital investment in a contemporary art infrastructure (of late in China). Increasingly, culture is supported as a purveyor of economic development and a tool to remediate social inequality. This trend has produced a contradiction for art whereby accountability and visibility jar with self-organisation and open-ended processes of valorisation.

Biennial exhibitions are habitually criticised for spectacularising the presentation of art. However, in recent years the proliferation of Biennials has yielded different models that distinguish themselves notably in their relation to place. Where on the one hand this multiplication follows the logic of globalised capital on the other a revaluation of our relation to the global has generated renewed attention to the local situations and translocal existencies. In addition new alliances between art, science and fe. ngo’s, cunning, trickery and ruses displace rugged nostalgia for oppositionality. Arguably some Biennials have contributed to the creation of new public spheres and a meaningful critique therefore needs to be precise about the ways in which the relation between the local and global is constituted. How does this new generation of Biennials fare?

Arguably some Biennials have contributed to the creation of new public spheres in their localities. Is it possible to square demands of city marketing and cultural tourism with an engagement with issues of citizenship, communities, dissensus and denizens? How can we constitute a bifocal perspective allowing us to examine the visual regime of capitalist consumption and the immanent meaning of art and social practices at the same time?

City Breaks? takes place over four days (the length of a ‘city break’), starting on the Thursday evening with an evening lecture, and followed by morning panels and afternoon workshops, in which thinking and doing enacts both local and international dimensions.

With:
Ackbar Abbas, Cecilia Andersson/Work Ltd, Christian Nolde/ Biomapping, Claire Bishop, John Byrne, Nina Edge, Charles Esche, Flying City, Beatriz Garcia, Jonathan Harris+Felipe Hernandez/CAVA, Pablo Helguera/ The School Pan-American Unrest, Manray Hsu, Gerardo Mosquera, Amalia Pica, Jean Francois Prost, Sala-manca, Stealth Unlimited, Paul Sullivan/Static, Ti-Nan Chi, Stephen Wright, George Yudice, a.o.