Vienna Biennale 2015

From 11 June to 4 October 2015, Vienna will host its first interdisciplinary biennale: the Vienna Biennale 2015 will establish innovative creative alliances and combine contemporary fine art with design and architecture. Initiated by Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, Director of the MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art, and realized in partnership with the University of Applied Arts Vienna, the Kunsthalle Wien, the Architekturzentrum Wien, and departure, the Creative Unit of the Vienna Business Agency, with support from the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology as a non-university research partner, the first Vienna Biennale is dedicated to the theme Ideas For Change.

The exhibitions and projects of the Vienna Biennale 2015 will explore artistic positions for positive change and spark a discourse against the background of Digital Modernity. “We live in a new age of modernity, in which the digital revolution penetrates all areas of our lives. It is the responsibility of the arts, including architecture and design, to engage with the challenges of Digital Modernity. The Vienna Biennale 2015 also draws on the interdisciplinary role that Vienna played around 1900 in the previous Western modernity, which was triggered by the Industrial Revolution,” says Christoph Thun-Hohenstein.

Four international curators were invited to develop projects for the Vienna Biennale 2015: Pedro Gadanho (Curator of Contemporary Architecture, Museum of Modern Art, New York), Harald Gruendl (Co-Partner, EOOS; Director, IDRV – Institute of Design Research Vienna), Maria Lind (Director, Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm), and Peter Weibel (Director, ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe; Professor, University of Applied Arts Vienna).

Mapping Bucharest: Art, Memory, and Revolution 1916–2016
In his study The Long Revolution (1961), Raymond Williams dives into globe-spanning processes of theoretical and actual revolutions. Societies communicate through creativity that emerges as an idea, takes on cultural forms, mediates between the individual and society, and is represented through language. In their current relevance, cultural, political, and industrial revolutions develop in parallel and trace developments that create new realities in art, architecture, and design. The exhibition highlights the contemporary scene in Bucharest and Romania against the background of past avant-garde movements as Dada, founded in 1916. The award-winning entries from the artists, architects, and designers in the idea competition Create Your Bucharest to be announced in October 2014 will be shown in the exhibition.
MAK · Curators: Peter Weibel (Executive Director, ZKM | Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe; Full Professor, University of Applied Arts Vienna), Bärbel Vischer (Curator, MAK Contemporary Art Collection)
Performing Public Art
Until now art in public space has primarily been manifested in the medium of sculpture, in forms ranging from war memorials to figurative and abstract sculptural works. Even at the time of their creation, most of these sculptures were more or less retrogressive. They dealt with past events, which received attention after the fact; they were more or less monuments. Since the introduction into art of activity in the present moment through Happenings, Actions, and Fluxus a transformation has occurred from spatially based art like sculpture into temporally based art like Action. In the context of worldwide activism, many artists have brought forth new forms of performative sculpture, new forms of “public art”, which manifests itself in this exhibition.
University of Applied Arts Vienna
Curators: Peter Weibel (Executive Director, ZKM | Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe; Full Professor, University of Applied Arts Vienna), Gerald Bast (Rector, University of Applied Arts Vienna)
Group Exhibition (Title in preparation)
For the Vienna Biennale 2015, Maria Lind, Director of Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm, curates a group exhibition that will take place at two venues, i.e. the MAK and Kunsthalle Wien (at Museumsquartier). The project also consists of a series of discursive events, including several MAK NITE Labs. The MAK NITE Lab The New Enlightenment? The first public deliberation already took place in April 2014; it will be followed by MAK NITE Labs in November and December 2014, and one MAK NITE Lab in 2015.
MAK / Kunsthalle Wien · Curator: Maria Lind (Director of Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm)
2051: Smart Living in the City
How do climate change, limited resources, and social conflicts change our civilization? How can we make the right decisions and how can we age responsibly? In this process, cities will be the dominant living environment of the future. “Smart cities” use resources sparingly, thus making an important contribution to reducing CO2 output. Beyond this aspect, the model “Smart City Vienna” emphasizes quality of life and social considerations. In the context of the city as a laboratory for sustainable lifestyles, the Vienna Biennale 2015 will develop projects that represent a new understanding of design in the exhibition 2051. Smart Life in the City at the MAK.
Organized by the MAK along with departure, the Creative Unit of the Vienna Business Agency
MAK · Curators: Harald Gruendl (Co-Partner, EOOS; Head of the IDRV – Institute of Design Research Vienna), Thomas Geisler (Curator, MAK Design Collection)
Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities
In 2030, the world’s population will be a staggering eight billion people. Of these, two-thirds will live in cities. With limited resources, this uneven growth will be one of the greatest challenges faced by societies across the globe. To initiate this international debate, Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities brings together six interdisciplinary teams of researchers and practitioners to examine new architectural possibilities for six global metropolises. The resulting design scenarios seek to challenge current assumptions about the relationships between formal and informal, bottom-up and top-down urban development, and to address potential changes in the roles architects and urban designers might play vis-à-vis the increasing inequality of current urban development. The exhibition is realized by MoMA in collaboration with the MAK.
MAK · Curator: Pedro Gadanho (Curator of Contemporary Architecture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York)
Seestadt Aspern International: International Competition for an Architectural Project in aspern Die Seestadt Wiens
The population of Vienna will reach the two million mark within the next 15 years. To satisfy the housing requirements of such a rapidly growing population is one of the biggest challenges. Architekturzentrum Wien in collaboration with the Wien 3420 Aspern Development AG is launching an international competition for a site in the Seeparkquartier of the Seestadt Aspern. The aim of the competition is to explore different approaches to the city’s architecture. Not the architectural object should be in the foreground, but the residential house as part of the urban fabric. For the growing city is a heterogeneous city and needs— as well as the architecture of the growing city—a common language as a starting point for individual statements.
Architekturzentrum Wien · Curator: Dietmar Steiner (Director, Architekturzentrum Wien)

The Vienna Biennale Circle of eminent personalities living in Vienna will provide an important connection to the city of Vienna and ensure that all the projects will be brought together with an interdisciplinary approach. The resulting insights will be presented in an additional exhibition.

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