The 9th Berlin Biennale (BB9) is running with the theme ‘The Present in Drag’ across venues in the German capital, opening June 3 and running to September 18.
While the bulk of international art fairs and showcases require a fair amount of picking through the programmes to find the work of interest to an aqnb audience, the opposite is true for BB9. Curated by New York art collective DIS, the event features a wide range of outstanding artists, which is fitting given its online programme’s push towards “content, and more content”.
As a whole, BB9 aims to “materialize the digital condition and the paradoxes that increasingly make up the world” today, in terms of branding, data, capital, and politics; non-existent IRL/URL dichotomies and integrated affect, labour and culture economies.
That’s why the official biennial programme, taking place in five venues —Akademie der Künste (AdK), The Feuerle Collection, KW Institute for Contemporary Art and a sightseeing boat —replicates the shape-shifting nature of the elastic neoliberal art and culture market: “each one releasing a whiff of contemporary “paradessence” (paradox + essence)”. The list of locations is accompanied by a satirical scroll-down of descriptions such as “the site where Michael Jackson once dangled his baby from his Adlon Hotel balcony” or “the space marks the steady influx of collectors to Berlin”.
Aside from the BB9 exhibitions and commissions, the calendar is also accompanied by five parallel programmes —the ‘Fear of Content‘ web feed, ‘Anthem‘ soundtrack and live music, ‘LIT‘ largescale light-box displays, ‘Open Workout‘ fitness schedule, and an undisclosed ‘Not in the Berlin Biennale‘.
You can see a short description and list of artists worth looking out for in the five categories, along with those from the venue programmes, below:
Fear of Content
Web designer Jon Lucas leads the work on the BB9 website as well as its online programme, which includes a continuous feed of essays, interviews, digital projects, “content, and more content.” It’s title is “stolen” from the 2015 essay of the same name by Rob Horning. Projects and artists to appear in the online BB9 universe include Sean Raspet, McKenzie Wark, Cécile B. Evans, New Scenario’s Body Holes, Puppies Puppies and more.
The ‘soundtrack’ of the 9th Berlin Biennale produced by artist and musician Ashland Mines (aka Total Freedom) and featuring the likes of Nick Weiss, Elysia Crampton, Juliana Huxtable, Kelela, Nguzunguzu, Fatima Al Qadiri, Jacolby Satterwhite and more. It will be released as an eight-part series over Summer as limited edition 12″ vinyl records, alongside live performances throughout.
A “show within a show” platform of the commercial interface of large-scale lightboxes featuring “the smooth surface of a ‘communicative’ capitalism” and the work of Dora Budor, Hood by Air, Martine Syms, Stewart Uoo and others.
Not in the Berlin Biennale
This as-yet-to-be-revealed topic includes contributions (or not) from Saemundur Thor Helgason, Tilman Hornig, Chris Kraus, Casey Jane Ellison, Aaron David Ross (aka ADR), Andrew Norman Wilson, Anonymous.
Akademie der Künste
Centre for Style (in collaboration with Anna-Sophie Berger; Burkhard Beschow & Anne Fellner Max Brand, Susan Cianciolo, Marlie Mul…)
Debora Delmar Corp.‘s *Headquarters*
Lizzie Fitch/Ryan Trecartin
Calla Henkel/Max Pitegoff
Christopher Kulendran Thomas