AURORA BIENNIAL 2020–21 THEME:



The AURORA Biennial 2020-21 responds to this timely moment with coiled journeys through places where we all can belong.

Once listening to

Afterwards
was
already
before


The ear instinctively grasps there’s something wrong. A weird repetition, a glitch of meaning or maybe a leak of sound. The stuttered language of the unheard, of the unvoiced, is looping. Some of us have been her­­e way before; some of us saw it coming. Some felt it was the effect of feedback coming from the screen.

The sound is here, is near and urgent.

Highlighting the significance of interdependence, the AURORA Biennial 2020–21, featuring physical and digital events, will weave together events of diverse scales, ranging from the microscopic to the cosmic, questioning the formation of the connective tissue of the eco-commons. Artworks will explore the construction of the public by asking who gets to be part of it and how we—as individuals, collectives and a species—are quilted into it.

Cyclical ideas fusing ecology and technology will permeate the show. In recurring acts and repetitions, various digital loop formats (e.g. DLC, GIF, and the audio format REX2) will be used to investigate the consequences of falling out of sync with our communities and our environment. A dead star flickers for a long time after its death, as it is 10,000 light-years away. What we see in the sky is a façade, an illusion of liveliness. We act as if nothing has changed. Only after many years—after long stretches of time—can such changes become perceptible to us. Cyclical earthly processes will be interweaved with a variety of looping formats, yielding a network of precarious meet-ups and (de)familiar recurrences. Continuously phasing in and out of syncopation, the timely politics of the loop, causing us to fall in and out of step with our surroundings, our bodies and even our economic cycles, is the core of this show.

Sequences within each trajectory will expose our blind spots, allowing us to reflect on the ways that repetitious technological formats function as systems of support. The clash between the digital sphere’s tightly structured sense of duration and the unpredictability and plasticity of the natural world will be central to ‘Afterwards was already before.’

Connections that are formed outside our typical experience and understanding of time are fragile. The idea of keeping time becomes a slippery undertaking, especially in a tumultuous historical moment, like our own, marked by violence (physical and psychic) and by degradation: the wanton marginalization and treatment of human life as superfluous; the vertiginous swings of the Dow Jones Industrial Average; an incessant election cycle; an exhaustless, 24-hour news and sports culture; and even academic semesters untethered to shared space and time zones. Here, we will gather up dismembered events and piece them back together, without compromising their fragmented nature. We look into Mother Earth—into the biomimetic rhythms of feminine cycles, into a livelihood that manages to escape and leap out of toxicity—as we insist on nurturing hope. If we JAZZ together, we evolve together.

In the same way a person with an injured limb might rely on gypsum or crutches, so too will these works and their artists rely on assistance from unexpected materials, places and species—as well as from their local peers. Collaborations will take place between the invited artists and a number of community groups and sites  that are dedicated to the arts and education. 

We will open our programming with a loud trumpet salute to our visitors, a role shared by noted Dallas-based musicians Freddie Jones and Raquel Samayoa. Composed by Marina Rosenfeld, Ssalute heralds each visitor’s entry into the public sphere—albeit within the protective skin of their vehicle—with a thickly amplified trumpet salutation, which will echo and decay around the visitors as they move through the spiral architecture of the parking garage. We look forward to evolving with you, between two moons, like the Seneca Indians, living in a thick present stretched between the rays of the sun.  


This project is informed by the pioneering work of Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, author of “The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins” (Princeton University Press); by Donna Haraway’s “Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene” (Duke University Press); and by Professor Fred Moten.