AURORA BIENNIAL 2020-21: ‘Afterwards was already before’

Launched in Fall 2020, AURORA proudly presented its fifth biennial edition led by Curator Noam Segal and Associate Curators Tamara Johnson and Trey Burns. AURORA’s 2020-21 Biennial unfolded over several months in a new decentralized program format, which included projects by artists Marina Rosenfeld and Jan Tichy. ‘Afterwards was already before’ highlights the significance of interdependence by weaving together physical and digital events of diverse scales, ranging from the microscopic to the cosmic. The artworks explore the construction of the public by asking who gets to be part of it, and how we—as individuals, collectives and as a species—are quilted into it.

Created in response to the worldwide changes induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, the format of AURORA’s Biennial included both socially distanced and digital projects. The opening presentation for the 2020–21 Biennial took place on October 28, 2020, followed by the launch of the program on November 6 with the world premiere of Marina Rosenfeld’s newly commissioned sound installation and performance Ssalute alongside a panel discussion with Marina Rosenfeld and Noam Segal. Rosenfeld’s piece was hosted through November 15 and took place at Laz Parking Garage, 1200 Ross Ave, Dallas 75202.

In January 2021, the AURORA Biennial 2020-21 continued with a new three-part collaborative project titled Remote Pyramids and led by the Chicago-based artist and educator Jan Tichy. Through creative dialogue, Tichy connected a group of resettled refugee teenagers from the Vickery Meadow neighborhood in Dallas with a group of teenagers with their own migration experiences from the Oak Cliff neighborhood. The project’s digital space, remotepyramids.org, launched on January 12, 2021. On January 23, a public artwork by Tichy was projected onto the Dallas City Hall. From January 23–March 6, artworks created by six particiapting young artists were on view in the windows and storefront of Oak Cliff Cultural Center.

Want to stay in the loop? Subscribe to our newsletter, where we announce the latest AURORA news and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Graphic by Lahav Halevy

Watch our AURORA Biennial 2020-21 Opening Presentation for insights into this year’s program 


The title and theme of the AURORA Biennial 2020–21, ‘Afterwards was already before,’ addresses the timely politics of the loop, environmental phases, and the cycles that organize our lives. The heightened clash between the tightly dense structure of technology and the unpredictability of the natural world will be central to works of various mediums. Artists investigated what happens when we fall in and out of sync with our communities and our environment, and postulated new models for building connections in these spaces. Cross-network collaborations took place between the invited artists and a number of local community groups, sites and individuals dedicated to arts and education. 

Read more about the AURORA Biennial 2020–21 theme


Remote Pyramids: Launch of RemotePyramids.org
January 12, 2021
Location: Online

The website accompanying Jan Tichy’s project Remote Pyramids will go live on January 12. On the website, visitors can learn more about Tichy’s project, the young artists and their contributions, the Remote AURORA Summer Art Workshop and more. The curriculum of the Summer Workshop will also be made available for free, so educators around the world can utilize and adjust it according to their own local contexts.

Painting Workshop: Little Free Libraries

Led by local artist Hugo Juarez, a private workshop will take place to paint and decorate the The River Little Library and The Wings Little Library artworks by the Remote Pyramids participating artists Alexander Lopez and Andrez Rivas. These works will be exhibited at Oak Cliff Cultural Center from January 23-March 6, 2021. This workshop is hosted and supported by Sweet Pass Sculpture Park.

Remote Pyramids: Young artists’ public artworks
Dates: January 23–March 6, 2021
Location: Oak Cliff Cultural Center, 223 W Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, TX 75208

Visitors are invited to see projects created by six young artists who participated in the Remote AURORA Summer Workshop this past last summer. The works by Josafat Delgado, Alexander Lopez, Andrez Rivas, Judy Kharchou, Sumaya Sakhi, Sara Yassoumali are presented within the framework of Remote Pyramids and will be viewable at the Oak Cliff Cultural Center through their storefront and windows, offering the public a safe and accessible way to experience this exhibited art. The works by these young artists are made possible by John M. Flaxman Library at School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Oak Cliff Cultural Center, SAIC Service Bureau and Sweet Pass Sculpture Park.

Remote Pyramids: Projection by Jan Tichy
Date: January 23, 2021; Times TBA
Location: Dallas City Hall, 1500 Marilla St, Dallas 75201

As part of Remote Pyramids, a projection by Jan Tichy will take place on Dallas City Hall on the evening of January 23. The work will bring together the images and thoughts of the participating Remote Pyramids young artists from Oak Cliff and Vickery Meadow, which were created during the summer and fall of 2020.


Marina Rosenfeld: Ssalute
Sound installation and performance
Dates: November 6-8 and 10-15, 2020
Open Hours: 7-10pm Daily
Location: Laz Parking Garage, 1200 Ross Ave, Dallas 75202; ENTRANCE: SAN JACINTO STREET)
Performers: Raquel Samayoa, Chris Doty and Freddie Jones

As part of the AURORA Biennial 2020-21, we are proud to present the world premiere of a newly commissioned site-specific installation and performance by Marina Rosenfeld titled Ssalute, which will inhabit the upper levels of a parking structure in downtown Dallas from November 6-15.

Click here for artist bio and project description.

Artist Talk with Marina Rosenfeld and Noam Segal
Location: Online
Date: November 6, 2020; 2pm CST
Join us for an online conversation with Brooklyn-based composer and artist Marina Rosenfeld and curator Noam Segal to discuss Rosenfeld’s sound installation and performance Ssalute, which will launch the AURORA Biennial 2020-21 program. Rosenfeld’s works explore acoustic architectures and experimental forms of participation and sociality through sound installations and performances.

Click here to watch the artist talk with Marina Rosenfeld and Noam Segal on our YouTube channel.

AURORA Biennial Opening Presentation
Location: Online
October 28, 2020; 1-2pm CST

Our opening online program will feature presentations from AURORA Executive Director Joshua King, 2020-21 Biennial Curator Noam Segal (Ph.D.) and Associate Curators Tamara Johnson and Trey Burns, artist Jan Tichy, Tichy’s local collaborators and artist Jess Garland.

Click here to watch the AURORA Biennial Opening Presentation on our YouTube channel.


2020 AURORA Biennial Curator: Noam Segal 

‘Afterwards was already before’ was helmed by independent Brooklyn-based curator and writer Noam Segal. Her practice focuses on contextualizing and supporting artists in producing new media art. Segal received her Ph.D. in the Hermeneutics and Culture department at Bar Ilan University (Tel Aviv) and has collaborated with numerous international artists, museums and nonprofits alike. She’s presented the work of artists such as Neïl Beloufa, Pope.L, Sharon Hayes, Anri Sala, Ulla Von Brandenburg, and Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz at prestigious international biennials and institutions, including the Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), MOCO (Montepellier, France), Performa (NYC), Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago and Tel Aviv Museum of Art, among others. More can be learned about Segal and her practice here.

2020 AURORA Biennial Associate Curators: Tamara Johnson and Trey Burns

Segal was supported by Associate Curators Tamara Johnson and Trey Burns, who in 2018 co-founded Sweet Pass Sculpture Park, an outdoor exhibition space on a one-acre plot of land in West Dallas. Since opening, they have worked with over 100 local and international artists, university students and various organizations and institutions like the Boys & Girls Club, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Dallas Museum of Art and North Park Center. Johnson, who received her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, is currently a visiting lecturer in sculpture at the Southern Methodist University, and Burns received his MFA from the Savannah College of Art & Design. Before moving to Dallas, they both lived and worked in New York.


The AURORA Biennial 2020-21 is made possible by the generous support from: TurningPoint Foundation, YPO Gold Maverick Dallas, Visit Dallas, Hartland & Mackie Family Foundation, Downtown Dallas Inc., M.O.B. Foundation, Preciate, Paperlyte, Headington Companies LLC, City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture, Ruibal’s and InLight Gobos

Founding Media Sponsor:

AURORA would like to thank the following Foundations and individuals for their continued support:
Lydia and Bill Addy, Beth and Peter Beck, Nancy and Randy Best, Barbara and Mason Brown, Christie and Trey Brown, Molly Byrne, Lucilo Pena and Lee Cobb, Emily and David Corrigan, Catherine Corrigan, David B. Deniger, Claire Dewar, Bill and Rusty Duvall, Lahav Halevy, Fanchon and Howard Hallam, Cinda and Thomas Hicks, Mary Jalonick, Nancy and Mike Kerr, Carol and John Levy, Shea and Tony LoRocco, Sarah and Alan Losinger, Vicki and Brian Miller, Susan and Bill Montgomery, Jay and Ruthie Pack, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, Cynthia and Charley Redden, Stacey and Gerry Ridgely, Deedie Rose, Catherine and Will Rose, Stephanie and Mark Ruibal, and Nicole and Justin Small, Robie and Fallon Vaughn.


To get a taste of past events, check out our AURORA 2018: ‘Future Worlds’ trailer: