November 15, 2010 - Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) - Norway at the 54th Biennale di Venezia, 2011
November 15, 2010

Norway at the 54th Biennale di Venezia, 2011

Norway’s representation at
the 54th International Art Exhibition,
La Biennale di Venezia

The State of Things
Beyond Death: Viral Discontents and Contemporary Notions about AIDS

www.oca.no/press/venice_2011.shtml

Norway’s representation at the 54th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, will consist of two programmes, running consecutively throughout 2011: ‘The State of Things’, a series of lectures by internationally renowned intellectuals in various cultural and academic institutions in Venice, and ‘Beyond Death: Viral Discontents and Contemporary Notions about AIDS’, a teaching programme by artist Bjarne Melgaard at Università Iuav di Venezia.

About ‘The State of Things’:
At the end of World War I, a series of citizenship laws across Europe resulted in masses of refugees on the continent. In response to this crisis, Norwegian diplomat, scientist and explorer Fridtjof Nansen designed the Nansen Passport—an identity card issued by the League of Nations in 1922 that enabled refugees to move across borders in search of political and intellectual shelter. Reflecting upon the principles of the Nansen Passport today, and upon the possibility that the image of a nation may in fact be defined by its internationalism, the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA) is organising ‘The State of Things’, a series of public lectures that is part of Norway’s representation for the 54th edition of the Venice Biennale. The programme will commence during the Biennale’s opening days in June 2011, and continue until its closure in late November. It is hosted by Venetian cultural and academic institutions, such as the Faculty of Design and Arts at the Università Iuav di Venezia and the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti.

The public lectures, given by internationally respected intellectuals, will reflect upon themes such as diversity, Europe, the environment, peace-making, human rights, capital, sustainability, migration, asylum, aesthetics and war. Each of the papers will tackle the ‘state of things’ today, drawing from the speakers’ fields of activity and research, and from what they consider the intellectual and political priorities of today. Confirmed speakers include gender theorist Judith Butler, environmental activist and author Vandana Shiva, media theorist and activist Franco Berardi, art historian T.J. Clark, philosopher Jacques Rancière and architectural theorist Eyal Weizman.

About ‘Beyond Death: Viral Discontents and Contemporary Notions about AIDS’:
Also as part of Norway’s representation at the 54th edition of the Venice Biennale, Norwegian artist Bjarne Melgaard will serve as Guest Professor for the Graduate Programme of Visual Arts at the Faculty of Design and Arts, Università Iuav di Venezia. In an attempt to tackle one of the key issues in the world today, Melgaard will conduct a Masters programme titled ‘Beyond Death: Viral Discontents and Contemporary Notions about AIDS’. The programme will be structured around a series of lectures and workshops by the artist taking place from mid-February to mid-May 2011, and will conclude with a public project and a publication reflecting the materials researched during the course. ‘Beyond Death’ will look at the history and present of the AIDS crisis, and its reflection within contemporary art and discourse.

Throughout the screenings, workshops and lectures by Melgaard and guest lecturers, the programme will emphasise the socio-cultural implications of the epidemic, and the visual and linguistic representations that have been constructed to address it.

About the Office for Contemporary Art Norway:
Norway’s representation in Venice in 2011 is commissioned by OCA and organised by its director, Marta Kuzma and its associate curator, Pablo Lafuente, together with Peter Osborne, director of the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University in London. The teaching programme was developed at the invitation of and in cooperation with Angela Vettese, Director of the Graduate Programme of Visual Arts, Università Iuav di Venezia.

For more information on the project, see www.oca.no/press/venice_2011.shtml or contact Marthe Tveitan, marthe.tveitan@oca.no
For more information on the 54th edition of the Venice Biennale, visit www.labiennale.org

Image above:
© Unknown photographer/UNHCR.
Courtesy of The National Library of Norway.

Norway at the 54th Biennale di Venezia, 2011
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