Contour Biennale 8, “Polyphonic Worlds: Justice as Medium”
              Colin Perry
              What could be more pertinent to today’s helter-skelter mudslide into the political abyss than a reflection on the idea of justice? The eighth edition of the Contour Biennial is dedicated to this most noble of themes. Both thrilling and frustrating, the biennial offers vertiginous perspectives by artists and theorists, as well as the inevitable art-world speculation and textual flak. Hosted in the small, historic town of Mechelen, just outside Brussels, the biennial is installed in numerous venues ranging from a thirteenth-century courthouse to a post-industrial warehouse. Contour 8’s awkward subtitle, “Polyphonic Worlds: Justice as Medium,” alludes to Mechelen’s historic role as a seat of juridical power in the region, as well as to the city’s importance in the development of Renaissance polyphonic music. The biennial entwines the themes, with polyphonic music acting as a metaphor for the multiple voices of pluralistic societies, which in turn becomes the grounds for renewed thinking about the stakes of justice in a globalized world. Curated by Natasha Ginwala, who is also a curatorial advisor on this year’s documenta 14, Contour includes works from diverse geographies, from Northern Europe to the Australian Northern Territories. At the biennial’s main site, The Garage, a number of works document …
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