7ª Mercosur Biennial
Camilo Yáñez, Victoria Noorthoorn
The 7th Mercosur Biennial began in March 2008 with the launch of a new selection process for the chief curator. The competition was open to professionals from across the world and received 67 proposals from candidates from more than 20 countries.
The 7th Mercosur Biennial began in March 2008 with the launch of a new selection process for the chief curator. The competition was open to professionals from across the world and received 67 proposals from candidates from more than 20 countries. The method adopted marked a new stage in the evolution of the Mercosur Biennial, making the selection of the artistic direction more dynamic and transparent. The chosen proposal, by curators Victoria Noorthoorn and Camilo Yáñez, affirmed the meaning and importance of artists as social players and constant producers of necessary critical meaning. The title of this edition, Screaming and Listening, explores multidirectional communication through multiple languages. According to the chief curators, rather than working with a theme, the 7th Mercosur Biennial proposed a series of methodologies and actions demonstrating the diversity of approaches and functions presented by contemporary art: "Screaming and Listening establishes a connecting link between two poles: it stresses the importance of the action (the scream) of the artist producing immediate and effective action with the aim of making an impact and important changes; and it calls on the power of listening, of hearing, to provoke an attitude of reflection, restoring the power of dialogue as a model for constructing a better society", as the curators state in their curatorial text. The 7th Mercosur Biennial - Screaming and Listening, which took place in Porto Alegre/Brazil from October 16 to November 29 2009, was organized into seven exhibitions, an education program, a publishing and communication program, a radio system and a series of cultural programs taking place throughout the Biennial period both inside and outside the exhibition spaces. 338 artists took part in this edition, from 29 countries such as Germany, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Spain, USA, France, Mexico, Switzerland, United Kingdom Uruguay and Venezuela. Around 60% of the works were produced especially for the Biennial. The exhibitions were housed in the Quayside Warehouses, Santander Cultural and MARGS - Museu de Arte do Rio Grande do Sul, together with several public spaces in the state capital. The Education Program for this edition was devised with an aim of decentralizing and expanding the activities. Strong examples of this are the "Practical Maps - available spaces" project, an action with 26 education studios in Porto Alegre, and 40 local artists who opened their doors for group visits and free workshops during the Biennial period. The project offered 144 sessions of 38 different workshops, serving an audience of approximately 1400 people. Intended for university students and graduates from any subject area, the 7th Mercosur Biennial Mediator-training course trained people to attend visitors during the exhibitions. 200 people and teachers and guests received free training. 164 of these students were selected to work as mediators at the Biennial, together with 12 supervisors and 12 assistant supervisors. The course amounted to 63 hours of classes with the presence of curators and artists. 45 students also received information through the Distance Learning program. The course was free of charge and comprised practical and theory classes about the different contemporary languages and approaches in the curatorial concept, the conditions of art teaching, training in mediation and attending different audiences, bodily and vocal expression, practical workshops, and meetings with artists and curators. Another innovation of the 7th Mercosur Biennial Education Program was the Available Artists Residency Program, which organized a real artistic marathon in nine regions of Rio Grande do Sul and towns on the Uruguayan border. Porto Alegre, São Leopoldo, Montenegro, Lajeado, Pelotas, Caxias do Sul, Santa Maria, Santana do Livramento, Tavares and Riozinho were the places chosen for 14 artists' projects aimed at promoting an exchange of information between the Biennial and local communities. Around 6,000 people actively participated in the projects.
Camilo Yáñez, Victoria Noorthoorn
Marina de Caro
Lenora de Barros
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