Biennials in Dialogue is the title of a series of international conferences organized by Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations) aimed at generating multidisciplinary discussion around biennials by inviting stakeholders of the biennial industry from various parts of the world. The earlier editions, taking place in Kassel (2000), Frankfurt (2002) and Singapore (2006) brought together a large number of distinguished speakers, including Ursulla Zeller, René Block, Fumio Nanjo, Yacouba Konaté, Joseph Backstein, Jack Persekian, Nelson Herrera Ysla, Francesco Bonami, Dan Cameron, Iara Boubnova, Tobias Berger, Hedwig Fijen, You Yeong Kim, Manray Hsu, Saskia Bos, Adriano Pedrosa, Thierry Raspail, Madeleine Grynstejn and Igor Zabel among many others.
The fourth edition of Biennials in Dialogue took place on 6 and 7 September 2008 in Shanghai to coincide with the opening days of the
7th Shanghai Biennial Translocalmotion. The conference was hosted by the Goethe Institut Shangai and was prepared and programmed by Elke aus dem Moore, Director of IFA’s Visual Arts Department in collaboration with the team of Biennial Foundation.
Two-day discussions moderated by Marieke van Hal and Rafal Niemojewski revolved around three main topics: sustainablility, regionalism and cultural education as seen in the context of biennials.
The invited speakers included Rei Maeda (Coordinator of the 3rd Echigo – Tsumari Art Triennial, Japan), Ursula Zeller (Director of the Zeppelin Museum Friedrichshafen, Organizer
of the 4th Triennial of Contemporary Art Oberschwaben, Germany), Dora Hegyi (Curator of Periferic 8, Biennial for Contemporary Art, Iasi, Romania), Khalil Rabah (Director of the 2nd Riwaq Biennial, Palestine), Gridthiya Gaweewong (Curator of Saigon Open City, Vietnam), Jacopo Crivelli Visconti (Curator of the Sao Paulo Biennial Foundation), Sujud Dartanto (Curator of the 9th Biennial Jogja, Jakarta, Indonesia) and Zhang Qing, Julian Heynen and Henk Slager (Artistic Director and Curators of the 7th Shanghai Biennial, China).
During the second day of the conference a round-table network meeting has been organized by Marieke van Hal to facilitate more the exchange of ideas and discussions on more practical level. Conference speakers were joined by Hito Steyerl, artist participating in Shanghai Biennial, Steven van Teeveling of Fonds BKVB (NL), Sabine B. Vogel, art critic and researcher, Pannee Virunanont, Chayanoot Silpasart, researchers developing a biennial in Bangkok, Susanne Boecker, writer, and Barbara Honrath of Goethe Institute.
Biennial Foundation would like to express its gratitude to all the participants and in particular Mrs Elke aus dem Moore and IFA for this very fruitful collaboration. We would also like to thank Mr Raimund Wördemann, Consul/Director of Cultural and Education Section, and Janina Hübner, Cultural Attaché of Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Shanghai for their hospitality.