MOMENTA Biennale de l’image is delighted to announce the appointment of Ji-Yoon Han as curator for its 18th edition, which will take place in September and October 2023. The curatorial vision for the exhibitions, public programs, and publication will build upon the metamorphic potentials of mimicry and the dynamics of visibility and invisibility in representations of the self and the other.
Masquerades: drawn to metamorphosis
We’ve all experienced that gap between who we think we are and how others perceive us. We’ve all felt the friction between the identity assigned to us and the one we construct for ourselves. We: that is, you and me—as well as others, human or not. Individuals are constantly recorded, formatted, fixed as same and identical, so here’s the urgent question: how do we (re)set in motion our understanding of identities and differences in the social space and in intimate experiences of otherness?
The notion of mimicry serves as the main driving force for developing the biennale. Mimicry designates the aptitude to “do as if”: to imitate (do the same), which involves first and foremost the capacity to transform (unmake) oneself by blurring the borders that define the edges of beings and things. Transversally, mimicry concerns human behaviour, the experience of all living things, and technological modelling. It situates us in the interstice between the self and the other, linking them and leading them to melt into one another. It is precisely the potential for metamorphoses inscribed in this interstice that MOMENTA 2023 wishes to embrace.
The image has a decisive role to play in these operations of mutation, of exposure and concealment, of separation and fusion. It is an ideal tool for seeing, experiencing, and testing perceptions of the self. The theme of mimicry thus calls for an exploration of theatricality and of the moving lines that today are redefining gestures of appropriation and disguise. Beyond its function of representation, the image is also an agent of mimetic metamorphosis. Doing like the other, taking oneself for another, or seeing oneself as another is to “become image.” In a reality that indeed seems to be devoured by images, mimicry takes on a unique significance, as borne out in camouflage strategies that have emerged to cope with generalized institutional and corporate surveillance.
The disruption of perception, especially visual, is at the core of mimetic scenarios. Who is looking at whom in my encounter with a chameleon, a stranger, an artificial intelligence? What about the feelings of incongruity, immersion, sinking, and vertigo, or even intoxication, produced by mimicry? The biennale will foster a dialogue among artists whose works seize on these operators of ambiguity and of entangled gazes. Beyond the instability of identity that is thus brought to light, might these intersubjective experiences lead us to reimagine our commonalities and what creates a sense of community?
Ji-Yoon Han lives and works in Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang/Montreal. Previously a curator at Fonderie Darling, she organized exhibitions of works by Cynthia Girard-Renard, Barbara Steinman, Javier González Pesce, and Guillaume Adjutor Provost, as well as a performative cycle on listening and sound art practices. She has contributed to monographs on Geneviève Cadieux and Louise Robert. In her PhD dissertation, she investigated how images competed between 1929 and 1936, articulating photography, surrealism, and the nascent cultures of the illustrated press and advertising. She is currently a guest researcher for the Photography and Commission project, with the support of Les amis du Centre Pompidou, Paris.
MOMENTA Biennale de l’image is an international contemporary art biennale devoted to the image, taking place in various venues in Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang/Montreal (Canada) every two years since 1989. Its activities include exhibitions, public events, educational programs, artistic and social collaborations, and more. The 2021 edition of MOMENTA reached 214,730 visitors and participants, presented the work of 51 artists, and offered many activities of mediation and audience development.