The Zënza Sëida Cultural Association and the Biennale Gherdëina announce the inauguration of the 7th edition of the Biennale Gherdëina on Saturday, August 8th, 2020 across the public space of Ortisei, Val Gardena, in the picturesque landscape of the Dolomites, the celebrated UNESCO Heritage Site.

The Biennale Gherdëina with its focus on the public space as a stage for sculptural works and community-based, participatory projects, has always been perceived as a celebration of a unique place, its rich culture and a vivid local tradition. The circumstances of the forthcoming edition are particularly challenging. The pandemic crisis made us aware of the vulnerability of humans and nature. Resilience becomes a paramount urgency; the notions of shared responsibility and a humility as an ethical moderator of interpersonal relations gain a particular importance in an attempt to redefine the agencies of responsiveness and care. The Biennale Gherdëina 7th will reflect these concerns as challenges in the active processes of the world’s remaking. Here, the act of breathing (life) and the act of naming (recognition), as highlighted by this year’s Biennale title, constitute the framework of a political nature, the essentials of the “ecology of others”. As such, the Biennale Gherdëina 7th will celebrate the ethic of affirmation. In the words of the philosopher Rosi Braidotti: “we need to borrow the energy from the future to overturn the conditions of the present. It’s called love of the world. (…) Picture what you don’t have yet; anticipate what we want to become. We need to empower people to will, to want, to desire, a different world, to extract from the misery of the present joyful, positive, affirmative relations and practices. Ethics will guide affirmative politics”.

After ‘From Here to Eternity’ (Biennale Gherdëina 5th, 2016) and ‘Writing the Mountains’ (Biennale Gherdëina 6th, 2018), the last and concluding chapter of a trilogy on the politics of belonging, elaborated by the curator Adam Budak, arrives to Val Gardena under a poetic title borrowed from Paul Celan’s 1963 poem, ‘– a breath? a name? – the ways of worldmaking‘. In the forthcoming edition of the Biennale, previously featured thematic fields – the significance of the cultural legacy, the research of historical strategic positioning, the praise of the communal, the omnipresence of the nature and its “industry” – will receive a social and political framing with no ignorance to the poetic, the spiritual and the existential, thus further unfolding the complexity of the vernacular language with an attention paid to the continuity and perseverance of tradition, its necessary rewriting and undoing as well as its transformative potential. The Biennale will focus on the importance and the awareness of a political gesture in an active process of worldmaking, on its dynamic factor that guarantees a resilience of culture and nature, shapes the emancipated vernacular uniqueness of a place and manifests a brave, mature vision of a future to come. Three chapters on sociology of an encounter and the politics of the plural will constitute the core of “the ways of worldmaking”: ecology of others – on reinvigorating the relationality (following the anthropologist Philippe Descola’s reflection upon the nature-culture binary), in praise of hands – on the craft of touch (enhanced by the art historian Henri Focillon’s dream of art’s autonomy within the domains of materials, techniques and signs) and the cloud of possibles – on dissemination of enthusiasm and the power of differentiation (referring to the sociologist and philosopher Maurizio Lazzarato’s shift from capital-labour to capital-life).

Text from press release

All Photos:  T.Sorvillo, L.Guadagnini