“Venice” as stated by Dr. George Smith (President of IDSVA), “is the gate to the east [and] merging of different cultures.” The Venice Biennale Arte 2013 gives visual clarity to that statement beyond what anyone might imagine. With more than 88 countries participating, making a cultural connection to particular exhibits was not difficult. Beyond the cultural connections there appeared to be an overarching theme evident in several exhibits to which I was particularly drawn; the theme of history and time was presented in a documentary photo installation by Santu Mofokeng of South Africa. His work, Ancestors/Fearing the Shadows, coalesced “memory, spirituality, and landscape” of lives affected by “apartheid, ancient traditions, personal fates, and transnational development.” Philosophically, Mofokeng wrote, “Nothing forces a backwards glance like a threat.” He referred to his photographs as explorations of the ideas of a traumatized landscape and a larger inscribed history.
Holistically, the Biennale is a physical representation of hyper-aesthesia. Hyper-aesthesia takes you beyond looking to seeing. It opens the mind, imagination, and genius inherent in each of us into a courageous domain where the seemingly impossible becomes possible. Massimiliano Gioni, this year’s Biennale curator, allows himself to move into the realm of hyper-aesthesia in the vision of the Biennale; mixing history with the present; modernism and postmodernism; conceptual and deception; construction and deconstruction; the intuitive artist, self-taught artist and academic artist. Hyper-aesthesia–Is this not the place where we at IDSVA are to go? Is this not the place where we must all arrive?