From the Robert and Margot Kelley Venice Biennale Residency:
IDSVA Visiting Faculty John Rajchman and Giovanna Borradori will be lecturing for IDSVA students today at the Venice Biennale, topics ranging from art and politics to the globalization of biennials.
Leading Italian philosopher Giovanna Borradori is author of Philosophy in a Time of Terror: Dialogues with Jurgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida.
American philosopher John Rajchman is counted among the world's most important thinkers on art and globalization.
Rajchman's lecture abstract is outlined below:
Xu Bing’s Phoenix Project … and what it tells us about contemporary art
Phoenix-2015 by the Chinese artist, Xu Bing, is the largest work in the current Biennial with its grand theme of ‘all the futures of the world’. But what does this project tells about such futures and the role of contemporary art in it? And what role might China or Chinese art play in this open question?
In fact, the work is part of a larger project, which goes back to China in 2008, the year of the economic crisis. It was then that the great fierce Tang Dynasty birds, fashioned with the participation of migrant workers with debris from their ubiquitous construction sites in the new Beijing, would begin their strange, fraught, ‘flight’ – first within China itself, then in Mass MoCa and the Cathedral of Saint John The Divine in New York, before arriving in a new form in a bridge over Venice. Originally intended as an incongruous ‘public’ piece in the Financial Center in Beijing, the unfinished flight of the birds may be read as a kind of Chinese parable of the problems of contemporary art in the new ‘global’ system of today. How can tradition, revitalized, become effective in the new ‘transnational’ world this system has brought with it?