15th Gwangju Biennale Announces Title, Theme

13May 28, 2023

15th Gwangju Biennale Announces …

The organizers of the Gwangju Biennale have revealed the title and theme for the event’s fifteenth iteration. Titled “Pansori: A Soundscape of the 21st Century,” after a musical form that emerged in southwest Korea during the seventeenth century, the Biennale will explore the effects of climate change and the recent pandemic on the notion of space, and will examine the relationship between humans, animals, and nature within the context of the Anthropocene. The wordpansoriliterally means “the sound of the public place,” or, more loosely, the voice of the common people.

The genre, which features musical storytelling by a vocalist accompanied by a drummer, originated as an accompaniment to shamanic rituals.RelatedHELEN FRANKENTHALER FOUNDATION SUED FOR “DESTROYING” PAINTER’S LEGACYBMA CREATES PAID INTERNSHIPS HONORING VALERIE MAYNARD Under the curatorship of French scholar, curator, and criticNicolas Bourriaud, the edition’s artistic director, the Biennale will be divided into three sections, each of which responds to what the press release describes as a “sonic phenomenon.” The first of these will correlate to the Larsen effect, or audio feedback, which occurs when an amplified source is placed too close to a receiver. The section will present the world as an echo chamber, and will investigate the effect of human saturation on both interpersonal and interspecies relationships. The second section will revolve around the concept of polyphony, a musical style characterized by multiple independent melodic lines; here, the connection between industrialized and developing nations will come to the fore.

The third section is based on “the sound of the origins, the ChineseQi, the BuddhistOm, the first noise of the Big Bang.” Through this lens, artists will examine the macro and the micro: the cosmos and the molecular world. During the course of the Biennale, which is slated to open in September 2024 at the Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Hall, art projects will appear in diverse locations throughout the city, ranging from cafés to public parks. As well, sound-based artworks will be scattered throughout Gwangju; these will act asmadangs, or “individual songs,” of pansori.