Event and Counter-Event: The Political Economy of the Istanbul Biennial and Its Excesses

AuthorAngela Harutyunyan, Aras Ozgun, and Eric Goodfield
DateDate
Further Information

http://arasozgun.net/Aras_Ozgun_Political_Economy_of_Istanbul_Biennial.pdf


RETHINKING MARXISM VOLUME 23 NUMBER 4 (OCTOBER 2011)

 

In this paper we discuss the production of the Istanbul Biennial, and specifically that
of its eleventh edition in 2009, as an event. By looking at the sponsorship, curatorial
strategies, and formal aspects of the exhibitions constituting the Biennial, we
explore the contradiction between the ideological and economic conditions in which
it functions and its ambitious claims to radical emancipatory politics. We argue that
the art event operates as a global event in which contemporaneity itself, raised to
the level of the sublime, becomes a statement of the politics of aesthetics. We
juxtapose the Biennial to its reactions in the form of counter-events set up by
autonomous art collectives in Istanbul through which attention was brought to the
actual social, political, and economic conditions the event sought to evade and
appropriate in its self-construction as a universal signifier of cosmopolitan
modernity.
Key Words: Political Economy of Culture, Spectacle, Sublimation, Istanbul Biennial,
Politics of Art

Tags: , ,