fbpx Biennale Arte 2015 2015 | Biennale Arte 2015 - Arena
La Biennale di Venezia

Your are here

Biennale Arte 2015




Designed by architect David Adjaye, the ARENA is a gathering-place of the spoken word, the art of the song, scores, scripts, recitals, film screenings, and public discussions devoted to diverse theories and explorations of Capital. Over the course of All the World’s Futures, artists, musicians, composers, actors, intellectuals, students, and members of the public have been invited to contribute to the program of readings and performances that will flood and suffuse surrounding galleries with voices in an epic display of orality.



Isaac Julien

b. 1960 United Kingdom

Das Kapital Oratorio(live readings 30’ each)

Courtesy Galería Helga de Alvear

Daily, tree times a day

The linchpin of the ARENA program is the Das Kapital Oratorio, an epic live reading of all three volumes of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital (Capital). In this meticulously researched bibliographic project, based on the concept of the Sikh event known as the Akhand Path (a recitation of the Sikh holy book read continuously over several days by a relay of readers), Das Kapital serves as a kind of oratorio read live as a dramatic text by trained actors throughout the exhibition’s seven months’ duration. Accompanying the live reading of Marx’s seminal and still controversial book is a continuous sequence of other oral performances involving the recital of librettos, lyrics, scripts, and the like.

Conceived by Okwui Enwezor with Isaac Julien in collaboration with Mark Nash

Directed by Isaac Julien

Produced by Luz Gyalui

Research and coordination by Tim Roerig

Performed by Ivana Belac, Francesco Bianchi, Elena Bondi, Jacopo Giacomini, Caroline Jones, Jenni Lea Jones, Philip Jones, Ivan Matijašic, Andrea Romano and Steven Varni



Jason Moran & Alicia Hall Moran

b. 1975 / 1973 United States

Work Songs(40’)

Courtesy the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York


Jason Moran and Alicia Hall Moran’s Work Songs maps and investigates the tempos of work songs sung in prisons, fields, and houses. They have set out to map these work songs both conceptually and emotionally. In the ARENA, a solo voice performs a cycle of work songs. Additionally, at the Arsenale, Moran and The Bandwagon perform newer work songs that have been composed within the past ten years, which focus on the instrumental aspects of work songs. The melodic content embedded in these work songs expose the mantras that have assisted workers everywhere and across the ages.

Performed by Rashida Bumbray, Roosevelt André Credit, Lisa E. Harris, Steven Herring, Andrea Jones-Sojola, Alicia Hall Moran, Anthony Mills, Latasha N. Nevada Diggs, Jamet Pittman an Phumzile Sojola



Jeremy Deller

b. 1966 United Kingdom

Broadsides and Ballads of the Industrial Revolution(20’)

Courtesy the artist and Hayward Gallery, London


Jeremy Deller explores the question of life and working conditions in factories, based on archival materials from the nineteenth century through the present. Deller’s work investigates such issues as the absence of workers’ rights, zero-hour contracts, scheduled work and break hours, and the concept of “work time” through the study and performance of song sheets that were once sold in the streets. These early factory songs were a cross between folk and popular music. Some lyrics are about work in general, while others address working conditions in the factories. Although known as “factory songs,” these lyrics were not likely sung inside the factories themselves, due to the deafening noise of the machinery.

Performed by Sara Bertolucci, Andrea Biscontin, Marco Cisco, Federica Delle Crode, Daniela Gungui, Michael Miazzi, Alessia Pugliati and Jennifer Reid



Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige

b. 1969 Lebanon

Latent Images: Diary of a Photographer(120’)

Courtesy Galerie In Situ Fabienne Leclerc, Paris; CRG

Gallery, New York; The Third Line, Dubai


Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige present a daily reading of their artist book Latent Images: Diary of a Photographer (2009–2015), the third part of their Wonder Beirut project. The book is based on hundreds of reels of film originally exposed, but until now never developed, by the Lebanese photographer Abdallah Farah between 1997 and 2006. Farah’s work bears witness to postwar Beirut, relaying political, social, personal, and everyday events over almost a decade. In this limited-edition volume, the image descriptions replace the photographs; short fragments of text describe the invisible images while creating a new imaginary space. A diverse group of individuals take turns reading the book with their multiplicity of voices. The point is thus to communicate a narrative orally and to displace the notion of latent image in favor of an emergence of the image through the body.

Performed by Pamela Breda, Geoffrey Carey, Joanna Kate Dolan, Nicholas Kahn, Marta Lovatto, Vito Lupo, Adriano Iurissevich, Margherita Manino, Arianna Moro, Ilona Morokina, Eva Maria Ohtonen, Sofia Pauly, Gabriel Pressman, Mattia Stasolla, Isadora Tomasi, and Antonella Tosato



Ivana Müller

b. 1972 Croatia

We Are Still Watching(20’)

Courtesy the artist

Tuesdays and Thursdays–Saturdays

Ivana Müller presents We Are Still Watching, a reading rehearsal performed by the spectators themselves. The piece forges a community of readers entangled in a shared plot, in which each of them has to discover his or her role. While the script dictates the conversation, the performers rely on each other’s unceasing participation to keep the momentum going. If they persist in their exercise the script will gradually dissolve to beg the question: To what extent are the readers also actors?



Maja Bajevic

b. 1967 Bosnia

Arts, Crafts and Facts(22’ 18’’)

Courtesy the artist; Peter Kilchmann Gallery, Zurich; Michel Rein, Paris and Brussels

Maja Bajevic presents a video that responds to the denigration of human labor caused by the financialization of the global economy. In the era of finance capitalism, capital separates itself from its concrete breeding ground as it is reinvested in intangible financial products and services. To compose the libretto of Arts, Crafts and Facts, Bajevic investigated the repercussions of world price fluctuations of raw materials such as coffee and cacao on all levels of the economy, from shop prices to stock prices, and from the income of home owners to that of store owners. Recited against the background of an early industrial textile factory founded in the socialist context of former Yugoslavia, the libretto charts the the effects of neoliberal speculation on the concrete living conditions of the global working class.

Libretto by Maja Bajevic, Anja Bogojevic and Tijana Vignjevic



Olaf Nicolai

b. 1962 Germany

Non Consumiamo… (to Luigi Nono)(20’)

vocal performances available in twelve backpacks

Courtesy the artist and Galerie Eigen + Art, Berlin and Leipzig


Olaf Nicolai presents a newly commissioned work inspired by Luigi Nono’s two-part composition Un volto, del mare / Non consumiamo Marx (1969). After Venetian protestors were forcefully evicted from the premises of the 34th Biennale di Venezia in 1968, the Italian composer incorporated audio recordings of those events in Non consumiamo Marx. Drawing on Nono’s musical response to the revolutionary uproar of 1968, Nicolai invites performers to react in song to the live reading of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital in the ARENA. Every few days a performer writes and sings a new song, which he or she records with a smartphone. The recordings are then transmitted digitally into a portable backpack system available to ARENA visitors. In this way, the work transforms the entire exhibition into a stage on which viewers can assume their roles as actors. Five-minute excerpts from the live performance held during the vernissage are also broadcast in the ARENA three times daily.

Performed by Ekkehard Abele, Andreas Fischer, Noa Frenkel, Daniel Gloger, Susanne Leitz-Lorey, Natasha López, Angelika Luz, Truike van der Poel and Pascal Zurek



Charles Gaines

b. 1944 United States

Sound Texts(45’)

Courtesy the artist; Paula Cooper Gallery, New York; Susanne Vielmetter Projects Los Angeles

May 6, 15:30-16:15 (conducted by Sean Griffin)

June 14, 15:40–16:30

July 10, 15:30–16:15

September 18, 15:30–16:15

October 3, 14:00–14:45

November 21, 15:30–16:15

Charles Gaines’s new original master composition for the Biennale is derived from his most recent body of work, Sound Texts, a series of large-scale drawings of musical scores from songs, some borrowed from as early as the American Civil War (1860–1865) and others dating from the mid twentieth century. Gaines’s original musical composition is based on five arrangements derived from four Sound Texts works exhibited in All the World’s Futures. The five arrangements will be layered over one another progressively during the course of the monthly performances throughout the duration of the exhibition.

Original composition by Charles Gaines, arrangements for piano and string quartet by Sean Griffin

Performed by Alessandro Fagiuoli (violin), Stefano Antonello (violin), Andrea Amendola (viola), Luca Paccagnella (cello), Alessia Toffanin (piano), Giovanni Deriu (tenor) and Diana Trivellato (soprano)



Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc

b. 1977 France

Evil Ni**er, Gay Guerrilla, Crazy Nig**er, For Julius Eastman

(21’ 29’’ / 29’ / 55’)

Courtesy the artist

May 5, 18:15-18:40 (conducted by Jean-Christophe Marti)

May 6, 18:30-18:55 (conducted by Jean-Christophe Marti)

May 7, 18:30-19:00 (conducted by Jean-Christophe Marti)

May 8, 18:20-19:15 (conducted by Jean-Christophe Marti)

May 9, 16:00-18:00 (conducted by Jean-Christophe Marti)

June 28, 14:30–16:30

July 25, 14:00–16:00

August 29,14:00–16:00

September 27, 14:00–16:00

October 23, 14:00–16:00

November 22, 14:30–16:30

Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc presents a temporary memorial to the music and personality of the legendary African-American musician, singer, and composer Julius Eastman (1940–1990), whose singular and inimitable contributions to contemporary, avant-garde classical music are on display in the ARENA throughout the exhibition. Eastman’s three compositions for four grand pianos—Evil Nigger (1979), Gay Guerrilla (1980), and Crazy Nigger (1980)—are rehearsed and performed live monthly. The audience is even invited to participate in the performance of Crazy Nigger.

Performed by Antoine Alerini, Violaine Debever, Gwendal Giguelay, Tom Grimaud, Anna Jbanova, Lukas Rickli and Sarah Ristorcelli



the Tomorrow

a journal founded in Italy, 2014

Figures of Kapital(60’)

Courtesy the Tomorrow


the Tomorrow focus their attention on Karl Marx’s Das Kapital as a potential repository of stories and figures. For although the narrative of Das Kapital still remains sharp and challenging, the characters now appear obsolete and remote. The modern subjects—for whom the concepts of Das Kapital were originally developed—no longer exist. No proletariat, no bourgeoisie, no intellectuals, at least the way Marx imagined them. Das Kapital survives today as a logic without subjects to activate it. the Tomorrow organizes two seminars, starting with an opening event (Figures of Kapital) and continuing with three days of live-annotations on the book (Tales on Kapital). The conversations evolve through the participation of artists, writers, philosophers, actors, musicians, and members of the public. Figures of Kapital and Tales on Kapital will develop as dialogues focusing on questions such as: What is the next act of the Capital drama, what is its setting, and who are its dramatis personae?

Find out more on www.theTomorrow.net



Gulf Labor Coalition (GLC)

a transnational coalition of international artists founded in New York, 2011

Gulf Labor Coalition – Research Report

Courtesy Gulf Labor Coalition

July 29 – August 9

Gulf Labor Coalition (GLC) is a self-organized group of artists, writers, architects, curators, and other cultural workers who are trying to ensure that workers’ rights are protected when contemporary art, precarious labor, and global capital intersect. GLC’s primary focus has been on the construction of Western-branded cultural institutions, including the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum now underway on Saadiyat Island (also called “The Island of Happiness”) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). In 2011 GLC launched a public boycott of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi (GAD). Since then, almost two thousand artists, curators, writers, and others have signed on to the boycott, agreeing not to sell artworks to, accept commissions from, or participate in events on behalf of the GAD. Periodically, GLC members visit UAE labor camps to conduct research. At the Biennale di Venezia, Gulf Labor will present a report of their extensive recent research in India and UAE in a series of plenary discussions and presentations organized over several days.

Plenary discussions and presentations:

High Culture/Hard Labor: The Work of Gulf Labor and its Allies

July 29

With Walid Raad, Nick McGeehan, Shaina Anand and Sharan Burrow

South Asian Migrants and the Gulf Dream

August 2

With Ashok Sukumaran, Paula Chakarvartty, Nitasha Dhillon, Parimel Sudhakar

A New Wave of Arts Activism?

August 5

With Greg Sholette, Mariam Ghani, Amin Husain, Noah Fischer, Guy Mannes-Abbott, Doris Bittar

Who Needs Museums and Biennales?

August 9

With Andrew Ross, Okwui Enwezor, Terike Haapoja, Kaarin Taipale, Marco Barravale



Presented with the support of Galería Helga de Alvear; Republika Hrvatska Ministarstvo kulture /Republic of Croatia Ministry of Culture; Fondation Robert A. Matta; Zaza and Philippe Jabre; Anonymous; APEAL (The Association for the Promotion and the Exhibition of the Arts in Lebanon); Wassim Rasamny; Sandy and Tony Tamer; Joumana and Henri Asseily; Barjeel Art Foundation; Sandra Hegedus-Mulliez; SAM Art Projects; Laurent Dumas; Fonds de Dotation Emerige; Maison Rabih Kayrouz; Rosa-Luxemburg-Foundation, Berlin; LUMA Foundation; The Vinyl Factory; Galerie Eigen + Art, Berlin, Leipzig; and the additional support of Kvadrat; Moroso; Elham and Tony Salamé


Thanks to Mary Jane Leach; Nemo Hill; Stacy Hardy; Guillaume Desanges and Musik der Jahrhunderte e.V./Christine Fischer; Gramofon, Sarajevo; Refresh, Sarajevo; Fates factory; all participants in Arts, Crafts and Facts



ARENA Film Program

The ARENA Film Program proposes a rereading of cinematic history in the light of Capital. The voices of the featured filmmakers are those of individuals as well as collectives, all focused on exploring and exposing the effects of Capital on human lives, whether in urban postcolonial Kolkata, rural West Africa, or Western Europe. The selection connects Socialist Realist and avant-garde experiments of the 1920s and 1930s with reflective art cinema genres and anti-capitalist movements of the past half-century. Whether fiction, documentary, or avant-garde experiment, these films engage both emotion and intellect and express a desire for political and social change, either through militant direct action, or by way of a more reflective understanding. The featured films have been selected by the artistic director in collaboration with Mark Nash and Isaac Julien.


Berwick Street Film Collective

active 1970–1978 in London

The Nightcleaners, 1975 (90’)



Youssef Chahine

b. 1926—d. 2008 Egypt

Al-Asfour (The Sparrow), 1972 (105’)

Al-Ard (The Land), 1969 (130’)

Bab el hadid (Cairo Station), 1958 (77’)



Charlie Chaplin

b. 1889—d. 1977 Switzerland

Modern Times, 1936 (87’)

Courtesy Cineteca di Bologna


Duvet Brothers

active 1984–1988 in London

Blue Monday, 1984 (3’)



Ritwik Ghatak

b. 1925—d. 1976 India

Meghe Dhaka Tara (The Cloud-Capped Star), 1960 (126’)

Courtesy Cineteca di Bologna


Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige

b. 1969 Lebanon

Je veux voir (I Want to See), 2008 (75’)

Courtesy Films Boutique, Berlin


Nancy Holt & Robert Smithson

b. 1938 United States

Mono Lake, 1968–2004 (19’ 54’’)

Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York


Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub

b. 1936—d. 2006 France / b. 1933 France

Klassenverhältnisse (Class Relations), 1984 (126’)

Fortini/Cani, 1976 (83’)

Geschichtsunterricht (History Lessons), 1972 (85’)

Courtesy BELVA Film GmbH


Isaac Julien

b. 1960 United Kingdom

Stuart Hall Memorial, 2014 (21’)

Frantz Fanon: Black Skin, White Mask, 1996 (73’)

Territories, 1984 (25’)

Courtesy Isaac Julien Studio


Djibril Diop Mambéty

b. 1945—d. 1998 France

Touki Bouki, 1973 (85’)

Courtesy MAAG DAAN and Cineteca di Bologna


Chris Marker

b. 1921—d. 2012 France

Sans Soleil, 1983 (100’)

Courtesy Cineteca di Bologna

Le fond de l’air est rouge (Grin Without a Cat), 1977 (240’)

Courtesy ISKRA

La sixième face du pentagone (The Sixth Face of the Pentagon), 1968 (28’)

Courtesy RIPLEY’S FILM Srl, Roma

La jetée, 1962 (28’)

Courtesy Cineteca di Bologna


Sandra Lahire

b. 1950—d. 2001 United Kingdom

Uranium Hex, 1987 (11’)



Allan Sekula and Noel Burch

b. 1951—d. 2013 United States / b. 1935 United States

The forgotten space, 2012 (113’)

Courtesy Doc.Eye film


Mrinal Sen

b. 1923 Bangladesh

Padatik, 1973 (98’)

Calcutta 71, 1971 (132’)

Interview, 1971 (101’)

Courtesy the artist


Presented with the additional support of Galería Helga de Alvear

Biennale Arte 2015
Biennale Arte 2015