Despite much rhetoric we feel the BB7 is a deflated and somehow defeated attempt to shift the paradigm. Art has been sidelined for the chimeric hopefulness of engagement and political energy…but these things are lacking … the revolution remains stubbornly quixotic and resistant to gentrification by art. The things that make art essential and potentially useful to the development of ideas, empathy and action are missing from this Biennale. Less didacticism and more humanity engaged through metaphor, narrative, and poesis might have had more impact.
There is, for instance, a very great difference between the narratives of return, and the phantasmic ironies which Yael Bartana employs so effectively in her project, which open gaps for thinking and analysis, and the heavy handed manifesto styled deliveries found in BB7. Artur Żmijewski might think art is redundant and purposeless, but in fact its non-appearance in this Biennale merely confirms its necessity and power – without it, things seem dead.
Quite unintentionally it may well be the case that Artur Żmijewski ushers in a new belief in art, that the paradigm that has been shifted is towards a more potent poetic. Sometimes the feather is better than the hammer to tickle and agitate than smash and destroy. Nevertheless we will watch the BB7 site with interest and follow the roll out of events and discussions – the art might be absent but the issues are none the less urgent and deserve our attention.