The Contour Biennale 8, “Polyphonic Worlds: Justice as Medium,” curated by Natasha Ginwala, brings together twenty-five international and local artists and art collectives working in lens-based media, sound, performance, drawing, and installation, to address questions related to the nation-state system and the realm of justice today. Taking place in Mechelen, Belgium, “Polyphonic Worlds” embraces the communal spirit of the biennale by including the many-sided voices that assemble in collective formations as well as discrete, individual creative positions.
This reader proposes a series of beginnings—it is a polyphonic approach that borrows from juridical and musical spheres. Launched as the online journal of the biennial, Hearings pairs texts or image-based contributions, allowing for a sense of tension and affinity to develop in the feedback loop of the two voices. Relationships around the artwork as site of evidence and testimony are thus reoriented. The multidimensional readings are not restricted to the active apparatus of law and discipline, but instead seek to unravel the synchronies of our times—the mesh of injustice in our midst.
Featuring texts and illustrated contributions by Agency, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Eric Baudelaire, Rossella Biscotti, Hunter Braithwaite and Trevor Paglen, Filipa César, Cooking Sections, Council, T. J. Demos, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Pedro Gómez-Egaña, Rana Hamadeh, Louis Henderson, Adelita Husni-Bey, Ho Tzu Nyen, inhabitants, Arvo Leo, Sven Lütticken, Basir Mahmood, Samuel Mareel, Dirk de Meyer, Otobong Nkanga, Pallavi Paul and Anish Ahluwalia, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Judy Radul, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, Madonna Staunton, Ana Torfs, Trinh Thi Nguyen, Susanne M. Winterling and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, and Ghassan Zaqtan.
Copublished with Contour Biennale on the occasion of Contour Biennale 8: “Polyphonic Worlds: Justice as Medium” (March 11–May 21, 2017).