Karachi Biennale returns with technology-based theme

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After making its debut in 2017 with the theme “Witness”, the Karachi Biennale returns for the third time in 2022 with this time a technology-based theme.

The Karachi Biennale Trust (KBT) was founded in 2016 by a group of visual arts professionals and educators as a dynamic platform to promote creativity, innovation and criticality in the visual arts.

KBT is a non-profit organization that has remained a citizens’ initiative supported by the business sector, and it works with a network of local and international cultural and educational philanthropic organizations.

The KBT, in collaboration with the German Consulate in Karachi, organized Friday evening the curtain raising of the Karachi Biennale 22 (KB22) at the residence of the German Consul General Holger Ziegeler. The KB22 curtain raiser unveiled the exciting art-tech theme of the third biennial.

The theme of the Third Karachi Biennale is meant to connect with the transformative digital revolution underway in Karachi as well as the country, and highlight the ambitious leap with art by Pakistani and international artists working at the intersection of art and technology.

The Curtain Raiser featured four hybrid works of art that provided a glimpse of what will be featured in

October-November 2022 in eight different locations across the city.

KB22 will explore the vast potential of technology as an artistic medium, both at the cutting edge of technology with established artists working with virtual reality, artificial intelligence, robotics, and low-end technologies like mobile phones.

“I firmly believe in cultural diplomacy,” Ziegeler said. Speaking of modern artists, he said that we are living in the fourth industrial revolution. “Nothing in our lives is like it was a few years ago. “

He said we have the challenge of transferring knowledge from the past and embracing the new at the same time. As for the challenges of technological change, he said German artist Dennis Rudolph gives him hope.

For solving the challenges of technological changes, changes in society, Rudolph gives us the means to use the new means of art to transform something into meaning, he added.

How to bridge the gap between technology and conventional art? Niilofur Farrukh, Managing Director of the Karachi Biennale, answers this question by giving the example of Jahanzeb Khawaja’s artwork presented at the event, claiming that it connects something so classic quite effectively. as sitar (music) and coding.

“The aesthetic is changing and yet most of the classic remains,” she said, adding that the way Rudolph used German history to bind cohesion.

Artificial intelligence, she said, is altered intelligence and reality. “What we are seeing here is a new way to relate to the past and this is what we will show you next year,” she said.

KBT was founded in 2016, and it has completed five years and hosted two biennials. Both, she said, were very rooted in Karachi, because that is the essence of a Karachi Biennale.

“In fact, the Karachi Biennale was born out of a crisis. The crisis when Karachi faced extreme violence and unrest. When a group of art professionals and educators got together, stepped forward and used art to heal people, to bring it into public spaces, to re-invoke history as well, the wonderful history of this port city.

Many generous people, she pointed out, are coming forward for the cause. “The people of Karachi have always been generous. They give us the places. During the last biennial, it was the city government that came forward and gave us the zoo, as well as Bagh Ibne Qasim.

KB22 curator Faisal Anwar at the roundtable at the event said an investigation was looking into the central rule-of-the-art issue.

“When we look at the relevance of our present time and look at the medium and look at our current narrative, there is a lot of experimentation going on,” he said, adding that researchers, artists and academics need to come together to build relationships. with a narrative that relates to the contemporary art movement.

German artist Dennis Rudolph combines tradition and innovation by mixing a classic genre such as painting with new media such as virtual and so-called augmented reality. He said he had never been in a city of 20 million people.

“There is so much diversity in this city, maybe there is one thing that everyone shares is that everyone has a phone,” he said, adding that if his mobile application, which contains all his works, is downloaded

by the inhabitants of this city, it will be a unique experience for him.

KBT boss Rabia Javeri Agha said that over the past seven decades we have lost half of our country, fought two wars, lost 70,000 people to the war on terrorism.

“It was a difficult journey,” she said, adding that the role of the Biennale must be recognized as it is difficult to keep our culture alive in these times. The role that art plays in creation, including where there are no power relations, cannot be ignored, she stressed.


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