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Behind the Scenes of BB7

If we’re lucky enough, our whole class is planning to visit the 7th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art. Unlike the Biennale here in Venice, the Berlin Biennale’s intent is to become an active site for political and social activism.

In his manifesto for the Berlin Biennale curator, Polish photo/film artist, activist Artur Żmijewski announces  ‘art doesn’t act, and doesn’t work’  in his meditation on the impotence of artistic practice. Art is, in Żmijewski’s mind, a redundancy, which he seeks to replace with radicalism, harnessing the mood of occupancy and protest.

True to his vision, the Berlin Biennale, version 7, manifests as a series of installations and projects awaiting action and response. According to the ACCA art blog, there is so much behind the actual symbol for the BB7. Along the Auguststrasse (site of KW and the activated urbanism of the BB5) and other locations, the symbol of the Berlin Biennial, a figure 7 with 3 equation stripes, hauntingly reminiscent of fascist insignia, is paint-stenciled on windows and doors. Paint dribbles lend an impatient, furtive appearance to this official graffiti, which intentionally evokes the branding of Jewish households and businesses in Nazi-era Berlin, as well as underground movements and protest signage across millennia.  The neater ‘official’ versions tend to confirm the coup has already taken place.

Whether you agree with Żmijewski’s strategy to demonstrate his passion behind the project, it is hard to dislike it. Using art to state a political opinion, takes a lot of courage, and strikes curiosity to the audiences. Personally, this daring political approach to the biennale has struck interest in me, and I hope to be able to attend.

To read more about the BB7: visit http://www.berlinbiennale.de/blog/en/

By: Sarah Cornejo

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