press release

Contour Biennale 8 is developed through artistic acts that challenge procedures of testimony, evidence production and witnessing; as well as the performative nature of the trial. The Great Council established in Mechelen during the fifteenth century stands as a historical reminder of a court architecture that first sought to address the European Lowlands through rational jurisprudence. We now face the limits of justice unraveling as a volatile crisis of ethics within our collective present. Contour Biennale 8 engages a polyphonic view, recalling the acoustic history of the Lowlands-presenting a multiplicity of voices that become heard as a plural consciousness, and at times as states of discord. Setting a stage to question the preconceived boundaries between the perception of legality and illegality within today's experience of statehood. This biennale edition brings together a range of collective practices as live processes of collaborative thinking and social imagination within the exhibition.

Through artistic projects that excavate colonial legacy, ecological crises and build experimental cinematic encounters, Contour Biennale 8 considers how to survey the field of social justice and its implements as media archaeology such that justice itself is considered a 'medium' that is simultaneously a performative, ethical and aesthetic operation.

Contour Biennale 8 is conceived by curator, researcher and writer Natasha Ginwala. Ginwala is currently curatorial advisor for documenta 14 (2017). She was part of the artistic team for the 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (2014). Recent projects include My East is Your West featuring Shilpa Gupta and Rashid Rana at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015); Corruption: Everybody Knows… at e-flux, New York; and The Museum of Rhythm at Taipei Biennial 2012 (with Anselm Franke) and Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz (with Daniel Muzyczuk), 2016.


Adelita Husni-Bey, Agency, Ana Torfs, Arvo Leo, Basir Mahmood, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Council, Eric Baudelaire, Filipa César and Louis Henderson, Ho Tzu Nyen, Inhabitants, Judy Radul, Karrabing Film Collective, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Madonna Staunton, Otobong Nkanga, Pallavi Paul, Pedro Gómez-Egaña, Rana Hamadeh, Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, Rossella Biscotti, Susanne M. Winterling, Trevor Paglen, Trinh Thi Nguyen

Advisors: Judy Radul and Denise Ferreira da Silva

Assistant Curator: Krisztina Hunya

Contour Biennale 8 will be on view from 11 March 2017 till 21 May 2017 at Schepenhuis, De Garage (Cultuurcentrum Mechelen), and several other locations in Mechelen, Belgium.