Kerala being the geopolitically prominent part of the world has seen ample events from the recent history of colonization to present issue of “Temple Entry Proclamation”, to even questioning the strong concrete opinions lying under the carpet of ideologies and hegemony. It has always played a central role for situations leading to ascending of many events and revolutions. In that note, this Biennale under the context of “Possibilities for a Non-Alienated life” indeed provides a stage in space and time acting as an aid in highlighting the contemporary art in critical inquiry of issues and educating the nuances causing the Alienation. In the present condition of living, involving the major account of mediation happening through virtual images and appearance is certainly the act of communication through a spectacle. The spectacle is leading to the preassumption and formation of injected ideologies, leading to a controlled society by those few who are dominating the class. In the midst of this thick fog, Kochi Biennale acts as a podium for critical discussion and pedagogy of the society. In bringing the experience of aesthetic pleasure and lead-out society in juggling diverse ways of making sense of the world. Kochi being the space for the Biennale event occurring once in every two years has upheld the local people of Fort Kochi in small scale and self-owned business welcoming worldwide visitors. Also, the interesting question is how far this committee of Kochi Biennale is open to people for allowing to represent their views on the issues and present challenges of the society. And how far are they neutral without being inclined to either end of the political wings.
The Kochi Muziris Biennale is held in the region belonging in the so-called South Global, while people of the region are subjected to many imperial sanctions, ideology and making it hyper-normal. This condition is alienating society from being a commune system. In that context, three powerful artworks examine the situation under the influence of alienation. The work executed by Nathan Coley by the name “A Place Beyond Belief “, intervenes in the public space at the entrance of Aspin wall; seeking and evoking the necessity to rise beyond religious belief and ethnic suspicion for us to live together as a society while contemplating the thought of people in asking what it means to rise “beyond belief” in the current condition of political context of region. The work of Tabita Rezaire’s of “ Sorry for Real_Sorrow For” captures a fantasized smartphone conversation which questions and investigates the balance of power between Western and Global South through the lens of Slavery, Colonialism and continued exploitation in the form of technological colonization. The struggle faced by the socioeconomic class of urban workers to move forward within a changing and ambiguous socioeconomic ecosystem is seriously affecting the physiological conditions of the generation. This phenomenon is depicted by Jun Nguyen Hatsushiba by taking the subject of Vietnamese soldiers and their occupation following the war. AG Arunkumar’s creation of “Vulnerable Guardians”, depict those affected by the agrarian crisis and forced to migrate to cities in the pursuit of jobs.
These create a disjunction between the real spectacle world and how Biennale allows one to reflect and evoke the thought of being. As a place for a placelessness voice is a key for the growth of the society to which it is projected back. It invites us to consider multiple alternatives and witness unfamiliar vantage points, to detach the ways in which “structures” has become the simultaneous presence of varied views. A diversified collection of different age group and ethnic background are able to witness the art. The interest provided by the local school and college in bringing their students for Biennale event is an intriguing fact and new opportunity of education. The interactive art installation by Song Dong acts as a stage for people to come together and interact. The Vipin Dhanurdharan construction of a community kitchen and dining table bring alive the communal act of sharing a meal and exploring the possibilities when communities come together.
The layout of the Binneale galleries and halls is distributed across Fort Kochi in different venues stretching for few kilometers, thereby allowing proper exploration of the sites for the visitors. The integral part of the architectural built is visioned by curator Anita Dube to envisage the Pavilion at Cabral Yard as a central stage for continuously producing an atmosphere of dialogue and performance. The Cabral yard acts as a theater within a theater and allows everyone to roleplay while examining the issues of the contemporary world. The ongoing events in the Cabral yard throughout a period of three months allows for cultural exchange between different parts of the world. Space for group discussion, meetings with strangers and possibilities of networking arise in the arena of different venues. The learning exercises and workshops around the event Binneale allows for knowledge exchange and educating the different age group of people. Before the inauguration of the Biennale, the place is occupied by residency programs and other collateral works letting for more possibilities during the event. The event is also a space for foreigners engaging and enjoying with local craft and folk arts. The design and execution of the Biennale even affect the dynamics of the economic situation in the locality ranging from street seller to the aviation sector of the region. The real estate worth of the locality has also been seen increasing in value with increased foreign travelers. The impact is even reflected in the tourism sector of Kerela. As a meet of the International level, few of the works also speak about the threat to planet Earth. Notable mention of the work from Jitish Kallat “ Two minutes to Midnight “ questions the history from past to future, to induce a contemplation on the many urgencies of our present-day existence.
The Art acting as a medium of communication through the investigation of Truth, there also lies a chance of few works more inclined to the mere representation of the fact with direct injection of the idea. In doing so, it forms an endorsing phenomenon and intended ideology. Amidst the many pieces of creation, some fell short in the power of expression, use of medium and creating a synergy of connecting with the onlookers. The Biennale version forstudents nevertheless provides a great opportunity for many students from the subcontinent, but also could have been opened to more diverse students from the country to welcome looking at a different perspective. Also, while the Biennale did its best to welcome and guide every visitor with detailed reading and insights of every artwork, a language barrier, and a conceptual lacking was witnessed in some cases of people. Keeping these aside, however, with the powerful amalgamation of cultural expressions, thought-provoking pieces of art and inspirational events leading to an interaction of societal boundaries; Biennale in Kochi in itself was a welcoming home of Human emotions. Through the context of the alienation, Biennale acted as a voice to different concerns of the big spectrum of the Marginalized community, LGBT community, queer, oppressed people, minority and gender issue. More such events across other parts of the world could be a harbinger of inspiration and source of contemplation for the population at large.