Spring in Gwangju

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Gwangju Biennale 2008
Curated by Okwui Enwezor

Position Papers
Curated by Claire Tancons

Like the 7th Gwangju Biennale itself, Spring is not a theme, but a concept that recalls the emancipatory energy of the South Korean Spring in May 1980. However, the references of Spring go well beyond Gwangju, and evoke other popular uprisings from the Canboulay Riots of 1881 in Port of Spain to May 1968 in Paris, as well as encompassing the history of Carnival street processions, especially as found in Brazil and the Caribbean, New Orleans, and Cape Town. Given its format as a street procession, and its location, Gwangju, the attention of the invited artists will be drawn to the May 1980 street uprisings in Gwangju. A principal interest of Spring is to refuse the constricted space of the exhibition gallery, but readapt the exhibition format into a space of active social participation. In this way the processional format is the arena through which this project seeks to experiment with new modes of conducting an exhibition. Spring calls to mind the idea of sudden motion and constant tension, both of which are at the core of popular street manifestations, from carnivals to demonstrations. Beginning this August artists in Spring will assemble in Gwangju for a month of continuous interaction and production with local participants, building the models and displays, that will culminate in an eight hour procession through the streets of the city around the Former Provincial Office (the starting point of the Gwangju May 1980 protests). The procession will begin during the day and end at night with a fiery conflagration to signal the end of the event. The procession will be accompanied by music by DJ GAZAEBAL and filmed by Caecilia Tripp. Both the real time film and the music score will be edited and remixed, and will be the sole reminder of the procession and only element presented in one of the exhibition spaces.
C. Tripp's film relates the procession to the film of R.W. Fassbinder "Germany in Autumn" (1978) and will be the sole reminder of the procession and only element presented in the exhibition spaces.

Spring in Gwangju, 2008
Color & sound video, 10 min.

Karyn Olivier
Marlon Griffith
Mario Benjamin
Jarbas Lopez
Map Office