In addition to the empirical survey and analyses, we asked a series of questions to people working (or having worked on) biennials in different positions in different parts of the world. We wanted to understand their motivations, learn about their working conditions and glean other insights into how their biennial functions and sustains itself. We all strongly feel that it is one thing to research empirical data, but another to be “inside” an operating structure such as one that establishes and sustains a biennial project. We are grateful to these interviewees for their willingness to contribute their time and share their insights with us.
In this section, we present short interviews (a questionnaire based on seven questions) from the following professionals.
We believe that biennials provide a point of convergence for the art world, expose large audiences to art (and other disciplines & mediums), and catalyse interest in cities and regions with global aspirations, their unique format allowing for an expanded outreach and influence. Why do you think they are still important in your case? How can such enormous events achieve impact and propose a strong curatorial and artistic point of view and what is your particular chosen model?
We would like you to answer the following seven questions. We are interested in talking to you more about it and getting your unique experience and view on why Biennales matter in the 21st century.
1. What was your motivation to work with a biennial? What was your position/task?
2. How can you describe the model of the biennial you worked for? Also how does this compare to other biennials in your opinion?
3. What goals/wishes are connected to your biennial? What should be achieved in your opinion? What were your personal goals?
4. Biennials have proliferated as the art world has scaled in size and global reach in recent decades however very little information exists about the exact number, geographical spread and funding and governance structures of these arts organisations. Can we compare biennials at all?
5. Biennials provide a point of convergence for the art world, expose large audiences to art (and other disciplines & mediums), and catalyse interest in cities and regions with global aspirations. Do biennials necessarily have a positive social and economic impact?
6. Can you describe the funding model and sources of funding for your biennial? How do you think this affects the biennial?
7. What sort of curatorial, institutional, or technological innovations can help ensure the vibrancy and relevance of biennials going forward?
Shwetal A. Patel is a founding team member of Kochi-Muziris Biennale (India) and PhD scholar at the Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton.
Ronald Kolb works as a designer (www.biotop3000.de), lecturer, and film-maker in Stuttgart and Zurich. He studied Visual Communications (MA) at Merz Akademie, University of Applied Arts, Design and Media, Stuttgart, Germany and runs a design and research studio with an emphasis on publications and web design i.e. for Kunststiftung Baden-Württemberg, ifa (Institut for Foreign Affairs, Germany), Donaueschinger Musiktage, Badischer Kunstverein, ZKM. He was an Associate Professor at Merz Akademie, University of Applied Arts, Design and Media from 2009–2015 and is now Scientific Researcher at the Postgraduate Programme in Curating, ZHdK. He is Co-Publisher of the web journal On-Curating.org and honorary vice chairman of Künstlerhaus Stuttgart since 2014.
He is PHD scholar of PHD in Practice in Curating, a cooperation of ZHDK and University of Reading, supported by swissuniversities.