The 12th edition of the Taipei Biennial, You and I Don’t Live on the Same Planet, will take place at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM) from November 21, 2020, until March 14, 2021. Co-curated by French philosopher Bruno Latour and French independent curator Martin Guinard, along with Taiwanese independent curator Eva Lin, who was specially invited to curate the public programs, this year’s biennial will showcase works by 58 participants and groups from 25 different countries and territories around the world.
You and I Don’t Live on the Same Planet aims to question our current ongoing geopolitical tensions and worsening ecological crisis by examining our differences and influences through a planetary perspective. The exhibition will propose a fictional “planetarium” within the museum, wherein the participants will set up the tensions between the gravitational pull of different “planets.” Among the many examples, there is “Planet Globalization” for those who relentlessly modernize despite planetary boundaries, and “Planet Terrestrial” for those who are concerned about the climate situation and trying to reconcile the paradox between development and sustainability.
Highlights include “The Ghost Acres of Architecture” installation by Los Angeles-based design practice MILLIØNS (pictured above), which presents terrestrial descriptions of the Seagram Building in Manhattan and aims to explore how to maximize the impact of architecture on its environment in the most positive, generative ways possible. With the commissioned video installation “Frame of Reference,” Taiwanese artist SU Yu-Hsin addresses the question of formatting scalar relations between the field, laboratory, and database, and explores the role images play in the fieldwork of the Critical Zone.
Works exploring the relations between the earth’s surface and the life activities above include Norwegian artist Marianne Morild’s paintings, which will depict fragments of suspended landscapes “torn” from the ground. Taiwanese artist Cemelesai Takivalet from the indigenous Paiwan tribe will present a newly commissioned work Virus Series, which depicts imaginary enlarged viruses released from wildlife as a reaction to human intrusion. With this, he subverts the logic of invasive species, in which humans are seen as a main perpetrator of constant disruptions and attacks. French artist Pierre Huyghe’s installation “Exomind (Deep Water)” will present a female figure whose head is obscured by a beehive. Giving new heights to this “exomind” ecosystem, the statue grows by pollinating other living symbols and constantly modifying itself in this transitory, porous, and entangled environment.
As the Taipei Biennial is a simulacrum of various theoretical planets, its public programs for 2020 represent a collision between these different astronomical bodies. Programming begins with “Theater of Negotiations,” a collaboration between TFAM and researchers and students from five universities and the Taiwan Science, Technology, and Society Association. The discussion will take the form of realistic exercises in negotiations, debate, or public governance to explore new solutions for the current deadlock surrounding pressing issues in Taiwan. Cross-disciplinary panels and interactive workshops are open for attendees of “The Wild Trail to the World,” which include science-fiction writing, air detection performance, critical reading, and inspection of historical materials. Participants will also be led out of the museum to experience and understand nature and the country in a new way.
Eva Lin, the curator of public programs, states: “We believe the current imperative is not simply fostering discussions from multiple perspectives: instead, our aim is to explore alternative procedures to reach a point of mediation since we realize the importance of divisions. It is through irreducible boundaries, native philosophies which differ from contemporary mainstream logic, and non-anthropocentric memories out in the field that a turn in the irreversible ending could be possible.”