Kochi Biennale: Art for Art’s sake or Art for Purpose sake?
Events like the Biennale changes the face of the whole precinct in Fort Kochi. Perhaps it exhibits a surreal view of the future through the present whilst looking at the past with a sense of loss? Surrealism is a 20th century phenomenon & how we transported ourselves into the 21st century & have perspectives changed? Is there a new definition as times goes by? We are at the end of 1st quarter of the 21st century & impressions are more & more about driving perceptions in a commercial sense. By definition we are in a post-surrealism era & hence if Art is meant to convey the relationship between the perceptual & conceptual then perhaps it is time to examine the evolving perspectives in the art scene. Graffiti art was considered a rebellious expression but over time it gained popularity and become a social message medium & brought in new themes in fashion design.The rebellious Banksy auction stunt breaking the Internet indicates towards a deep simmering anxiety & frustration amongst people from different walks of life. Rebellion is not of political anti-establishment movement any more because Banksy showed an inexplicable dilemma of the human mind & the churn within that puts many things like snobbery, money power, elitism on the doorstep of humility & sacrifice.
Art for art’s sake or art for commercial sake but art for sake of our planet is perhaps a cool way to convey & drill down relevant messages into everybody’s mind, especially the youth. Lot’s have been done in the different Biennale across the world. The expression of environment challenges is the key to raising awareness of some of the problems faced & suggest a solution for same. We have witnessed graffiti work on the streets occasionally. The work inspired by individual artists who felt like showing the world how to overcome pollution is the kind of initiatives we need.
Biennale presents a great opportunity for such artists to display work that will challenge the Government bodies to take heed of issues such as Noise, Visual & Light pollution, one of the biggest menace faced by our society. Environment pollution in every respect needs a high decibel campaign to raise awareness amongst the general public. People in advertising & marketing & its corresponding industry bodies should also take self-regulating steps & bring a sense of ‘responsible action’ when it comes to using the public space.
Biennale also needs to put some kind of measurement metric in place to understand the impact it is creating in the society. 3 questions that need asking is What is Biennale bringing on for the society in real terms, i.e. what part of turning an inclusive society have we made an impact? what aspects of people’s perception is changing since the 1st edition of the event? How are we achieving this? I believe funding is always an issue for these events at least as far as I know in India. There must be some learnings from other countries that we can take on board to make the Biennale a profitable engagement both for the public & all its participants. This is when we evolve the Biennale into a truly ‘Art for a purpose sake’
See you at the Biennale, on the edge of the beautiful Arabian sea in Fort Kochi.