31st Sao Paulo BiennaleTurning a Blind Eye
Turning a Blind Eye is a public program of workshops, lectures and walks, conceived, organised and compiled by Bik Van der Pol during the 31st Sao Paulo Bienal, accompanied by a live, large scoreboard animated by activators that functions a marker following the developments of the projects, and invites the public to become participants.
The program explores different notions of the `unseen´ - as often categorised or dismissed as non-visible or non-existent- by the ways how we look at things or -rather- choose what we look at, and proposes other sensibilities to think about the world. Departing from recent events in Brazil and worldwide, the program seeks to investigate the idea of ‘publicness’ and the tensions that arise from increasing exploitation of urban and natural space. The Bienal serves as the venue for creation and research, implementing the educational model of the “school” as a form of mental theater capable of creating new horizons for action, production and reflection.
Bik Van der Pol understand artistic practice as strategy for emancipation and a potential response to public issues. The recent occupations of public squares worldwide, the increasing exploitation of private information, and the large migration movements demonstrate space as urgency, as a site of conflict over rights, information, relations and objects.
Debates and conflicts over forms of common property show that public space is to be understood in the broadest terms possible – not only as what holds the fabric of experience-as-community together, but as well what exactly causes its fragmentation and destruction, as it is threatened by exclusions, privileged access and disinformation to the point that it becomes invisible. "Publicness" needs to be re-articulated time and again, and is just as precarious as the natural environment, threatened by a predatory economy.
Turning a Blind Eye emphasizes on the temporary visibility, the 'visible bundling' of learning practice as the production of future capital, united in a temporary structure that not only accommodates these dynamics but also renders them as language to be made visible and voices to be made heard; a space where learning, looseness, and focused experiences are anticipated in continuous changing dynamics. The program aims to generate an engaged public for its activities by involving the participation of those involved in the Bienal (for instance the large group of educators), the general public, and students of the School of Missing Studies and universities and organisations in Sao Paulo. Educators together with the public changed the short statements on the live scoreboard on a daily basis. Increasingly these statements became more political, more critical, as well as more poetic.
See also Facebook, and Program Turning a Blind Eye at 31st Bienal of Sao Paulo