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THIS TOO, IS A MAP. LATIN AMERICANS AT THE 12TH SEOUL MEDIACITY BIENNALE

THIS TOO, IS A MAP is the title of the 12th Seoul Mediacity Biennale (SMB12), which is open to the public from September 21st to November 19th, 2023 in various venues across the city of Seoul, including the Seoul Museum of Art.

The project was developed to explore global aesthetics beyond territorial boundaries and emphasize alternative concepts of mediation and relation. This includes the importance of abstractions and deliberately concealed language, the global relations that take place within Seoul and its industrial surroundings, and the movements of various people who undertake migration and movement for voluntary reasons, as well as external factors within and beyond the boundaries of the city and country.

The Biennale is concerned with systems imposed or created outside national borders, including transnational solidarities, ‘underground’ commitments, the coded mapping of data and infrastructure, as well as those of artistic and political communication.

Anna Bella Geiger, Mapas elementares no.1-2-3, 1976. Video (black and white, sound). 3 min. Courtesy of the artist and Mendes Wood DM, São Paulo. Photo: GLIMWORKERS. Courtesy of the Seoul Museum of Art

The Biennale provides an opportunity to re-examine and re-read existing concepts that we think we know well, such as diaspora, migration, language, and borders. It is presented as a map that acknowledges the social boundaries that have emerged from today’s physical and cultural migrations and seeks to explore the possibility of artistic communication that is not limited to a geographical territory through the complex solidarities brought about by different media environments.

For a better grasp of how diaspora operates today, the Biennale unveils the dynamics and networks that form outside of geographical territories, presenting a global aesthetic for artistic and political communication, including transnational solidarity, invisible commitment, and coded data.

Guido Yannitto, Untitled (from the series Water Grammar), 2022. Sheep’s wool tapestry. 250 × 202 cm. Weaver: Fernando Rueda (Salta Capital, Argentina). Courtesy of the artist. Photo: GLIMWORKERS. Courtesy of the Seoul Museum of Art
Guido Yannitto, Untitled (from the series Water Grammar), 2022. Sheep’s wool tapestry. 255 × 245 cm. Weaver: Fernando Rueda (Salta Capital, Argentina). Courtesy of the artist. Photo: GLIMWORKERS. Courtesy of the Seoul Museum of Art

Here are some Latin American artists featured in the exhibition:

Guido Yannitto, based in Salta, Argentina, focuses on exploring popular cultures. He uses various techniques, including tapestry, to investigate their capabilities and analyze the sculptural elements of this planimetric technique. Additionally, he is intrigued by what he perceives as key elements within this representational system, particularly focusing on aspects of communication and translation.

Concepts such as identity, oral transmission, translation, genealogy, subjectivity, and collective work play a crucial role in guiding his interactions with weavers. In collaboration with curator Andrei Fernández, he works closely with the Thañí/Viene del monte collective, supporting and participating in the creative journey of a group of Wichí weavers. These skilled artisans are indigenous women from Salta, located in the northern region of Argentina.

Agustina Woodgate, The New Times Atlas of the World, 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Barro, Buenos Aires. Exhibition view of the 12th Seoul Mediacity Biennale, Seoul Museum of Art, 2023. Photo: GLIMWORKERS. Courtesy of the Seoul Museum of Art

Agustina Woodgate‘s artistic practice is firmly centered on the intricacies of landscapes and infrastructure, serving as a conceptual and public geography. Her creative process is marked by logical exploration, utilizing displacement as a deliberate strategy. She harnesses the objects that govern our access to land, time, and resources as her raw materials.

Woodgates’s approach is speculative, practical, and site- and context-responsive, presenting critical perspectives on concepts related to social orders, resource management, and information distribution.

Ximena Garrido-Lecca, Protomorphisms: AGC Rope Driver Module, 2022. Steel structure, copper plates, steel plates, terracotta, rubber, alpaca wool, sheep wool, cotton. 223 × 310 × 60 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne. Photo: GLIMWORKERS. Courtesy of the Seoul Museum of Art
Ximena Garrido-Lecca, Protomorphisms: AGC Rope Driver Module, 2022. Steel structure, copper plates, steel plates, terracotta, rubber, alpaca wool, sheep wool, cotton. 223 × 310 × 60 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne. Photo: GLIMWORKERS. Courtesy of the Seoul Museum of Art

Ximena Garrido-Lecca conducts a thorough examination of Peru’s complex and tumultuous history, with a specific focus on how neocolonial influences and standards persist and are propagated through the processes of globalization. Her artistic approach involves a meticulous scrutiny of urban, rural, and vernacular architecture, concentrating on spaces where a mediatory materiality is visible between the specific and the universal.

Equally crucial to her work is the preservation of artisanal traditions and the acknowledgment of rural spaces that have been left behind as a consequence of modernization. Her art subtly hints at a lasting tension between the inheritance of vernacular culture and the new imperatives of industrialization. This tension serves as a poignant indicator of the conflicts inherent in an accelerated transnational economic model, one that increasingly clashes with the imperative of environmental preservation, the assertion of sovereignty, and the respect for diverse community lifestyles.

Mercedes Azpilicueta, The Lieutenant-Nun Is Passing: An Autobiography of Katalina, Antonio, Alonso and More, 2021. Jacquard Tapestry (merino wool, cotton, lurex). 160 × 400 cm. Commissioned by Gasworks, London, supported by the 12th Seoul Mediacity Biennale. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: GLIMWORKERS. Courtesy of the Seoul Museum of Art
Mercedes Azpilicueta, Five Spells & A Song I ~V, 2023. Quilt & Patchwork made from recycled and special materials: Argentinean produced apparel from the Korean community in Buenos Aires, upcycled garments from the artist and from Amsterdam, scraps of fabrics from the artist’s studio (cotton, velvet, lurex a.o.), layer of batting (100% bamboo) and cotton. 350 × 240 cm; 340 × 220 cm; 350 × 210 cm; 330 × 210 cm; 340 × 210 cm. Commissioned by the 12th Seoul Mediacity Biennale. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: GLIMWORKERS. Courtesy of the Seoul Museum of Art
Elena Damiani, Brighter than the moon, 2016. Single channel video projection with sound. 8 min 16 sec. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: GLIMWORKERS. Courtesy of the Seoul Museum of Art
Elena Damiani, The Erratic Marbles Ⅴ, 2022. Inkjet print on cotton paper and alpha-cellulose paper, 44.2 × 35.2 × 3.5 cm each (18 pieces). Supported by the 12th Seoul Mediacity Biennale. Photo: GLIMWORKERS. Courtesy of the Seoul Museum of Art
Anna Maria Maiolino, Série Indícios [Indexes series], 2000/2003. Drawing (Black thread sewn to paper between plexiglass), 34 × 24 cm each (11 pieces). Collection and courtesy of Andréa and José Olympio Pereira. Photo: GLIMWORKERS. Courtesy of the Seoul Museum of Art
Anna Maria Maiolino, Série Indícios [Indexes series], 2000/2003. Drawing (Black thread sewn to paper between plexiglass), 34 × 24 cm each (11 pieces). Collection and courtesy of Andréa and José Olympio Pereira. Photo: GLIMWORKERS. Courtesy of the Seoul Museum of Art

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