Why are we here ?


Av Lars Sture. You know, like I don`t want to be nosy, and we all got our reasons for doing what we do with our lives, but I wonder - everybody here on the block wonders - Why are we here ?    

Why are we here ? is a fundamental question, suggesting as it does that we each must respond to an imperative to examine our purposeful relationship to the place we choose to be, to act and to live whithin. The question is as applicable to the Cheongju Craft Biennale as it is to its participants, the artists and makers and its local and international audience. A biennale funded by the republic, whether in Europa, America or Asia, whether in a meteropolis or in the periphery, exists because society - through its political and governing bodies - have deemed it important or worthwile. Based on cultural values of the government and as political decision a biennale might have been given a complex task; to educate, to enlighten and to enrich the life of the public, but also the task to promote the area, to give its city a window to the world, to entice tourists to visit and business to settle.

Why are you here ? is a provocative question, that in the context of a biennale has an inbuilt opportunity for everybody involved to reach out to the world, inviting artists, academics and professionals in the field to think about the idiosyncrasies of the answers, and in a constantly changing reality, not only to consider each individual point of view but also what binds us all together. In this essay on superdiversity can we describe this as a change to take us to the very heart of a shared point of view; " of the common object observed and to grasp the diversity of points of view via the essence of their similarity ".

Beeing a nedialing cultural and social institution on a grand scale the international biennale has the mandate to be a significant critical conveyour of opinion. With this in mind, the commisioners, organisers, the directors and the curators are given a unique opportunity to reflect on and to set the agenda for the here and now and the future. The biennale can be part of the " market ", an instrument of economics and capitalism where the visitors is offered simple entertainment, but also being such a signifikant public space, the biennale is an ideal place for artistic pluralism and cultural diversity, and can be a distinct platform for social, political and ethical engagement.

We are living the ideas of modernism behind and entering a reality that Zygmund Baumann called liquid modernity in which the world is defined by its fragility and temporariness, vulnerability and inclination to constant changing.; " To be modern means to modernize - compulsively, obsessively; not so much " just to be ", let alone to keep its identity intact, but forever " becoming "; avoiding, completion, staying under - defined. Each new structure which replaces the previou one as soon as it is declared old - facioned and past its use - by date is only another momentary settlement - acknowledged as temporary and " until further notice ". " What was some time ago dubbed " post modernity " and what I`ve chosen to call " liquid modernity ", is the growing conviction that change is the only permanence, and uncertainly the only certainly. A hundred years ago " to be modern " meant to chase " the final state of perfection " - now it means an infinity of improvement, with no " final state " in sight and none desired.     

We live in a world where our lives are defined by technology; how we go about our daily lives are often determined by technology. And we find ourselves defined by data, we live somewhat a parallel digital life that is forever stored in clouds; everything we would ever need to know about each other is all there. The current state of this high - tech, digital world is one of constant change, and as the main exhebition of the 2017 Cheongju Craft Biennale suggests, craft not only can but is changing with it. In crafts, newfound tecnology may not have become the sole medium through which artists are expressing themselves, however, new technology continues to find its way into studios.

Kurator Lars Sture fra Norwegian Craft var engasjert som rådgiver for den siste utgaven av den verdenskjente Korean biennale. Dette er et utdrag av feedbacken som han gav til organisasjonskommiteen for dette gigant arrangementet.