Celebrating your 21st birthday and having 45 years experience is something we’d all like…right? Who doesn’t want to be a young, fun, carefree optimist with 45 years of wits?

Well, Biennale of Sydney 2018 has just that.

The only dilemma: how does one choose the guest list for a 21st soirée, when prior parties have together welcomed some 1800 artists from 100 countries. I guess I’ll leave that to Mami Kataoka, Artistic Director of this year’s SUPERPOSITION: Equilibrium & Engagement.

Taking cue from this year’s theme, maybe youth are top of the guest list? Because by definition, Superposition in geology and archaeology ‘states that sedimentary layers are deposited in a time sequence, with the oldest on the bottom and the youngest on the top’.
But wait, when you’re at rock bottom, the only way is up. So don’t yet bury the old with all the new. In Miriam Cosic’s article in Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Weekend, the superposition idea is suggested to symbolise how Kataoka’s: ‘ambition is to explore the layering that creates a coherent society’ writes Cosic.^

Cosic and Kataoka talk about technology’s new way of weaving itself into the tapestry of contemporary art, but also introduce an interestingly old-fashioned concept of ushin which is apparently underpinning her approach to curating the Biennale.

“Ushin is the idea of having five elements, the components of the universe, and how all these five elements interact“.’

By coincidence, that parallels concepts in the Art Gallery of NSW’s The lady and the unicorn, the medieval European tapestry series showing now. It shall run concurrently with Biennale, and it’s been suggested the tapestries are an allegory on the 5 senses…or is it 6? Sight, hearing, taste, touch, smell and a sixth sense of heart/ will/ desire.

Comparing that to Ushin, the Biennale seems a touch nostalgic. Only 5 senses? Surely in this day of 4D movies, smart phones that convert you into an AR Emoji  and intelligent devices of various levels of IQ and laughter.…surely we can try for 7 senses?

But, come to think of it, 5 senses and a spin back to the “good old days” may be a treat.

Call Elon Musk and tell him we don’t need cars in Mars.

Bring back Star man!

….and Space Food Sticks!


Enjoy the show

~ Martyne



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