6th Athens Biennale 2017 – 2018

Waiting for the Barbarians

Curated: by Heart & Sword Division

The programme of the 6th Athens Biennale launches on 5 April 2017 marking a year of "Active Waiting", which culminates with the exhibition Waiting for the Barbarians in April 2018. The 6th Athens Biennale is curated by Heart & Sword Division, a group of artists, curators and theorists.

Curatorial Statement:

Will there ever be any "Learning from Athens"? What do words such as "education", "freedom", "queer", "north", "south", "indigenous" signify in contemporary cultural debates? Are we witnessing the coming of the Barbarians, or the taming of the Barbarian? The 6th Athens Biennale Waiting for the Barbarians reflects on such questions.

Those Barbarians keep on coming, again and again. Recent biennials addressed the question of the Barbarian. The 2013 Istanbul Biennial entitled Mom, am I a Barbarian? investigated the Barbarian as a counter-image of civic identity, while Ireland’s Biennial 2016 EVA International entitled Still (the) Barbarians discussed Ireland as the primary test ground for modern European colonialism.

Since the start of the new century the Barbarians are ante portas. In the intellectual realm and the art field, though, the Barbarians are often depicted in positive and messianic terms: a new nomadic/rootless/hybrid/global subjectivity. This hypothesis seems to outline how the (im)possibility of resistance and insurrection is understood today and is a premise for our collective failure to foresee today’s escalation of regression.

We let go of assumptions and beliefs. The Barbarian is neither the ominous Other, the refugee, the migrant, the Muslim, nor the exoticizing and eroticizing orientalist, the "menace" of the "northern colonialist". Yet, the Barbarian is closer than ever. We are no hosts, but we invite the Barbarians in.

On the 5th of April 2017 we declare a year of Active Waiting.


April 2017:

Action #0: The Athens Biennale office relocates to Bageion
5 - 15 April 2017
Action #1: Europa Clock, Dimitris Desyllas (sound intervention)
5 April 2017 | 20:00 (sharp)
Action #2: Press Conference, Heart & Sword Division
5 April 2017 | 20:30 (sharp)
Action #3: Invasive Pests, Domestic Godless (culinary action)
5 April 2017 | 21:00 – 00:00
Action #4: Wandering in Bageion Hotel *
5 April 2017 | 21:00 – 00:00
Action #5: Klassenfahrt, Blue Owl Travels (educational excursion)
9, 10, 11 April 2017 | 17:00 – 22:00
Action #6: Resurrection with Documena, Documena (series of actions)
15 April 2017 | 21:00 – 05:00
Action #7: In Defense of the Academic Troll, Gabriel S Moses (video)
From 5 April 2017 onwards | The Athens Biennale YouTube Channel

* Action #4 will be repeated from April 6 until April 14 | 13:00 – 21:00

Bageion | 18, Omonoia Square, Athens

April 2018:
Opening of the exhibition Waiting for the Barbarians

To be announced.

Phanerosis: embrace the Barbarian within.

Co-Organised by
Under the Auspices of
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Official Carrier
Friends of the Athens Biennale
Major Hospitality Sponsor
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With the Support of
Culture Ireland Memphis Linz Kultur Kultur Land BUNDESKANZLERAMT