Festival as spectacle, festival as suspension

Motivated by the discussion following Guy Rundle’s piece and Koraly Dimitriadis’ poem: some thoughts that bring together some of my pieces on festivals.

Questioning the role of a festival in the place for which it presents work is vital – not merely to the success of the festival in terms of art and audience, but also, toward the very intervention that the festival seeks to make. A festivals is, after all, a creative suspension of a city’s distributions and flows, a suspension of the usual ways our ideas and experiences affect us. Durational or thematic programming, while often called a festival, does not necessarily seek to reprogram the public spaces it occupies and reinterprets. Festivals make art public while biennales make art political, each serving an important curatorial purpose in compelling art to keep asking timely questions. A festival is never a final word.

 

Image:  Nick Azidis’ work projected onto Atherton Towers. Photo by Esther Anatolitis.