Planet earth


3rd International Art Exhibition

Diamond Skies

“The topicality of Chekhov’s dream of a bright future in the context of the unfolding trends of an ‘enchanted world’[1] attracts a variety of researchers. As ever, humanity has not lost hope in the resurrection of a primaeval state of paradise in our world, to thereby achieve a kind of harmony.
Today every other person thinks they’re some kind of ‘shaman’. But what is this magic and its mystic rituals? Could it be an attempt to establish control over an ultra‑chaotic reality, to find hidden meanings and patterns within it? This brings us to a key point: does the modern world itself, in its post-capitalist conception, in perpetual crisis, and with all its indeterminacy and almost total unpredictability, give rise to the need for magic?
It would appear that we have arrived at a point in our historical development where algorithms have hidden ambitions to involve themselves in our destiny, where transnational corporations aim to be more powerful than governments, and our future looks ever more arcane and alarming. Given this, it is hardly surprising when people seek support in the irrational, in ideas found beyond the limitations of logic and scientific knowledge.
Is ‘magical thinking’ a way out, or just another trap? After all it distracts us from our real problems, from the need to change the system, a system that engenders this very uncertainty and fear. Instead of confronting this so-called ‘evil’, we start believing in horoscopes, or the laying out of tarot cards, hoping for a miracle.
Jayyk’ (the celestial spirit go-between that keeps humanity safe from misfortune and harm, according to A.V. Anokhin’s definition), and ‘Neme biler kizhi’, a person with higher knowledge - these are fundamental concepts in Altai culture. The artist’s prophetic intuition is a long-recognised concept, and with the Altai Biennale we see an opportunity to juxtapose artistic practices with ‘shamanic myth’[2], in which the hero is engaged in a kind of pilgrimage to other worlds, trying to do good for people. ‘Diamond Skies’ is intended to be a platform to bring together not only artists representing variations on ‘shamanic myth’ in their work, but also a broad constellation of researchers concerned by the future fate of mankind.”

[1] Play on words: Max Weber's "disenchantment of the world" is a process of rationalization that strips the world of its former magic. Life becomes colourless and predictable, while scientific progress, though a boon, also becomes a source of alienation.
[2] Shamanic myth is a mythological narrative that depicts the journey of a shaman ancestor into the unearthly world. The goal of this journey is to obtain invaluable knowledge, power, or objects for the well-being of his people.

Svetlana Taylor
Curator of the 3rd Altai biennale international exhibition main project
Diana Kapizova, The Endless echo of the shell,
video, 2023, Courtesy author