2022, Altai REpublic





Head curator

Alexander Evangeli

The Altai Biennale is an international art project initiated by artists in the natural landscapes of the Altai Nature Reserve, where the borders of Kazakhstan, Mongolia, China, and Russia meet. Working together in a natural environment and inspired by the energy of the curator, isolation, and the lack of official support brought the participants together and made the project a success. The geography and experience of the collaboration defined the goals of the Second Biennale. 2-A-b: to see the world as Altai and turn Altai into the world, discovering the grounds for a new Earth and the planetary scale of thinking about it.

The ruthless exploitation of the planet as an infinite resource has destabilized its life, affected the lithosphere, and left a trace in geological time that exceeds the duration of our species' existence. As a grandiose optical device, Altai helps to see the world as a sanctuary and a place of care for vulnerable life. It is an ecological and embedded view of ecosystems from a position of a natural, dispersed, and responsive environment rather than from within the human action that consumes that environment.

Principles 2-A-b:

- The planetary scale of shared environmental and climate problems,

- collaborations instead of colonization, and creative commonwealth,

- Interdisciplinary cooperation, the connection of the biological and the digital.

The planetary vector implies overcoming geography and a transboundary view, so Baikal, Yakutia, Moscow, Copenhagen, Nuremberg, and any sites on the planet that share ecological values and a reverent attitude to life also become the 2-A-b spots of the 2nd Altai Biennale. The network of heterogeneous events is structured around local issues and platforms for a critical view of modernity. Six thematic platforms deploy curatorial strategies in exhibitions, a discussion program, lectures, workshops, and roundtables:

- "Politics + Ecology," curated by Ekaterina Lazareva,

- "Thinking Umwelt" curated by the Gray Cake group (Katya Gingerbread and Alexander Serechenko),

- Biological Art, curated by Lena Nikonole,

- "Holocene Heritage," curated by Andrey Monastyrsky.

- "h+," curated by Alexander Burenkov,

- "Computable Commonwealths," curated by Alexei Shulgin.

The 2-A-b Biennale combines physical presence, the illusionism of virtuality, distance and online security in a hybrid experience of the collective body with its multiple realities. The emphasis on planetary performativity and ecological practices places demands on the production, distribution, and exhibition of works. At the same time they also expand the artist's freedom: they can choose between producing new works and presenting old ones in a more ecological way, equally priceless, and making art non-invasive for installation in the medium.

The Biennale is a place of searching and questioning, of aesthetic dissection of reality, its analysis and new reassembly in the spectator's experience. It is also a place of rediscovery or a place of breaking the mold of inherited misconceptions and commonplaces that have ceased to be an area of reconciliation and are breeding discord and aggression.

It seems that in Altai, art is able to reclaim nature as an inspiration and origin, as both an author and spectator — - and as a boundless space of development and experimentation within it. Perhaps, even return the planet to the natural man, organically embedded in its biocenosis.