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KOCHI-muziris BIENNALE

KOCHI: THE LAND OF CONVERGENCE


SITUATED IN THE SOUTH INDIAN STATE OF KERALA, OFTEN REFERRED TO AS GODS OWN
COUNTRY,KOCHI ALONG WITH ITS MYTHOLOGICAL COUSIN MUZIRIS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN
KNOWN FOR THEIR MULTICULTURAL AND COSMOPOLITAN NATURE, CATERING TO
RESIDENTS OF VARIOUS NATIONALITIES(PORTUGESE , FRENCH, DUTCH , ARABS , AND
THE CHINESE) WHO CAME TO TRADE IN SPICES AND GEMS.
THE CITY HAS ITS DISTINCT ARCHITECTURE THAT CAN BE SEEN IN ST.FRANCIS CHURCH ,
DAVID HALL, ASPINWALL HOUSE, PEPPER HOUSE , THE COCHIN CLUB, DUTCH PALCE AS
WELL AS DURBAR HALL.
MUCH RECENTLY IN 2012 , KOCHIS HOSTORICITY WAS REIGNITED AS IT HOSTED
ANOTHER CONVERGENCE OF PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT CULTURES, INDIAS FIRST
BIENNALE.
THE FACET OF MULTICULTURALISM AND COSMOPOLTANISM CONTINUED IN THE
CURATORIAL NOTE OF THE FIRST EDITION OF THE BIENNALE AND ENCOURAGED EIGHT
NINE ARTISTS FROM TWENTY-THREE COUNTRIES TO BE INSPIRED BY THE RICH HISTORY
OF KERALA AND REACT TO ITS HISTORIC CONNECTIONS WITHIN INDIA AND THE REST OF
THE WORLD.
THE ARTWORKS THAT WERE CREATED WERE HOUSED IN THE HISTORIC BUILDINGS

OVER NINETY SIX DAYS, THE EVENT ATTRACTED FOUR THOUSAND VISITORS, MOST OF
THEM WHO ENGAGED WITH CONTEMPORARY ART FOR THE FIRST TIME.
SUPPORTED BY AN ACTIVE OUTREACH PROGRAM THAT WENT BEYOND THE DURATION
OF THE BINNEALE, THE KOCHI MUZIRIS BIENNALE POSTIONED ITSELF AS A UNIQUE
MODEL FOR THE REGENARTION OF THE CULTURAL LANDSACPE IN INDIA.

KOCHI MUZIRIS BIENALLE REVEALS LINKS TO THE VENETIAN MODEL ON THAT FACT THAT IT
WAS PROPOSED TO ITS STAKE HOLDERS AS A MODEL FOR CITY REGERATION AND A TOOL
FOR CULTURAL TOURISM WITH HIGH POTENTIAL FOR ATTRACTING INTERANTIONAL
INVESTMENTS AND INCREASING MONOPOLY RENT, A LANDMARK EVENT THAT HAS BEEN
LINKED TO THE EVOLUTION OF OTHER MEGA EVENTS IN THE GLOBAL SOUTH.
THE KOCHI MUZIRIS BIENALLE, WHILE THE DISCURSIVE NATURE OF THE BIENALLE WAS
PROPOGATED THROUGH ITS CONFERENCE LETS TALK A PLATFORM THAT INSTIGATED
PEOPLE TO TALK ABOUT RELEVANT ISSUES PREVAILING GLOBALLY AND LOCALLY.
KOCHI ALSO HAS AN EXTREMELY HIGH LEVEL OF PUBLIC ACCESS, WHICH NOT ONLY BROKE
THE ELITIST NATURE OF ART BUT ALSO MADE THE BIENALLE VENUE A CONTACT ZONE
FOR TWO OPPOSITES TO MEET.
THE KOCHI MUZIRIS BIENALLE CAN BE CONTEXTUALIZED INTO TWO LARGE
CLASSIFICATIONS. IT EMERGES AS A PRODUCT OF THE ART SCENE IN INDIA THAT HAS
BEEN GLOBALLY RECOGNISED BUT STILL HAS LARGE GAPS IN INFRASTRUCTURAL AND
INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE WITHIN INDIA.
THE BIENALLE HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED AS A VOICE TO FILL THE VACCUM CRETAED BY
GOVERMENTAL INSTITUTIONS AND THUS IT COULD ALSO BE CLASSIFIED AS A BIENALLE

IN CONTEMPORARY INDIA , THE CULTURAL DOMINANCE OF NEW DELHI AND MUMBAI IN THE
ART MARKET LED TO THE CREATION OF PERIPHERIES IN KOLKOTA,BHOPAL,VADODARA AND
KERALA.
THE RISE OF INDIAN ART WORLD SAW ARTISTS FROM KERALA MIGRATE IN NUMBERS TO
NEW DELHI AND MUMBAI TO MAKE THEIR CAREERS.
HISTORICALLY , KERALA HAS ALWAYS BEEN LINKED TO VISUAL AND LITERARY CULTURE
AND THE FATHER OF INDIAN MODERNISM ,RAJA RAVI VERMA HAILS FROM THIS STATE.
THUS THOUGH IT MAY BE POSSIBLE TO LOCATE THE KOCHI MUZIRIS BIENNALE IN A
LARGER DISCOURSE ON BIENAALES, THE ARGUMENT WOULD BE TO LOACTE IT WITHIN THE
NATIONAL DISCOURSE ON THE ARTS. BEING ONE OF THE MAJOR ACADEMIC CENTRE OF
ART IN INDIA IN THE PAST , THE MIGRATION OF ARTISTS TO ESTABLISHED CENTRES IN MID
AND LATE TWENTIETH CENTURY IMPACTED THE GROWTH OF KERALA AS AN ART HUB.
BY BRINGING BIENNALE TO KERALA, THERE IS AN EFFORT TO REVIVE THE FORGOTTEN
VISUAL CULTURE IN KERWLA,WHICH WOULD PROVIDE INFRASTRUCTURE AND EXPOSURE
TO THE LOCAL ARTISTS.
THESE EFFORTS OF THE BIENALLE IN THE VISUAL LARTS ARE OVERSHADOWED BY THE
BIENNALES IMPACT ON URBAN REGENERATION AND CULTURAL TOURISM.

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BIENNALE CITY
BIENNALE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN NAMED AFTER THE CITIES THEY BELONG TOP. THE REASON FOR
THIS ASSOCIATION BETWEEEN A BIENNALE AND A CITY IS BECAUSE ONE OF THE PURPOSES OF
THE BIENNALE IS TO REGENERATE OR REVITALIZE A CITY ON THE DECLINE AS WELL AS THE
FACT THAT A BIENNALE DRAWS FROM THE HISTORICITY OF THE LOCATION.
THE GUGGENHEIM BILBAO IS ONE OF THE BEST EXAMPLES OF RESTORING A CULTURAL STATUS
TO A TOWN THAT HAS SEEN RAPID DECLINE AND LARGE SCALE UNEMPLOYMENT
SIMILARLY LIVERPOOL BIENALLE WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1999 WITH THE AIM TO REVIVE THE
INDUSTRIAL TOWN OF LIVERPOOL AS A NEW CULTURAL CITY OF UNITED KINGDOM AND
CULTIVATE OF A LARGE GALLERY AND RESIDENCY NETWORK. THE CITY WITHIN A FEW YEARS
WAS ABLE TO ATTRACT INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION THAT RESULTED IN ENHANCING ITS IMAGE
BUT ALSO CREATED EMPLOYMENT , INVLOVED ITS COMMUNITY AND HAD AN ECONOMIC IMPACT
ON THE LOCAL BUSINESS.
THE SUCCESS OF THE FIRST EDITION IN 2012, WHICH BROUGHT IN FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND
VISITORS TO THE EVENTS IMPACT ON THE CITYS ECONOMICS AND INSPIRED THE GOVERNMENT
OF KERALA TO COME FORWARD AND SUPPORT THE EVENT WITH MORE FINANACES AND BY
ALLOWING THE USE OF OTHER BUILDINGS FOR THE NEXT EDITION IN 2014.

THE CITY WAS NEVER A CITY IN DECLINE. INFACT THE CITY IS A COMMERCIAL AND
INDUSTRIAL HUB ON THE WEST COAST , CONSIDERED SECOND ONLY TO MUMBAI. THE CITY
IS ALSO A TOURIST DESTINATION.HOWEVER BY ADDING AN INTERNATIONAL ART EVENT TO
ITS NUMEROUS TEMPLES,TEA PLANTAION AND COFFEE PPLANTATIONS AND BEACHES, THE
STATE OF KERAL REPOSITIONED ITSELF AS A CULTURAL STATE OF THE COUNTRY , KOCHI
ATTRACTING INTERANTIONAL ATTENTION FROM MUSEUMS AND BIENNALE GOERS.
THE BIENNALE ALSO DID WELL TO USE UNCONEVTIONAL SPACES IN KOCHI TO DISPLAY THE
ART.
FILIPOVIC HAS COMMENTED ON THE HOMOGEIZATION OF THE DISPLAY OF ART UNDER A
PHENOMENON CALLED WHITE CUBE. THE MODE OF DISPLAY OF ART COULD BE DIFFERENT
WITH RESPECT TO THE ENVIRONMENT AND CITY , IT IS MEANT TO BE DIFFERENT AND
REPRESENT THE INDIVIDUALTIY OF A CITY.
THE KOCHI BIENNALE PROVIDED THE CHANGE OF GUARD AND TACKLED LOCATION OR
LOCALITY. THE BIENALLE PROVIDED A BREATH OF FRESH AIR TO THE ABANDONED AND
UNUSED WAREHOUSES THAT BELONGED TO THE POTUGESE,DUTCH AND BRITISH TRADERS.
FOR MANY LOCALS,THE VISIT TO MANY OF THESE LOCATIONS WAS A FIRST AS THESE
VENUES,HELD UNDER CORPORATE AND GOVERNMENT CONTROL, ARE BEYOND REACH FOR
MANY PEOPLE. IF BIENNALE IS TOOL FOR REGENARATION OF THE CITY , THE KOCHI BIENNALE

IMPACT
MUSEUMS AND BIENNALES ARE NOW CONSIDERED ICONS, A PRESTIGE THAT HIGHLIGHTS THE
CULTURAL INCLINATIONS OF A CITY
THE BIENALLE ALONG WITH MUSEUMS ,RESIDENCIES,GALLERIES AND ARTFAIRS IS NOW A PART
OF A COMPLEX NETWORK OF RELATIONSHIPS WITHIN THE ART WORLD.
THE KOCHI BIENNALE WAS THE LAST TO ENTER THE COMPLEX ARRANGEMENT OF THE INDIAN
ART MARKET. THE BIENNALE IS THE OUTCOME OF THE VACUUM CREATED BY APATHY OF THE
GOVERNMENT RUN MUSEUMS AND THE LIMITED SUCCESS OF THE PRIVATE INITIATIVES.
THE BIENNALE IS A ZONE FOR DIALOGUE AND WITH ITS COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PROGRAM
MAY PROVIDE A FREEDOM THE THE TRADITIONAL MUSEUM SETUPS.
BIENNALE IS A PROJECT THAT INVOLVES VARIOUS COMMUNITIES SUCH AS STUDENTSOF THE
ARTS, WRITERS, THEATRE, MUSIC AND PARTICIPANTS FROM THE LOCAL COMMUNITY OF KERALA.
THE REACH OF THE BIENALLE HAS BEEN WOTH APPLAUDING, THE TIME PERIOD TO SEE AN
IMPACT IS TOO LITTLE , WHILE THE ART FRATERNITY HAS HAD A DIRECT IMPACT IN DEVELOPING
IT INTO A CUTURAL HUB.