The World Biennial Forum No 1 is an international convention, the first of its kind for biennale organizers and related professionals that will take place in Gwangju, South Korea coinciding with the 9th Gwangju Biennale.

The World Biennial Forum No 1 serves as a forum for exchange, providing an opportunity for critical reflection upon the fact that over one hundred-fifty biennials for art and related disciplines are currently being organized all over the world: a world with many cultural centers that are characterized by rapidly changing socio-economic, and political certainties. This reality creates new challenges in the field of producing and curating contemporary art while it has affected various societies across the globe. The World Biennial Forum No 1 will dedicate special attention to Asia as its context and as a continent.

The World Biennial Forum No 1 is aimed for all those who are involved with them: curating, organizing, and supporting international biennials. Conceived as an informal meeting point, the World Biennial Forum No 1 will present keynotes speeches by well-known speakers from a wide range of backgrounds and fields, and also offer Case Study discussions in order to address matters that concern those who engage with biennials on a professional level, including those who represent and fund them.

The World Biennial Forum is an initiative by Biennial Foundation, a non-profit organization facilitating links between organizations and practitioners operating within the international biennial community by providing an open platform for exchange, collaboration and research.

The premiere of the World Biennial Forum is organized by the Gwangju Biennale Foundation, the Biennial Foundation, and IFA. The hosting of the first edition of the World Biennial Forum reflects Gwangju Biennale Foundation’s ongoing pro-active, innovative, and discourse-stimulating role. The Gwangju Biennale Foundation was founded in 1995 in memory of the 1980 civil uprising and the Gwangju Democratization Movement. The Gwangju Biennale is Asia’s oldest and most prestigious biennial of contemporary art.

The World Biennial Forum No 1 offers opportunity to visit three Korean biennials:

ROUNDTABLE: 9th Gwangju Biennale (7 September–11 November)
GARDEN OF LEARNING: Busan Biennale 2012 (22 September–24 November)
SPELL ON YOU: 7th Media City Seoul (11 September–4 November).

Co-Directors Ute Meta Bauer and Hou Hanru will jointly provide a set of topics, serving as a point of departure for the discussions.

Ute Meta Bauer is the Dean of Fine Art at the Royal College of Art. She served as the Director of the Visual Arts Program and as Founding Director of the Program in Art, Culture and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Bauer was co-curator of documenta 11, artistic director of the 3rd Berlin Biennale (2004) and was the Founding Director of the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA).

Hou Hanru is an art critic and curator. He worked at San Francisco Art Institute as Director of Exhibitions and Public Program and Chair of Exhibition and Museum Studies (2006-2012). He has curated numerous exhibitions including the Biennials of Johannesburg, Shanghai, Gwangju, Guangzhou, Tirana, Venice (French Pavilion, 1999, Chinese Pavilion, 2007), Istanbul, and Lyon. Hou is currently curating the 5th Auckland Triennial.

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