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The Museum as Ecosystem—11th Taipei Biennial (2018)

Rewritten by Leo Maliksi
The Taipei Biennial will take place from November 17, 2018, to March 10, 2019, at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM) and will focus on the ecosystemic structures formed through the interaction between humans and nature. The theme of the exhibition—Post-nature: The Museum as Ecosystem—is intended to turn the Biennial into a platform for developing new interdisciplinary and community-driven synergies.

Severe coastal erosion causing the collapse in 1993 of a coastal fortress in Bali District, Taipei.
Severe coastal erosion causing the collapse in 1993 of a coastal fortress in Bali District, Taipei.
Photograph © KE Chin-Yuan, 1993. Courtesy of the artist and Taipei Fine Arts Museum.

Mali Wu and Francesco Manacorda are co-curators of the 11th Biennial. Wu has decades of experience in participatory and community-based art and is a graduate of the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (Arts Academy of the City of Düsseldorf) in Germany. She currently teaches in the Graduate Institute of Interdisciplinary Art at National Kaohsiung Normal University.
Born in 1974 in Turin, Italy, Francesco Manacorda earned a degree in education at the University of Turin (2000) and an MA in Curating Contemporary Art at the Royal College of Art, London (2001–2003). An experienced art writer, he has published articles and reviews in such publications as ArtforumDomusFlash ArtFriezeMetropolis MMoussePiktogramKaleidoscope and ArtReview. Manacorda has an impressive track record in curating co-creative and process-based art projects.
Manacorda is the current Artistic Director of the V-A-C Foundation, which is dedicated to the development and international promotion of contemporary Russian culture—across a multitude of forms and within the framework of a joint exhibition, educational, and publishing programs.
Contact print of Pai-leng Canal, 2018. Single channel video
Contact print of Pai-leng Canal, 2018. Single channel video. © HUANG Hsin-Yao.
Courtesy of the artist and Taipei Fine Arts Museum.

Taking the exhibition title as a starting point, the curators will use systems theory to present the ever-changing nature of an ecosystem and how it is reflected in art and institutions. Systems theory is the interdisciplinary study of systems in general. The principles of systems theory can be applied to all types of system in all fields of research, also informing the making of art and its impact on our environment, and highlighting the reciprocity that systems need to survive.
The Taipei Fine Arts Museum will act as the central nervous system of the 2018 Biennial, intimately connected to the city that surrounds it. The exhibition will illustrate the different ways they interact and thus keep the entire system alive. A sweeping view of how an ecosystem is generated includes artistic, theoretical, social and political elements; the interaction among these elements regenerates the various parts of the ecosystem and enables it to remain adaptive to change.
According to TFAM director Ping Lin, “The 2016 Taipei Biennial was a special conversation about genealogy and history, laying the foundation for the 11th Biennial to consider the future and to ponder the issues of the environment and survival that intimately involve you and me.”