Biennial 2020

2020 BIENNIAL: SWARM: Ecology, Digitality, Sociality

The 2020 Cornell Biennial focus is on SWARM: Ecology, Digitality, Sociality, and will feature artistic environments that provoke University-wide conversation about multitude, motion, sound, migration, and threat, while reflecting on precarity in an age of technological abundance.

In image, movement, and assemblage, Swarm lies at the core of the artistic and design process, whether through the assemblage and casting of materials, the combinatory of data, the imaging of ecology, the profusion of sound, the flight of drones or the performance of multitude. The profusion of swarm, as well as its peril, traverse the divides of performance, art, sound, architecture, design, ecology, biology, and information.

While swarming invokes the movement of bees, birds, and drones, swarms migrate in insecurity, abound in protest, infest in virus, and multiply in celebration. Biennial projects might ponder physical force and magnificence, ecological hazard, robotic motion, bursts of data, abundance of sound, density of artistic form, promise of the crowd or threat of the multitude. Artistic approaches to networks, swarms, and multitudes will summon the natural and social, touch the technological and the political, while conjuring traumatic pasts and utopic futures.

Swarm: precarity as potentiality.

Biennial Launch Conference, September 2020


To the Moon

Laurie Anderson again collaborates with Hsin-Chien to provide an immersive artistic experience. Developed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, viewers are invited to become astronauts through VR goggles that provide an intimate experience with this 3-D imaginary trip into space.

Precarious Natural SwarmsXU BING
Precarious Natural Swarms

As a proposal for a permanent installation for the Cornell Botanic Gardens, the celebrated Chinese artist and Cornell A. D. White Professor-at-Large, Xu Bing, will create a prototype that will compare the precarity of plants and nature to the disappearance of language and civilization.

The Animal, Vegetable, Mineralness of EverythingKEN FEINGOLD
The Animal, Vegetable, Mineralness of Everything

An international pioneer of robotic and artificial intelligence art, Ken Feingold exhibits this compelling installation for the first time on the East Coast since its creation with a Rockefeller Foundation Media Arts Fellowship.

One Person ExhibitionMARIA HUPFIELD
One Person Exhibition

Maria Hupfield will retool the gallery space as a laboratory, as a performance venue, and as an archive that prioritizes and makes space for diverse bodies. The body is a major element to the work of this Canadian / Anishinaabek artist and is heavily represented in the exhibition.

Bluestone FlowSARA JIMENEZ
At what point does the world unfold?

Selected for the complexity of her research-based practice, which fits compellingly with the interdisciplinary fabric of the Cornell Biennial, emergent New York artist Sara Jimenez has been commissioned to create a new outdoor installation.

The Ways of Folding Space and FlyingKYUNGWON MOON/JOONHO JEON
The Ways of Folding Space and Flying

Combining Swarm’s subthemes of Ecology, Digitality, Sociality, The Ways of Folding Space & Flying, a multi-channel film installation to be revised for the Cornell Biennial, explores an archaeological quest into human civilization that interweaves history with visions of the future as told through a future-retrospective narrative.

The Tree of 40 FruitSAM VAN AKEN
The Tree of 40 Fruit

Derived from extensive archival research and artistic collaboration, “The Tree of 40 Fruit” stages new artistic perspectives on botany, agriculture, climatology, and the ever-increasing impact of technology that exemplify the interdisciplinary promise of Cornell Biennial’s 2020 theme, “Swarm: Ecology, Digitality, Sociality.”

Swarming WhiteWENDY S. WALTERS
Good People of Fresh Creek Basin: Notes on Climate Change

This essay examines the early signs of forced migration due to climate change in a Black immigrant neighborhood in Brooklyn. It will consider how a history of segregation shaped the community and its relationship to its coastal environs.


2020 Cornell Biennial
Curator/CCA Director Timothy Murray | Program Coordinator Erin Emerson

Curatorial Committee Sasa Zivkovic (Architecture) | Renate Ferro (Art) | Denise Green (Fiber Science & Apparel Design) |
Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon
(English) | Karen Pinkus (Romance Studies/Comparative Literature) |
Annie Lewandowski
(Music) | Ellen Avril (Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art) |
Amy Villarejo (Performing and Media Arts) | Lauren van Haaften-Schick
(Graduate Student Respresentative) |
Jolene Rickard
(American Indian and Indigenous Studies/Art/History of Art)

Alumni Ambassadors Wendy Rosenthal Gellman, Chair (New York City) |
Dan Desmond (New York City) | William Lim (Hong Kong) | Shin-yi Yang (Beijing)