What is the meaning of what’s happening in the world today? Where are we headed? Our time is defined by uncertainty and the renewed relevance of these questions. This confusion is caused by our way of relating to the past and the future, a relationship full of obstacles and contradictions that has trapped us in a sensation that there is “no way out.” Discourses of hatred and intolerance we thought overcome are now back in force; technologized life based on immediacy affects how people share their lives; voices silenced for centuries now claim their place in history. These contradictory phenomena reflect the complex reality of our contemporary times—the difficulty we have both in interpreting the past and looking ahead to the future. Some thinkers have found a name for this disorientation: presentism.
Latin America has a radical experience of these issues, mirrored also across the Global South. A territory whose history is an itinerary of violence, most of it coming from the North.
The 22 Paiz Biennial Is an effort to break free of the inertia of this presentist time. It aims to construct a perspective that taps Guatemalan reality, but has a regional focus. It involves the past and its relationship to the future. Its themes—violence, interculturality, the contemporary and ancestral history of Guatemala—serve as points of entry.
Attacks on democracy, exploitation, human rights violations with their stories and micro-histories, as well as narratives and other forms of knowledge, are some of the themes that the artists will explore. All of them share a sensibility to the cultural and geographic diversity of Guatemala and the Global South.
Titled lost. in between. together, in a nod to one of the great thinkers of presentism, Reinhart Koselleck, the exhibition aims to dig into the past and think and imagine together possible futures (the title was borrowed from a BAK publication, edited by Jonas Staal, Yoonis Osman and María Hlavajova)
So the curatorial project raises these questions: how should we address the past of the Global South today? Where do we identify the colonizing violence? How do we respond to it? What past do we build for the future?