"Score of the Game: Boring Videos 100 : Revelation 1." Review of Manifesta 5, European Biennial of Contemporary Art, Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain, June 11 — September 30, 2004. Curated by Massimiliano Gioni (Milan / New York) and Marta Kuzma (Kiev / New York).
Published in Studija 37, no. 4 (2004).
View the article on Studija magazine online archive.
Read more about Manifesta 5 in Donostia-San Sebastián on its website.
Brief info about Manifesta 5 and its catalogue pdf on Manifesta foundation website.
Excerpt from my review:
[. . .]
- Oh, look! That's Bonami! - says an art critic nudging me with her elbow, as we stand in the square by the San Sebastian City Museum where the Manifesta 5 press centre is.
Yes; and? This cult of the curator is quite self-serving and that's exactly why the large, prestigious exhibitions of contemporary art turn out to be very similar, although on a theoretical level, they have proposed different objectives. This has also been noticed by some of "them".
"The biggest problem is that at these biennials, we see one and the same works. Biennial curators visit other biennials and select the same artists for their own. It's not the artists' but the curators' problem that their choices are so uniform," honestly admits Ute Meta Bauer, co-curator of documenta 11 (2002) and curator of the 3rd Berlin Biennial (2004) (Diena, 19.06.2004).
And that is why in the end, Manifesta 5 did not start a dialogue with its surroundings but remained in the position of an alienated installation. In San Sebastian the local culture — rich, interesting, traditional and at the same time modern if, after all, it still survives — remains as a harmless, uninvolved background even though it was specifically chosen by the curators. Although some works were in close interaction with the city environment, the biennial consisted mainly of what could be seen in the exhibition halls, and that's where it stayed — safe and sound. Let the locals carry on singing their folk songs at the annual fair, we're going to lock ourselves away and use foreign words in our conversation. And microbiologists or quantum mechanics theoreticians would probably do just the same at their conferences.
Some random photos from my trip to see Manifesta 5: