© Ellika Henrikson


forms of the surrounding futures

We are inhabiting a period of abrupt change recently defined as permacrisis. In western thought, such moments have regularly correlated with a failure to imagine multiple configurations for tomorrow. However, this is not the only prospect available. Various systems of knowledge and practice urge us to read the present not as a crisis but as an imminent and radical transition in historical experience. They encourage us to produce a thought and mythology responsive to our times. Echoing the mutually dependent and entangled life-systems on the planet, forms of the surrounding futures forge an expanded alliance of social formations to address current urgencies and experiment with plural narratives for tomorrow.

forms of the surrounding futures adopt queer as an expanded perspective to challenge dominant narratives, replacing them by a broad rethinking and remaking of bodies, spaces and times. Enacting a collective and emancipatory position, they embrace multiple agencies in a nonconforming affinity that questions the constructed features of the present and promote the emergence of multiple futures. They bypass speculative approaches to futurity to look at existing possibilities of being together in the world, projecting a set of relations contrary to the oppressive forces which have dominated history.

forms of the surrounding futures employ strategies akin to theatre and stage design to estrange and seduce, proposing cognitive, emotional and sensual forms of engagement. Its performative features replace mediated forms of connectivity with immersive communal experimentation. A polyphonic set of agencies materialises multi-sensorially, designing liminal places which question linear understandings of identity. Examining the now, forms of the surrounding futures aim at queering hegemonic conceptions of the social, empowering and disseminating narratives which celebrate our collective ability to imagine and rehearse worlds to come.

– João Laia, Curator Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art 2023

a calling, a celebration

The performance program expands the exhibition displays, queering the stability of the biennial format by playing with ephemeral and durational rhythms of presentation. Because of its bodily, celebratory and intensified features, performance programs design places of communal experimentation, instances of possibility where social formations can emerge and be rehearsed in shared manners.

The opening performance program is organised in two successive moments: day-time and night-time. The day program, a calling, serves as a welcome device, introducing key narratives of the biennial and concentrating attention towards a ceremonial and liminal moment of the opening-as-event. The nocturnal program a celebration is a social gathering. It echoes the night as a haven of various others and manifests the biennial’s celebratory embrace towards the unknown.

– João Laia, Curator Göteborg International Biennial for Contemporary Art 2023

The performance program, a calling, a celebration, took place during the opening of forms of the surrounding futures September 16, 2023.