9 February, 2019

Prizren, 2 May 2017 – International Biennale of Contemporary Art “Autostrada Biennale” with great pleasure announces the curatorial concept of the first edition which can be found below.


By Manray HSU

The future of borders? Just three decades ago when current globalisation continuously pulled down walls of regulation and made all boundaries porous, the answer to this question had been clearly and definitely that the future is of a borderless world. Today, the world seems to go in the opposite direction and borders are coming back. The issues of refugees, migrant workers, transnational corporations, environmental disasters, national and ethnic identities, and so on, bring attention to borders of various forms, which bears on justice, human and nonhuman rights, democracy, and politics per se. The future of borders has come to the centre-stage of our present.

Insofar as contemporary art is related to this process, it is the proliferation of the biennials and their spread to different corners, often marginal regions, of the world, making themselves part of a large platform on which not only art from periphery can be seen but issues of global and local concerns can be shared, discussed, and debated. Under these circumstances, Autostrada Biennale is created. And at the hinge of our time, its first edition shall focus on various border problems.

The exhibition, along with its discursive and pedagogic events, will look at: How do nation-states and their system function to politicise (or depoliticise) cultural identities, to territorialize natural, cultural, and economic zones under capitalist competition and profit generating? How do local and regional resistances cope with geopolitical strategies of the state system? How does the citizen movement use different means, artistic and otherwise, to tackle border problems, to construct local identities or cross-border coalition?

In modernity, the city has developed along the culture-nature dividing line, establishing borders between urban and rural areas, between human and non-human environments. The city is rich in gender borders, ethnic borders, borders between the youth and the elderly, between outsiders and locals, between human and other species. While most of these borders in the city are invisible, overlapping and interconnected, their functioning constitutes the kernel of contemporary urban life. Artists, urbanists, activists and educators, are invited to reflect on these borders, particularly those in the city of Prizren which will result in site-specific interventions, public works, and workshops on urban design and activism.

The first edition of Autostrada Biennale will use Prizren’s opulent historic sites: the castle and its archaeological halls, the Marash area, some heritage buildings and ruins, and the bus station area from the Yugoslavia period. Having the Lumbardhi River as the axis to connect these venues, the exhibition also highlights the deep historical nexus between human and nonhuman environments which makes the city of Prizren.