11/01/2019 - 20/10/2019

Contour Biennale is one of the most recognizable, large-scale exhibition platforms in Belgium: a unique initiative engaging with local and international artists who focus on the moving image and its wider representation in installations, sound and performance. The 9th edition of Contour will take on a new form.

The projects presented during Contour Biennale 9: Coltan as Cotton are inspired by and relate to the city of Mechelen, its inhabitants and, more broadly, Belgium’s recent colonial history and its continuation today. Besides this, more general questions are posed about how to situate a biennial, whom it addresses and whether we can find more sustainable ways to work on a biennial. Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez has designed this edition in phases: a continuum of projects in various formats that will be organised over the course of one year, in contrast to earlier editions when the biennial ran for 10 weeks. Between January 2019 and October 2019, three major public presentations aligned to various Moon phases and several other events will shape the biennial.

The title of the biennial is borrowed from the poem “The Bear/Coltan as Cotton” by the slammer, musician and poet Saul Williams. More than 80% of global extraction of coltan, one of the major conflict minerals, comes from Congo and Rwanda. In the great majority of mines, the conditions of its extraction are not controlled by any governmental agency and it is known that child labour is often involved. Coltan is an irreplaceable component in nearly every cell phone, laptop, and electronic device, thus contributing to the Global North and Global South’s access to connection.

Artists contribute with newly commissioned films, installations, participatory projects and performances that explore entanglements between the decolonization of structures, mind and history in Belgium, and that affirm the need for practices of degrowth and solidarity to be intertwined more profoundly with contemporary artistic practices. Many of the works will be made collectively with residents and organisations in and around Mechelen. During the three phases there will also be a programme of discussions and workshops led by the artists and invited contributors.

Ecology, inequa­lity, degrowth, solida­rity and racism are the major themes of the films, instal­la­tions and perfor­mances by the selected artists. These themes are rooted in curator Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez’s ongoing research and engage­ment. The artists at Contour Biennale 9 are working actively with residents and organi­sa­tions in Mechelen and the surroun­ding area. During the public weekends, there will also be a fringe programme along with round-table discus­sions and workshops led by artists and experts.

Contour Biennale 9  »Coltan as Cotton »
11 janvier – 20 Octobre 2019

Nona Arts Centre
Begijnenstraat 19, 2800 Mechelen, Belgique
Pour plus d’informations  :  https://www.contour9.be/en/contour/

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