Image: Isaac Julien, "Ten Thousand Waves" Installation view. This enormous installation of several screens in a large turbine hall, playing different images at different time sequences, was inspired by the tragic deaths of 10,000 Chinese illegal immigrant workers who drowned in England in 2004 while picking Cockles in Morecambe Bay. However, I didn't need the back story to be moved by a visully thrilling and poetic presentation that spoke to the heart and at a higher plane.
Image: Shen Shaomin, "Summit" 2010, installation View. This hypothetical meeting of the most significant communist leaders in a G8 type summit, arranges life sized corpses and death beds (Castro) in a pentagon-shaped installation. Hard not to laugh, whilst also being replused and in awe of the execution. There was also no option but to pass by the glass cabinets/coffins in what could be seen as a respectful silence, bringing up uncomfortable associations with our silence as we watched these people commit atrocities. A very clever and well communicated idea which worked on an experiential level.
Watching the reaction of the visitors was also insightful.
Image: Yang Fudong, "East of Que village" 2007. I don't usually get emotional looking at Fine Art Videos - except if you count boredom. However, the juxtaposition of a crippled pup, fighting for food and space (even against a rooster in the corner of a shed), with the documented "everyday" reality of the lives of villiagers from the same region, struggling in the same way, was incredibly moving in a beautifully understated way. It was also visually exceptional, in all it's black and white minimalism.
Image: Kader Attia, "Kasbah" 2010. This installation of shanty town roofs only accessed by visitors a few at a time and in single file, seems an obvious piece of communication, at first. However, the experience of walking across these roofs, on a given boarded pat, brought to crashingly to view the fact that many people in the world live and move like this on a daily basis. There was no wandering and wondering about it's visual beauty - the imagination was fully focused on the possible lives of the people who could live in this manner, and their ability to eek an existence from almost nothing.
Again, from my iphone, a selection of the best visuals from a really good Sydney Biennale (not that I'm biased).