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15 Sep 2009

Walking around this commission

Walking around this commission – to blog about the 2010 Tatton Park Biennial for a year with complete editorial freedom – it's clear, from pretty much every angle, this is something of a gift. For now, at least, given that I'm in the fortuitously suspenseful position of not knowing very much about the forthcoming biennial, the history of the site or the current cultural dynamics of its rural context. I am, to all intents and purposes, the archetypal biennial visitor, a city (London) based arts professional who swings in for the opening event and out again when the coach departs for the station. Data is being fed to me by the curators on a wish-to basis with my first visit to Tatton (and, I confess, Cheshire) scheduled for early November.

Naturally, I've started picking at the paper on this indescribably shaped assignment. For me, it's an interesting time to be writing about the biennial – as a now world-wide cultural arts strategy firmly embedded within the public consciousness. There are many existing exhibition models to (mis)align Tatton with. And while the mag-and-the-blogospheres have been twitching for years on the merits and failings of the phenomenon it's only in the recent couple that some of the most serious research projects have reached full-term, the questions at the heart of which can only help further the development of this (non-residential) journey in and around Tatton and biennial culture.

I do not intend for this to become a case study, but as the biennial itself is themed this year around the issue of identity (and/or definitions of this as a personal and public territory), it seems only right that the 'identity' of the project (as a small rurally-located biennial within a wider international family) be called into question. At this stage, I can only imagine how I will negotiate the sticky vat of issues that is 'biennialism' en route and position myself within the bird's nest of local, national and international concerns that the art biennial inevitably raises. For the most part, though, I am looking forward to getting lost in the leaky Venn intersections between the works commissioned, the site and the theme and in an unknown pocket of my own social history.

Posted by Rebecca Geldard at 3:03 PM

Guest Writer


Jordan Kaplan

Jordan is a curator and occasional writer and editor. She and Danielle Arnaud founded Parabola in 2002.

Debbie Chan

I've been working as an independent arts professional since 2004, operating as a project manager, researcher, facilitator, fundraiser, curator and adviser for various art organisations across the North West.

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