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17 July - 11 October 2020
Participants: 67 artists and groups
Organizers: City of Yokohama, Yokohama Arts Foundation, Japan Broadcasting Corporation (NHK), The Asahi Shimbun, and Organizing Committee for Yokohama Triennale
Raqs Media Collective. © Photo: KATO Hajime. Courtesy: Organizing Committee for Yokohama Triennale Office
Yokohama Triennale 2020 is led by Raqs Media Collective as its artistic director. Afterglow, — a luminous interval, a glowing anticipation, a lambent flow, a charged current of energy between thickets of presence and becoming —, consists of both an exhibition, and Episōdos, a series of events that started in November 2019 in Yokohama. In addition, Raqs Media Collective has shared a Sourcebook, to expand its views and visions toward the world at large.
"We commenced our own crossing, leading to this edition of the Yokohama Triennale, about two years ago, with questions about care, about care with toxicity, about care and friendship, about luminosity within friendship, and about cosmologies of luminance. (…) Meanwhile, in the course of a few months, a tiny virus, an un-living being, emerged, upending assumptions and assigning a task to the entire species. For the first time in human history we, all the billions from all parts of the world, have to undertake — in awareness of each other — the re-making of forms of life. It has brought to the foreground the necessity of re-apprehending the world," wrote Raqs for the opening. (read more…)
"In 2020 the world has confronted an unprecedented challenge in the spread of the new coronavirus. In the art sphere, we have long believed that there is fundamental value in visiting exhibitions in person, witnessing artworks with our own eyes and also sharing those experiences and joys with others. This year we have faced a significant challenge as these premises have been undermined," point out OSAKA Eriko and KURAYA Mika, from the YT Organizing Committee, and continue: "It is under these circumstances that we present Yokohama Triennale 2020 “Afterglow,” the seventh edition of this event and one of the first of the world’s biennales and triennales to open in the current climate. It is filled with ideas that today more than ever we must come together to consider."
"What the global spread of the new virus has made apparent — even more so than its toxicity — is a distrust of and overconfidence in information, and a fear of an uncertain future and other people," states KIMURA Eriko, Curatorial Head. "Once the immediate crisis has passed, memories of fear will likely remain like sediment here and there in people and society. In order to survive in such a world, it will become more important than ever for each of us to recognize the diversity of both human society and our entire ecosystem, and to stand on our own feet and exist as though glowing like a light. Yokohama Triennale 2020 aims to provide an opportunity, through contemporary art, to think about the power to 'catch that light' which will allow us step into an uncertain future."
"In the face of significant restrictions on international travel, it was the collective enthusiasm of the artistic director Raqs Media Collective and participating artists that has delivered to Yokohama these cutting-edge artworks which will now be presented to the world," writes KONDO Seiichi, from the YT Organizing Committee. Thanking all the citizens, companies and organizations who have made it possible to hold Yokohama Triennale 2020, HAYASHI Fumiko (Mayor, City of Yokohama), expresses: "As we commence one of the first biennale and triennales in the world to open amid these circumstances, I am convinced we can deliver cheer to everyone. We also hope we are able to send a message of courage to artists around the world."
For the exhibition, which opens on 17 July, 2020, Raqs Media Collective proposes: "Imagine the Yokohama Museum of Art, and the Plot 48 as ‘thicket hosts’: temporary shelters for the biological diversity of the mind and the imagination. In these times, when we have begun to learn a new vocabulary of ‘social distance’, think of a thicket — the very opposite of the exclusionary principle that a pandemic unleashes. It brings to mind an image of density, immersion, and entanglement. It is also interesting to think about the state of alertness the mind enters into while navigating a thicket. It slows the experience of time. A transformed experience of time can bring forth a form of compassion that is as caring as it is contagious — where contact, and a state of awareness about being in contact, is the key to a return to safety, without the fear of banishment of the contagious. It is welcoming of different forms and propensities of life."
In the Sourcebook, Raqs had shared an amazement, which the artists now would like us to feel again: "Life, the universe, the world, and the time of each day disintegrates and gets re-constituted through innumerable acts, incrementally rebuilding through luminous care. Broken minutes are mended in the afterglow of time’s toxic debris. Life is a luminous autodidact."
Press release, 16 July 2020
Interview with Raqs Media Collective
by Pat Binder and Gerhard Haupt, 21 August 2020
Organizing Committee for Yokohama Triennale OFFICE
c/o Yokohama Museum of Art
3-4-1 Minatomirai, Nishi-ku, Yokohama
Phone: +81-(0)45-663-7232 (Weekdays: 10:00 to 18:00)
Location on map
Virtual Tour - official website:
Yokohama Triennale 2020 Press Office (PRAP Japan, Inc.)
Attention: I. Yokozawa (Ms.), M. Hongo (Ms.), K. Masuda (Ms.)
ARK Mori Building 33F,
P. O. Box 562, 12-32 Akasaka 1-chome,
Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-6033
Tel: +81-(0)3-4580-9109 (Weekdays: 10:00-18:00)
From press information.
© Cover photo on top: Screenshot from the video "Magic Hour (for Episodo)" by IWAI Masaru. Courtesy of Takuro Someya Contemporary Art.
© Photo of RaqsMedia Collective: KATO Hajime. Courtesy of Organizing Committee for Yokohama Triennale