The 7th Berlin Biennale which opened on Friday was disappointing for several reasons. For one, the idea of the political or of being political has been reduced to political movements and (political) parties. This results in a rather one-dimensional approach to politics, the political in art or even the political potential of art. The whole endeavour was pushy and you felt as if you were visiting a kind of political art fair. The different projects, parties, movements were placed side by side, thereby rendering them in a sense ineffective, harmless, cancelling each other out. The visions these projects stand for or the critique they were trying to voice, were turned into mere ideas, one after the other; you just pick sides depending on your mood.
Maybe even more unforgiving is the ways in which activism is institutionalised. You can look at the Occupyers or Indignadxs as if at a zoo. Here they are, the activists with their expensive laptops and their worn out slogans like “Power to the People” ready to be spray painted via ready-made stencils on another piece of immaculate KW-wall. This exhibiting and pacifying of activism is cynical to say the least. Ultimately, the Biennale felt like one big Artur Żmijewski work, sometimes channelled through other artists, sometimes not even that.