BB12 Curators Workshop

Workshop for curators in the frame of the 12th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, directed by Reem Shadid


On the occasion of the 12th Berlin Biennale (11.6.–18.9.2022), curator Kader Attia has invited Reem Shadid to develop and reimagine the format of the Curators Workshop. Following a series of successful theme-based workshops held in conjunction with the 4th to 11th editions of the Berlin Biennale, this iteration—drawing on Attia’s decolonial concept for the 12th Berlin Biennale and its thematic areas—addresses pressing questions about how to place artistic practice at the heart of what we do. Invited participants will have the opportunity to discuss these topics in close collaboration with curators, speakers, Berlin Biennale staff, and invited contributors. In collaboration with the Allianz Kulturstiftung, BMW Group, Goethe-Institut e. V., and Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa), the Berlin Biennale invites a group of fourteen early-career curators, educators, and other practitioners to participate in a ten-day workshop.

The BB12 Curators Workshop: It Speaks to Me takes language as a departure point to consider where our conversations have gone astray—from one another, our (art) practice, and our lived experiences. This insistence on doubting or repurposing language comes from an urgency to understand that language is not just the utterance of content—a mere tool for expression—but constitutes the act of speaking itself.

Art innately and persistently searches for adequate forms of language to address, engage, or transcend our current conditions. Rapid shifts in technology and modes of art production and the increased institutionalization of artistic and curatorial practice have entrapped us in a closed loop that recycles and regurgitates the same language within new and familiar forms, media, and aesthetics. Such forms continue to (un)intentionally reproduce decontextualized generic discourses, thus limiting our current conversation and actions. This entrapment also reaffirms our growing rift with(in) lived reality—creating a real sociopolitical imaginary stalemate directly related to language’s inadequacy. So, what do we do when the language we use is no longer sufficient to continue or change existing conversations given ever-evolving colonial, capitalist, and patriarchal systems and patterns? Where is curatorial practice situated within this conundrum, and what can it allow us to do despite its exploitation of language? How can we find and make visible language that is more rooted in practice, and whose aesthetics are derived from the specificities of its context?

The workshop invites participants to consider how curatorial practice can reappropriated language that has been sequestered and used against us, in order to contribute to the emergence and redesignation of spaces so that other types of mediations, translations, and encounters may take place.


Adam Haj Yahia, Amogelang Maledu, Emmanuel Chimezie Ndefo, Epona Hamdan, Gabriela Pereira Gutiérrez, Vū Thái Hà, Joud Al-Tamimi, Karon Sabrina Corrales, Krisztián Gábor Török, Madhushree Kamak, Mahmoud Al-Shaer, Rasmus Thor Christensen, Reem M. Marji, Sibongile Oageng Msimango