The 57th Biennale was just inaugurated and an important part of it is the national pavilions, which represent art from different countries. This year sees an interesting addition - the NSK state pavilion, a Utopian state not rooted in any single territory and citizens are welcome from anywhere.
The NSK state was created in 1992 by arts collectives amidst the collapse of socialism and the breakup of Yugoslavia. This year marks the 25th year of its founding - and the installation set up within its pavilion is that of a passport center where passports can be created and handed out to visitors, regardless of where they are from. The environment is created in such a way that it mimics an uncomfortable immigration center.
The process of applying for a passport has been curated by artist Ahmet Ogut with the intention of putting the well-heeled visitor - who has been traveling so easily in and out of Venice - into the uneasy, infuriating bureaucratic nightmare that confronts every refugee seeking asylum in Europe.
Art serves many purposes for both the viewer and the maker. For the maker, some kind of therapy, expression and letting go. For the viewer, it may uplift, surprise, inspire, challenge - the list goes on.
But perhaps one of best kinds of art is that which tells the state of our times, forcing us to look beyond the surface of a work to the world beyond and encourages us to imagine a world that could be.
This kind of art may not directly change a regulation or divert a crisis, but it may just change the minds of those who change our world. At least it may change the way they see it - and that's a start.
Gloria Yu is an artist, designer and citizen of the world.
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