Sharjah Biennial 14: Leaving the Echo Chamber
Sharjah Biennial 14 showcases three exhibitions that explore the possibilities and purpose of producing art when news is fed by a monopoly of sources, history is increasingly fictionalized, when ideas of society are invariably displaced and when borders and beliefs are dictated by cultural, social and political systems.
In popular culture the "echo chamber" is a moniker for circuitous news media and its attendant feeds that are reinforced by a closed system, a network that is controlled and governed by private sources, governments and corporations. It is a metaphor for the historical dominance of capital and culture, social and political systems that dictate its access, production and distribution—this "capital" wooing (and thus privileging) particular images, languages, skills, histories and geographies. Most tangibly, the echo chamber is the space wherein sound hits and reverberates, where memory and imagination echo across surface, across space and across time. The echo chamber here could be construed as a modern day Faraday cage—an enclosure that covers conductive material, which prevents transmitting signals. Except here artists are given the agency to tell stories that echo in a different way, thus creating new surfaces for a multiplicity of chambers revealing differing means of connecting, surviving and sustaining a collective humanity.