Bergen Assembly is a perennial model for artistic production and research that is structured around public formats taking place in the city of Bergen every three years. The conveners of the third edition of Bergen Assembly in 2019 are Hans D. Christ and Iris Dressler.
While the role of the convener resembles that of a curator, it can also distribute curatorial agency. Christ and Dressler have invited ten artists, curators, activists, and theorists from various fields to develop the content and format of the upcoming edition in a collective process. Murat Deha Boduroğlu, Banu Cennetoğlu, María García, Hiwa K, Katia Krupennikova, Viktor Neumann, Paul B. Preciado, Pedro G. Romero, Simon Sheikh, and Emma Wolukau-Wanambwa form, together with Hans D. Christ and Iris Dressler, the core group of Bergen Assembly 2019. The core group collaborates closely with various local partners.
Bergen Assembly’s flexible model is reinvented for each edition, responding in particular to a need for alternative temporalities of art production and experience within an oversaturated information culture, where attention itself is increasingly commodified and subject to pressure.
Bergen Assembly originated from the Bergen Biennial Conference in 2009, which was a response to a proposition by the municipality of Bergen to establish an international biennial for contemporary art in the city. The conference discussed the question “To biennial or not to biennial?” with international curators, artists, and academics, and was followed by The Biennial Reader (Hatje Cantz/Bergen Kunsthall, 2010)—to date the most comprehensive publication on the history and practice of biennials or regularly occurring exhibitions and events in a global perspective.
The first edition of Bergen Assembly was titled Monday Begins on Saturday and was convened by Ekaterina Degot and David Riff, manifesting in a multi-venue exhibition and a publication in 2013. The latest edition of the triennial was led by the artistic directors Tarek Atoui, the collective freethought, and the collaboration PRAXES in 2016.