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PRINT September 1997

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the Kwangju and Johannesburg Biennales

GIVEN THE CURRENT popularity of “globalism,” it’s no surprise that the Johannesburg and Kwangju Biennales are uncannily similar. Both were inaugurated in 1995 and both attempt to map the emergence of hybrid cultures and identities as national boundaries crumble or are redrawn. The Johannesburg exhibition, “Trade Routes: History and Geography,” sets out to explore cultural exchange and is divided into six sections, while Kwangju’s “Unmapping the Earth,” a reference to the five elements of Eastern alchemy, is split into five shows. Each Biennale is holding conferences and producing both a publication of the papers and exhibition catalogues that feature some of the celebrities of contemporary cultural criticism and literature. Johannesburg’s conference, organized by Olu Oguibe (and scheduled to be held between October 13 and 15) includes Homi K. Bhabha, Andreas Huyssen, and Nadine Gordimer,

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