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the Tenth Shanghai Biennale

Chen Chieh-jen, Empire’s Borders 1–2, 2008–2009, ink-jet print, 25 5/8 × 39 3/8".

THE PROTAGONIST of Jia Zhangke’s 2004 feature film The World dreams of freedom amid the earth’s most renowned sculptures, landmarks, and sites. Although it seems she has never left her country, she wanders daily through a miniature replica of the globe at the Beijing World Park. Biennials similarly attempt to refract the world through a prism of cultural production; the earliest such exhibition, the Venice Biennale, was born in the era of the all-encompassing international exposition. Of course, the world reflected by today’s biennials is no longer shaped by the modernist gaze of the rational, illuminated Crystal Palace of the first World’s Fair, but is instead seen as an endlessly expanding multiverse. In “Social Factory,” the main exhibition of the Tenth Shanghai Biennale, chief curator Anselm Franke, along with Cosmin Costinas, Liu Xiao, Freya Chou, Hila Peleg, and Nicholas

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