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Nguyen Trinh Thi, Letters from Panduranga, 2015, HD video, color and black-and-white, sound, 35 minutes. From the 21st Biennale of Sydney.

JAPANESE-BORN MAMI KATAOKA, chief curator at Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum since 2003, is the artistic director of the 2018 Biennale of Sydney, the first Asian curator to be appointed to the role in the event’s forty-five-year history. While her selection reflects the undeniable influence of Brisbane’s Asia Pacific Triennial (inaugurated in 1993) on the national scene, this turn to Australia’s neighboring regions feels so overdue that praising it here hardly seems justified.

Kataoka has named her iteration “Superposition: Equilibrium & Engagement”; the attendant curatorial rationale (presented in a stapled newsprint guide and online document in lieu of the usual glossy catalogue) adheres to the inflated yet anodyne worldviews of biennial curating. The term superposition refers to quantum theories of electrons existing in simultaneous states (as wave and as particle), which Kataoka has

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