The 21st Manifesta Logo

Dear Manifesta, future participants and future visitors,

What follows is an idea and may even remain one for some time. The 21st edition of Manifesta (the international art biennial) is scheduled for 2036—18 years from now. Since biennials occur every two years, there is theoretically no limit to how far into the future we can expect one to go on repeating for; yet, by the same token, no more than approximately two years can be dedicated to the actual curatorial preparation of any given edition. What if an art biennial had the grassroots support to take its time on the development of an edition, to be more fluid about who works on an edition and where it takes place? Would this make it possible for its social agency to be part of what it exhibits? Would this give us the time and space to explore how mutually dependent we are when it comes to creative freedom? Let’s take action by taking our time. Let's give ourselves the luxury of starting now. Let Manifesta 21 be proof that self-organization on a large scale is possible without mutual exploitation. The further into the future a collaboration ought to be sustained, the more those collaborating have agreed to learn about how everyone always has something to offer. How we work together in the long term involves who we are changing over time. Manifesta 21 is a shared objective in that it is capable of integrating our individual long-term objectives or that we have no long-term objectives or that one does not exist without the other. This proposal, in its public web-based form, documents for future readers the beginning of a proactive approach to the topic of the 21st century.