Which Date? Share Your Ideas for a Liverpool Biennial 2016 Episode

Posted on 21 July 2015 by Liverpool Biennial

The Liverpool Biennial 2016 exhibition will take the form of a number of episodes. One episode will take its cue from a specific date, which lasts for the whole 14 weeks of the Biennial. The chosen date will shape the content of this exhibition-cum-episode, as the artists we invite will have the chance to respond to its significance. We asked members of the public to bring their proposals and join our curatorial team in an open discussion to help us decide. With reoccurring themes of TV and film, lost time of the past and futures unknown - read on to see some of the fantastic ideas brought to the table so far or watch the full video.

Feel inspired by any of these proposals? Let us know which, or alternatively, submit an idea of your own! Use the comment section below and provide a date with a clear rationale. The discussion will be kept open to suggestions until the date of our curators' final decision on Friday 18 September.

Which Date: Open Discussion from Liverpool Biennial on Vimeo

Lost Time

John Flamsteed,  Ophiuchus & Serpens, London 1728

30 November: The Missing Zodiac Sign
There are 12 signs of the zodiac described in accordance with patterns of the sun - the corresponding dates of each sign were fixed over 2000 years ago. Yet, astronomers are aware of a 13th sign, thought to have been deliberately removed because of the difficulty in dividing the 360 degree path of the sun in a mathematically pleasing way. So what happens to the 19 days of Ophiuchus, the missing sign, as time continues to ignore it?

3 - 13 September 1752: The Lost Dates
The original British calendar lost Britain 11 minutes a year, resulting in the need for Britain to catch up with the rest of Europe. Hence, on 2 September 1752, the British calendar changed to the Gregorian calendar and lost 11 days of that year as a result. The public were furious, demanding their days back - some people were even scared they would lose wages. If those days had existed, what would have happened? If you chose 11 days to lose, what would they be? 


Van Gogh style painting of Tardis exploding from Dr Who episode "The Pandorica Opens"

26 June 2010: Cracks in Space and Time
In the final episode of the fifth season of sci-fi TV series Dr Who, the tardis explodes, creating cracks in time. The episode, titled "The Big Bang", was aired on 26 June 2010, and contains a Van Gogh style painting of the tardis explosion, which is passed through time by different characters - ending up in the hands of Dr Who. The idea being that time, particularly in the context of a TV series, is calculated to create one moment of unity. Usually, this is the series finale - a concluding episode that ties all previous narratives together. 

21 March 1980: Who shot JR?
In an episode aired on 21 November 1980, ruthless oil tycoon J.R. Erwing of TV show Dallas was shot, a mystery left unresolved for 8 months until the fictional culprit was named on 22 November. 83 million people tuned in to watch this episode, which is more than the number of people who voted in the election that year. This idea highlights the powerful potential of television as an immersive world of it's own, and how the importance of on-screen politics exceeds, for many, the politics of the 'real' world. 


Emese Benczùr, Thinking About The Future, 2010. Photograph by Thierry Bal

17 July 1982: Futurist Cinema
The final film shown at the Futurist Cinema, Liverpool, was Blazing Saddles on 17 July 1982. 

29 January 1998: ABC Cinema
Similarly, the last film to be shown at the ABC Cinema, also in Liverpool, was Casablanca on 29 January 1998.

With the closure of these two cinemas amongst many more, not only in Liverpool but nationally, combined with less people frequenting cinemas than ever before, perhaps these dates become important in the trajectory of Cinema in the UK. When did all of these cinemas close and what were the last viewings on their screens? Has the cinema become a site of nostalgia? To address these questions, would it be interesting to host a film festival of these 'last films'?

The Date Before

Markus Kahre, No title, 2012. Photograph by Jerry Hardman-Jones

10 September 2001: The day before significant event
Is there any truth in the old saying 'The calm before the storm'? This idea asks what happens the day before or after a significant date, in the spaces of anticipation or aftermath? 'The Arbitrary Date', then, asks us to choose to focus our perspective from the past, or from the future. 

6pm, 22 October 4004 BC: The day before creation
Based on the times of Biblical events, 17th century scholar James Ussher calculated that this date was the exact time of creation, the finishing time. Given that so much of our cultural narratives begin from this point, the creation of Adam and Eve, what would it be like to ask artists to create imagined works from before this named date? 

Parameters of Time

On Kawara, canvases from the 'Today Series', 1966 - 2014

4 January 1966: On Kawara's Paintings
On Kawara was a Japanese conceptual artist who began making paintings on 4 January 1966, and continued to produce them every day until his death in 2014. The works were produced according to a strict sense of parameters: each was painted during the course of a single day (any work not completed in that time was destroyed), and each painting rendered in one of eight possible sizes and three possible colours - red, blue or grey. How can we use time as a rule or limit, and how do other elements correspond with this notion?

31 August / 1 September 1990: Time Twins
Twins born an hour apart, which slipped over into another calendar day. Consequently, although biological twins, they were placed in different school years, and approach different stages of their lives separately.