Seeing Stones and Spaces Beyond the Valley, 2nd edition of Biennale Warszawa, Warsaw, 03 June–17 July 2022

Curatorial team: Bartosz Frąckowiak, Anna Galas-Kosil, Paweł Wodziński

Architectural design: CENTRALA (Simone De Iacobis, Małgorzata Kuciewicz)

Project of visual identification and website: Jakub de Barbaro; cooperation: Mikołaj Hałabuda, Marta Kowalska, Alina Lysachkova


Design concept of the second edition of Biennale Warszawa

The exhibition entitled Seeing Stones and Spaces Beyond the Valley – the main event of the second edition of Biennale Warszawa 2022 – is devoted to relations between power, authoritarianism, capital, extractivism, and technology. This perspective is supplemented by the presentation of technological alternatives, prototypes, ideas, and speculative projects that enable us to imagine a more democratic and egalitarian future.

The name of the exhibition refers to the motif of palantíri – the seeing stones in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy. At the same time, Palantir is the name of a technological company founded in 2004 by Peter Thiel, a conservative lawyer and investor, which engages in advanced data analysis, mainly for the US government. The second part of the title alludes to Ramesh Srinivasan’s book Beyond the Valley: How Innovators around the World Are Overcoming Inequality and Creating the Technologies of Tomorrow. The author presents alternative solutions, objects, and prototypes serving as a potential counterbalance for the current technological model created and governed by private, monopolistic corporations in cooperation with political centres all over the world.

One part of the exhibition addresses the conservative ideology of Silicon Valley, the data transmission infrastructure, the materiality of technology, the state’s role in digital systems of surveillance and control, and the extractivism of resources and data. Meanwhile, the second part presents algorithmic, organisational, ecological, and infrastructural alternatives allowing to overcome the intertwinement between the authoritarian power and technology. 

An integral part of the exhibition is a public programme consisting of workshops, lectures, performative lectures, talks and debates.