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Words Laura Bannister
Photography Charles Dennington
Art direction Matthew Roland Bannister

Permanent diplomatic mission

There are many curious ways to fill a day. Shopping for synthetic wigs. Cold calling strangers. Rearranging various objects in your home according to colour, height and date of acquisition. The following photographs are records of another option—not always available to the public but possible for anyone to replicate, at least in part, with the assistance of hired actors.

For one full day, just before the Biennale of Sydney’s official opening, Charlie Dennington rushed around documenting it with other cameramen: news guys with swinging backpacks and patched-up gear and boom mics and black sneakers; journalists from various places (mostly art magazines), swathed in the requisite black Comme and its associated regalia. Dennington got on boats and buses with an impatient media pack, moving from site to site across the city: all of them notebooks out, sizing-up works, making notes, pushing forward. He travelled between public institutions and visual arts centres and former convict penal establishments, documenting artists alongside old and new work.

The 20th Biennale of Sydney runs until 5 June 2016.

This year’s biennale (The Future is Already Here—It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed) has been curated by The Hayward’s Stephanie Rosenthal. There are seven sites, split into embassies of thought, and they’re designed to be fugacious sorts of places, temporal homes for talking and collecting thoughts. (“These embassies … are really about no borders,” Rosenthal told the crowd.) More than 200 artworks have been specially commissioned, and many sprawl outwards, to venues across the inner west region. Below, on that high-stimulation, go-go-go day, is what Dennington saw.

Chiharu Shiota

Chiharu Shiota

Taro Shinoda

Taro Shinoda

Miguel Ángel Rojas

Miguel Ángel Rojas

Gerald Machona

Gerald Machona

Mella Jaarsma

Mella Jaarsma

Museum_CD_Biennale_MirzaButler_1

Karen Mirza and Brad Butler

Daniel Boyd

Daniel Boyd

Neha Choski

Neha Choski

Left

Daniel Boyd. Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia

Right

Daniel Boyd. Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia

Left

Karen Mirza and Brad Butler, Hold Your Ground, 2012, HD video, 7:57 mins. Artspace

Right

Karen Mirza and Brad Butler, You are the Prime Minister, 2014, neon, 200 cm. Artspace

Left

Mirza Butler. Ground floor, Artspace

Right

Miguel Ángel Rojas. Cockatoo Island

Left

Nina Beier, Allegory of Peace and Happiness of the State, 2015, ceramic cup, coffee beans, resin, wood and metal. 40 x 35 x 37 cm. Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia

Right

Neha Choksi in collaboration with Alice Cummins, In Memory of the Last Sunset. Carriageworks

Left

Mella Jaarsma, Dogwalk, 2015-16, leather, stuffed cow and goat hooves, multi-channel video. Art Gallery of New South Wales

Right

Taro Shinoda, Abstraction of Confusion, 2016, clay, pigment, ochre, tatami mats. Art Gallery of New South Wales

Right

Gerald Machona, Flagging the Nation, 2012, decommissioned currency. Carriageworks

Left

Gerald Machona, Uri Afronaut, 2012, decommissioned currencies, foam, fabric, wood, perspex, rubber, nylon. Carriageworks

Right

Chiharu Shiota, Conscious Sleep. Cockatoo Island

Left

Chiharu Shiota, Conscious Sleep. Cockatoo Island

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