A triennial is not simply an exhibition, but a multidisciplinary and performative event to engage global creators with real life where it takes place.

The title of the 5th Auckland Triennial, If you were to live here… is a trigger or starting point which aims to provoke and promote discussion about how contemporary art influences urban transformation and creates active, powerful, accidental opportunities for interaction between artists, visitors and Aucklanders.

Central to curator Hou Hanru’s project is the question of locale, or the idea of ‘here’. An ever-moving and evolving concept, to ‘live here’ does not simply mean to dwell here, but to play a role in the reinvention of an ever-changing ‘here’.

It is arguable that the myth of New Zealand as a distant and innocent land of promise is no longer sustainable in the age of global circulation of capital, ideas and people. The formation of a new nation and a contemporary, multi-cultural populace results from the co-existence in New Zealand of Māori and colonising Europeans, and later new immigrants from Pacific Island neighbours, Southeast Asia and further afield.

Focusing on the dynamic relationship between art, architecture and social change, the Triennial will inhabit the city of Auckland through collaboration with various sites and institutions to create projects in response to the specific context of Auckland and New Zealand today.

If you were to live here… prompts us to not only consider private space, but to reflect on the public sphere. Expanding opportunities for individuals to interact, share and exchange ideas and ideals gives rise to a locality relevant to our time that is built and sustained by creative exchanges, such as those fostered during the Triennial.

An open laboratory plays the role of a think tank or brain of collective intelligence, becoming a platform for public debate and forming a core element beyond the exhibition. To live here is to live with others to make a new ‘here’.

Inviting artists and contributors to imagine and answer the deceptively complex question, ‘If you were to live here…’, the 5th Auckland Triennial promotes debate about a basic but often ignored issue: the vocation of artistic production today in a world oscillating between crisis and opportunity. This will eventually contribute to revitalise urban life itself.

Hou Hanru
Curator, 5th Auckland Triennial