Uzbekistan National pavilion at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia

Reading time: 10 min.

Dixit Algorizmi - The Garden of Knowledge

Preview: April 20–22, 2022

On View: April 23 – November 27, 2022

Location: Quarta Tesa (Arsenale)

The Art and Culture Development Foundation (ACDF) is pleased to announce the country's first participation in the Biennale Arte in Venice. Debuting at the 59th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, ACDF will present Dixit Algorizmi – The Garden of Knowledge, curated and designed by the architectural and research studio Space Caviar (Joseph Grima, Camilo Oliveira, Sofia Pia Belenky, Francesco Lupia) and Sheida Ghomashchi. The Uzbekistan National Pavilion will present a reflection on the seminal work of Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwārizmī, a scientist and polymath born and raised in the city of Khiva.

Dixit Algorizmi - The Garden of Knowledge sets out to question the origin myths and narratives surrounding modern technologies, using the lens of contemporary artistic practices to explore their forgotten roots and overlooked resonances with distant places, times, and cultures. The pavilion engages divergent interpretations of technology as a medium, acknowledging the depth and complexity of its history to be explored through an extensive public program.


“This is the second year we are participating at La Biennale di Venezia, and after a successful opening last year, we are coming back with new inspiring ideas and challenges to the world of contemporary art. We are proud that this year we can present our project through the legacy of the world-wide known figure of Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi, whose House of Wisdom had served as a platform for crucial scientific discoveries, and became the core of all subsequent works in the world of contemporary science. We are grateful to our curators, who could reinterpret the values of the great scholar through the prism of art and approach the questions that are so relevant today.” – Saida Mirziyoyeva, Deputy Chairwoman of the Council of the Art and Culture Development Foundation of the Republic of Uzbekistan.


“Al-Khwarizmi's work and heritage are a brilliant illustration of a complex and multilinear process that is a history of ideas. He is one of the most prominent scholars in the history of humankind, famous during his lifetime and legendary after his death, and yet we do not know much about him. We are very pleased that the theme chosen by the curator Cecilia Alemani correlates with the ideas and the current missions of the Foundation in the contemporary arts, as we aim to promote interdisciplinary approach in every aspect of our work. The exhibition will be accompanied by very deep academic and conceptual activities that will continue at the pavilion throughout the whole period of the Biennale. This year we invite great minds of the contemporary art world to join us in this artificial garden, the cultural hub inspired by the House of Wisdom of Al Khwarizmi and to be the part of our public program that will bring together important figures of the global contemporary art world and emerging artists and curators from Uzbekistan. The Uzbekistan Pavilion will host a series of panel talks, performances, and even an Uzbek traditional poetic duel. Our public program will provide a nurturing ground for Uzbek and global artists and curators, promote dialogue, and pave the way for future collaborations”. – Gayane Umerova, Executive Director of the Art and Culture Development Foundation of the Republic of Uzbekistan.


“Our intention is for the Uzbekistan National Pavilion to represent a departure from the classical paradigm of participation in the International Art Exhibition, according to which the pavilion is understood primarily as a container. Inspired by the environment within which al-Khwārizmī himself operated, we aim for the pavilion to become a space of the production of perception and the exchange of ideas — a ‘garden of knowledge,’ so to speak, in which heterogenous voices, from within and outside the field of artistic production, can converge and overlap. We conceive of this space as a place of meditation but also of composition, in which it is possible to question the greater order of things, and to consider the trajectory of the histories of art, science, technology, philosophy, and innovation from new perspectives. Throughout the course of the seven months of the Art Biennale, artists, scholars, historians, scientists, writers, and philosophers will be invited to address the possibility of alternative modernities, not so much attempting to replace the current image of modernity as to expand it in recognition of its deep origins — in distant, and unexpected, times and places.” – Joseph Grima, Space Caviar


The Garden of Knowledge:

Al-Khwārizmī’s most significant research took place at the House of Wisdom in Baghdad, international research and educational center. The House of Wisdom was a place of gathering and exchange and is widely assumed to have been centered around formal gardens planned in the Islamic tradition. During his tenure at House of Wisdom, al-Khwārizmī was instrumental in countless scientific activities that involved a wide-ranging group of scientists and intellectuals. The design of the Uzbekistan Pavilion will reference this tradition in its spatial arrangement, recasting the Islamic tradition of the garden as a place of gathering and exchange as a technologically augmented space of research, reflection, and experimentation. The gatherings and exchanges within the Garden of Knowledge will be structured in a public program scheduled for the biennale duration.

Running in parallel with the public program hosted in the pavilion, Velocity0, a sound installation by Uzbek musician Abror Zufarov and Paris- and Tokyo-based artist and composer Charli Tapp will serve as a materializing hub for a program of international composers, invited to experiment with Velocity0’s algorithm, through a dematerialized platform called The Program. In doing so, each participant’s input will output a unique generative score, ephemerally played until the next update, feeding a non-linear organic soundscape narrative. While the installation will serve as an endless algorithmic concert, its program will kick off with Transcode/Transmute: a series of intermittent performances based on the building blocks of the Shashmaqom’s centuries-old musical system.

Velocity - is an ever-evolving installation by the artist Charli Tapp in which, driven by a series of computerized processes, 88 electromagnets hit the keybed of a beat-down touring Yamaha CP80 Grand Piano. In 2021, Uzbek musician Abror Zufarov’s music met with the ghostly Neural Network composer during the exhibition Dixit Algorizmi (CCA, Uzbekistan), attempting to produce an infinite score based on the teachings and misunderstandings of its encounter.

Instagram: @uzbekistan_national_pavilion