The Mongolian Contemporary Art Support Association (MCASA) is collaborating with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports of Mongolia to present Mongolia’s third participation at the Venice Biennale. Curated by Gantuya Badamgarav, the Mongolia Pavilion will feature Los Angeles-based Mongolian artist Jantsankhorol Erdenebayar (Jantsa), and an interactive sound performance with throat singers, some from the National Philharmonic Orchestra, accompanied by famous German artist Carsten Nicolai, known as Alva Noto. The selected Mongolian throat singers include Ashit Nergui, Damdin Khadkhuu, Undarmaa Altangerel, Davaasuren Damjin, Bayarjargal Chimedtseren and Khosbayar Bayarsaikhan. The project was developed from Mongolia’s peculiar throat singing and long song traditions, part of the country’s centuries old intangible heritage and now registered as such by UNESCO. Practiced by Mongolian nomads for centuries, these traditions were used to communicate with the inner self as well as with nature.
The cross-disciplinary project for the Venice pavilion, titled “A Temporality”, transforms this singing tradition into contemporary form as experimental sound art and interactive sound performance. The project stems from the curator’s ambition to transform ancient mediums of oral expression into contemporary form, by inviting Jantsa to create sculptural installations that would interact with the space of the old Venetian palace where the pavilion is located. Jantsa has been interested in researching Mongolian tales, riddles and proverbs, as well as his ancestral mindsets. He investigates transformations of socially constructed taboos, rituals, superstitions and habits, ultimately trying to create a dialogue between the past and present. The installation in Venice will provide “a contemporary environment, where artists can interact with physical objects and spaces and perform emitting various sounds using techniques of traditional singing”.