The Ural Biennial is engaged in a constant process of examining industrialism, and considers this phenomenon from a new angle each time. The 5th Biennial explores the notion of results: what remains of industrial and art processes after their conclusion? A product? The outcome? Traces?

Reflecting on the question of what remains after us and whether it remains at all, the Biennial curatorial team selected the theme of “Immortality”. This admittedly broad topic need not be taken literally, but instead, should assist us to move in the appropriate general direction for reflection. The concept of “Immortality” makes it possible to move from a fairly literal discussion about the outcomes of production and the specifics of industrial processes that are concluded in mass-produced repetition, to the consideration of universal phenomena and broad concepts.

Out of the range of existing ideas about immortality, those that resonate with current artistic and research agendas have been selected for the Biennial — they also seem to tie in with the activities of curators involved in the 5th Ural Biennial.

The concept of digital immortality is one of the key areas that the Biennial investigates. Questions of how and why digital methods allow us to recover lost works, to create realistic models of spaces that one can never visit and so on are addressed. The curators have analyzed how the medium affects the message and vice versa — how experience is transmitted from generation to generation and why a written text can serve as a “ticket to eternity”.

Another important aspect of the broader topic is social immortality. How and why can works of art lay claim to “eternity”, and for what reason are they included in the great art canon, which is required knowledge for us all? Also, why does it turn out to be particularly difficult to bestow a status of timelessness to artwork in the contemporary context?

The connection between the concept of immortality and science and technology is also of interest. The futurological potential of this topic opens the door to multiple futures, where immortality seems to be the appropriate zenith of technological progress.

When we consider immortality, we become participants in an eternal conversation about time and space, about the place of man in any new, emerging or constructed reality and his right to a particular attitude to it. The discussion of immortality is a reason to talk about cultural memory, and about ways to keep human identity intact on the winding thread of life.

Immortality does not oppose death. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that in its totality, immortality is broken down into the totality of life and the totality of death. And here a natural question arises: how can we overcome not death, but immortality?