Courtesy of Cornell University

The University plans to unfold exhibitions, artworks and performances throughout the duration of the fifth Cornell Biennial.

August 24, 2022

The Fifth Cornell Biennial Returns With NFT Artworks and Exhibit of Toilets

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Starting this Sunday, Cornellians should expect to see a display of edible fruiting crops emerging out of six toilet seats, which will be placed in the Rock Garden between Olive Tjaden Hall and Sibley Hall. This exhibition is organized and presented by Cornell Council for the Arts as part of the fifth Cornell Biennial.  

“We often avoid conversations around the wastes we generate,” wrote CCA in its event announcement. “We hope this installation helps envision the value of phosphorus and nitrogen to edible and nutritious plant growth in the excrement we flush away.”

This art project was put together by Matéa LeBeau ’22 and Isabella Culotta ’22 in an effort to encourage the audience to realize the potential of reclaiming human waste and using it in food production.

“We believe an art installation centered around human waste cycling can provoke viewers to see the potential of this initiative, and envision themselves functioning within it, without requiring an in-depth understanding of the scientific process,” CCA wrote.  

LeBeau and Culotta are two out of more than 30 artists CCA is working with to put together the Cornell Biennial, featuring artworks, installations and performances. In addition to Cornell artists, the 2022 Cornell Biennial invited 22 artists from 11 countries to collate Cornell-based art projects touching on topics including social justice, global warming, robotics, sustainable architecture, migration and labor.

“Particular to the ethos of the Cornell Biennial is its commitment to blending experimentation in the arts with the most recent research developments across the disciplines and campuses of Cornell,” said Timothy Murray, curator of Cornell Biennial. “The Biennial not only brings to campus a range of the most innovative projects in global arts but also champions how the inventive discourses of art can inform if not reshape how we understand social relations, ecological challenges, design recycling, engineering imaginaries and biological response.”

There are some new changes and additions being implemented for this year’s biennial. Joining forces with CCA, The Cherry Arts will be sponsoring a regional art competition in an effort to expand the scope of Cornell Biennial across upstate New York.  

In New York City, Cornell Tech is also participating in the Biennial and announced its plans to collaborate with Zhang Huan and Sui Jianguo to display non-fungible token artwork.

The biennial receives its funds from the Office of the Provost and multiple Cornell partners. The relevant artworks, exhibitions and performances are available on campus from April to November.