The title, After Rain, opens up a moment of revitalization and renewal, introducing the 2024 Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale as a nurturing entity, filled with life, while acknowledging the necessity of water for all forms of life that dwell and seek shelter on our planet. Unfolding as a combination of practices such as inhabiting, cultivating, harvesting, searching, and sharing, this Biennale presents works that engage with the human-nature continuum, examine the built environment, observe the state of our surrounding landscapes, recount histories, and encourage us to listen more closely. Conceived as a vital entity rather than a static framework, the Biennale welcomes processes, dialogues, performances, and communal meals. The Biennale is a process shaped by first-time meetings and collaborations.
After Rain is a scent that comes from the ground. Moments before it rains—and lingering on well after—a pleasant, earthy odor permeates the air. The smell emanates from a combination of bacteria and plant oils that have accumulated in the rocks and ground during dry periods. During rain, moisture activates the bacteria to produce chemicals (geosemins) to which our noses are extremely sensitive. These, together with plant oils, are carried by the spray of splattering raindrops and the winds. Petrichor is the word scientists have coined for this familiar, luxuriant smell. The Biennale is a multi-sensory experience.
After Rain is an artistic exploration and also a conversation with scientists, architects, researchers, planners, philosophers, writers, and poets, engaging a transgenerational and multinational composition of “caretakers.” All of them shape the experience of this edition through its configuration, its dramaturgy, the knowledge each contribution brings, and the way these are communicated. Our aim with this endeavor is to create spaces of transformative encounters and exchange—spaces in which different types of knowledge foster conversations between diverse communities.