Featuring twenty-five artists from across the country, the TarraWarra Biennial 2021: Slow Moving Waters responds to two related cues: the idea of slowness, and the gentle, measured flow of the nearby Birrarung (Yarra River). The exhibition’s title comes from the translation of the local Woiwurrung word ‘tarrawarra’, after which the Museum, and its surrounding area of Wurundjeri Country in the Yarra Valley are named.
Aligned with the unhurried arc of the river, Slow Moving Waters explores processes of deceleration, delay and the decompression of time, proposing a stay to the ever more rapid flows of people, commerce and information that characterise the dynamic of globalisation. Against today’s cult of speed, the artworks in the Biennial mark a different sort of time—one which connects with the vastness and intricacy of geological and cosmological cycles, seasonal rhythms, interconnected ecologies, and ancient knowledge systems.
The exhibition develops from the idea that between the acceleration of our current age and the impossibility of stopping altogether is a temporal space of possibility and resistance: slowing down. Through works which unfold conceptually, spatially, materially and temporally over the course of the exhibition, it seeks to heighten our awareness to the overlooked subtleties of the present.
Considering the broader arc of history against the pull of the accelerated now, the TarraWarra Biennial 2021 advances expansive relations to time that are grounded in both place and community, attentive to an idea of the present as a site of multiple durations, pasts and possible futures. At a time of untold disruption to the tempos and structures of contemporary life, Slow Moving Waters imagines alternative conceptions of time and how they might offer different ways of being in the world. Oriented around disturbances to the prevailing current, it harnesses the potential of slowness as both a passive and an active means for claiming different forms of agency, recognising that, from within the eddies of the river, new networks of solidarity, support and resistance can take hold.