This two-day forum related to the core elements around which the 17th Biennale of Sydney – The Beauty of Distance: Songs of Survival in a Precarious Age – had been built. In it the question is asked: how can aesthetic values in different cultures be paradigmatic of qualities we all can recognise? This was amplified by artists presenting their own work. Moving between the ideas and language or pre-modernity, modernity and now, consider art's positive power and critical role, how this relates to different cutures, and how it has been used as a means of reinforcing or subverting ideas of materialism and property, or, alternatively, as an expression of non-material or metaphysical value.

Friday 14 May

Session I: 10 am Poverty, Freedom and Rights Enrique Chagoya, Amareswar Galla, Leah Gordon, Margaret Levi, Steven Loft

Session II: 1 pm Is It Smart To Be Materialist? Olga Egorova, David Elliott, Gonkar Gyatso, Fred Tomaselli

Session III : 3 pm History, Experience, Truth and Empathy Dana Claxton, Bruce W. Ferguson, Catriona Moore, Fiona Pardington, Teka Selman Read Bruce W. Ferguson's paper

Session IV : 4.30 pm Chto Delat: Tower Songspiel, Olga Egorova (presents a new work)

Saturday 15 May

Session I: 10 am First People, Diaspora and Fourth Worlds Brenda Croft, Claudio Dicochea, Ngahiraka Mason, Kent Monkman

Session II : 1 pm Communities, Commons, Copyright Dr Gerald McMaster, Eileen Simpson & Ben White, Megan Tamati-Quennell 

Session III : 2.30 pm Curating What? David A. Bailey MBE, Ekaterina Degot, David Elliott, Hu Fang, Simon Njami, James Putnam, Pier Luigi Tazzi

Session IV : 4.30 pm Nick Waterlow Memorial Lecture: Serenity And Terror In Vermeer, and After Lawrence Weschler

The 17th Biennale of Sydney Forum is organised in collaboration with the International Curators Forum; the University of Technology, Sydney; the United States Studies Centre; and the Faculty of Arts and The Power Institute Foundation for Art and Visual Culture, The University of Sydney.