Elena Tavecchia: Despite often using the common figure of speech, I never thought what could literally happen when A Needle Walks into an Haystack, which is the title of this year’s Liverpool Biennial you co-curate, together with Anthony Huberman. How does this relate to the main focus of this year’s exhibition?
Mai Abu ElDahab: Titles are funny things when they are meant to encompass and reduce such a large project into a sound bite – usually they are meant to say something and nothing at the same time. What we chose was a title that itself would conjure an image and is able to start a story but still leave it open – it is also metaphorical, alludes to an agency and sets a tone but is still about an encounter that’s immediate and in terms that are recognizable. What’s central to the exhibition is the idea of scale, not only how influencing details are a way to effect the bigger picture but how is it possible to think about art’s ability to affect reality, if from the perspective of an individual artist or artwork. The show is not a demonstration of these ideas but a dense constellation of objects, thoughts and experiences operating on differing plains and through various avenues of possibility.