This book accompanies the 10th edition of Liverpool Biennial 2018. The artistic concept and title for this year’s edition, ‘Beautiful world, where are you?’, derives from a 1788 poem by the German poet Friedrich Schiller, later set to music by Austrian composer Franz Schubert in 1819. The years between the composition of Schiller’s poem and Schubert’s song saw great upheaval and profound change in Europe, from the French Revolution to the fall of the Napoleonic Empire. Today the poem continues to suggest a world gripped by deep uncertainty; a world of social, political and environmental turmoil. It can be seen as a lament, but also as an invitation to reconsider our past, advancing a new sense of beauty that might be shared in a more equitable way.

The book includes a selection of texts and contributions from artists, curators, writers, thinkers, scientists and sociologists who will be invited to respond creatively to the Biennial’s title. As well as being published in the event of the Biennial, it will also function as a standalone publication giving a snapshot of a particular moment in time.