Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Edited by Sinéad McCarthy

‘Such energy and dynamism … demands [to] be seen’ — Telegraph
‘Many highlights’ — Observer
‘Invigorating’ — Times

Published on the occasion of the tenth edition of Liverpool Biennial, this book reflects on the timely question Beautiful world, where are you? It is derived from a 1788 poem by the German poet Friedrich von 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.

Featuring contributions from a range of disciplines and presenting a diversity of perspectives on the theme, the book includes contributions from the artists in the Biennial, as well as writers, ecologists, musicians, poets, scientists, journalists and political commentators from around the world. It considers the international nature of both Liverpool and the Biennial and presents images of historical artefacts from the city’s rich collections. Addressing urgent issues such as gender and racial inequality, conservation, extinction, education, resource extraction, indigeneity and post-colonialism, while articulating alternatives and new possibilities, this book captures a moment in time and an expression of hope for the future.

Sinéad McCarthy is Curator at Liverpool Biennial