Art Encounters 2017 lies at the intersection between an experimental art festival and a contemporary art biennial, and focuses on Romania’s cultural connections with its geographic neighbours. Entitled Life a User's Manual, the central exhibition curated by Ami Barak and Diana Marincu, will survey and compile fragments from everyday life, as seen in both current artistic practices and historical art projects from the 1960s onwards. The biennial has been developed through an extensive programme of curatorial research and will bring together a group of international artists who will engage in meaningful dialogues with the region’s artistic discourses and communities. The exhibition will be embedded across a wide range of cultural and public venues in Timisoara and Arad, and will highlight the ways in which artists reflect on many day-to-day realities that are now becoming increasingly unstable. Like in George Perec's novel, La vie mode d’emploi, the exhibition will present characters, situations and contexts – stories that span not only over a day, but also a lifetime. As the fluxus artist Robert Filliou said, “art is what makes life more interesting than art”. Alongside the main exhibition, Art Encounters 2017 will provide a close examination of the Romanian art scene by inviting a comprehensive selection of independent art organisations that provide critical support and opportunities for contemporary art in Romania. The biennial will seek to become a dynamic platform to engender cultural development and debate, both regionally and nationally, in ways that can help sustain emerging generations of Romanian artists.