More than two hundred artists from forty-one countries took part in the 2004 Gwangju Biennale. The exhibition introduced a new selection method: a Viewer-Participant system. Under the system, viewers were invited to participate as producers of art rather than traditional consumers of art. The methodology took viewer opinions into account, thereby democratizing art's operating practices, and also expanded the artistic canon, redefining while broadening its parameters. See the separate catalogue 2004 Gwangju Biennale.
With 'A Grain of Dust A Drop of Water' as its theme, the biennale aimed to create 'a basis for cultural discourse informed by Eastern philosophy' and to reflect the cultural origin of Korea. Kerry Brougher, the artistic director of the biennale, also commented, 'In some sense, dust and water are embedded in most every work of art, whether or not the elements appear in the work, for the cycle of creation and destruction is often at the core of the artist's creative efforts'.
The 2004 Gwangju Biennale was divided into four "Sites" and a large thematic exhibition called "A Grain of Dust, A Drop of Water". "The Sites" provided four on-the-spot projects based on viewers' input. The four projects were:
Venue: The Courtyard of the Biennale Hall
Curator: Sunghoon Lee
Participants: 8 artists from around the world
Venue: Education and PR Hall in Joongoe Park
Curator: Sukwon Chang
Participants: 30 artists from Korea
Venue: May 18 Liberty Park
Curator: Chankuk Park , Heeseung Jung
Participants: 36 artists (teams) from Korea
Venue: Gwangju Subway and Geumnamno 4-ga Station
Curator: Dongjo Chang
Participants: 29 artists (teams) from around the world
The catalogue includes prefaces by honorary chairman Kwangtae Park and chairman Pochun Kim and lists the board and staff of the 2004 Gwangju Biennale. The bulk of the catalogue is text (in Korean) and images on individual works and selected artists. English translations are only provided for essays on Site 2-4.
Other participating artists included: B. Edward Gottlieb, Peter Randall-Page, Thomas Eller, Jim Buckley, Daniel Ost.
A Grain of Dust A Drop of Water, 먼지한톨 물한방울