Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Venice: 14th International Architecture Biennale – Fundamentals - Arsenale – Mondo Italia.

Venice: 14th International Architecture Biennale – Fundamentals.

Arsenale – Mondo Italia. The 14th International Architecture Biennale,entitled Fundamentals is directed by Rem Koolhaas and chaired by Paolo Baratta, it is open to the public through November 23.  Rem Koolhaas describes Fundamentals as an exhibition that consists of three main components: Absorbing Modernity 1914-2014 in the National Pavilions, Elements of Architecture in the Central Pavilion and Monditalia in the Arsenale. “In a moment of crucial political change, we decided to look at Italy as a “fundamental” country, completely unique but also emblematic of a global situation where many countries are balancing between chaos and a realization of their full potential. The Arsenale presents a scan of Italy, established by 82 films, 41 architectural projects, and a merger of architecture with la biennale’s dance, music, theatre, and film sections. Each project in Monditalia concerns unique and specific conditions but together form a comprehensive portrait of the host country.” Writes Koolhaas.

Mondoitalia. Special Mention – Intermundia – Lampedusa – Ana Dana Beros. Echoing the ongoing tragedy of Lampedusa, the project evokes, with new documentation and through an immersive experience, the reality of migration and border-crossing from the South to the North as a defining element of today's European societies.

 photo by Francesco Galli - courtesy la Biennale di Venezia
 Intermundia – Ana Dana Beros

  photo by Francesco Galli - courtesy la Biennale di Venezia

Seen at the Arsenale William Sawaya and Paolo Moroni

Mondoitalia. Italian Ghosts - Bengasi - DAAR.  DAAR's (Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency) "Italian Ghosts" about Italy's "colonization, decolonization, and revolution" in Libya. The confessional form references Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's 2008 apology for 30 years of Italy's military occupation. In a peace agreement signed in Benghazi at the time of the apology/confession, Italy agreed to pay Libya billions of Euros in exchange for Libya cracking down on illegal immigrants venturing to Italy.

Mondoitalia – Legible Pompei – Pompei - Lucia Allais, MOS. “A global archaeological laboratory, a city half-buried in a mound of lava, a sinkhole for cultural funds, a cipher for Italy’s cultural disarray, Pompeii is all of these things, but it is also a testing ground for preservation theories and practices. Since the Enlightenment, every mission to ‘discover’ the city has been followed by the invention of techniques to repair and stabilize it. The installation describes and performs the problem of preserving Pompeii. The Data Fresco diagrams the history of Pompeiian conservation experiments in order to make the site legible to the visitor again. The Souvenir Pile offers ersatz Pompeiian matter, cast in resin blocks, to the Biennale public, as a material record of the site and a souvenir of the Italian cultural experience.” Storefront for Art and Architecture.


Mondoitalia – All the Roads Lead to Rome. Yes, but Where Exactly – Roma - Teresa Cos. Piazza del Campidoglio is not the center as any other, it is “The Center” by definition.  It is Italy’s Kilometro Zero, and as such its conveniently designated point of gravity.  At the same time it is a place where emblematic events juxtapose in space and time within a dispersed network of relations.  This apparent contradiction, which becomes exemplary if we search “The Center” through the Wikipedia, epitomizes the limits, which spring from the norm, by showing the impossibility to reduce history and national identity into categories that fail to map “a complexity”, where the particular is always the universal.

 All the Roads Lead to Rome. Yes, but Where Exactly


Mondoitalia – Superstudio, The Secret Life of the Continuous Monument – Florence - Gabriele Mastrigli.  Founded in Florence in 1966, Superstudio were one of the neo Avant-garde groups that formulated the most severe critical response to the Modern Movement’s claim of redemption.  However, through the metaphysical dryness of its projects, Superastudio advance towards the most symbolic and ultimate measure of architecture:  to dissolve under the drops of time.  As La moglie di Lot declares: “Architecture exists in time as salt exists in water.”  The only possible architecture, then, is our own life.

 Superstudio, The Secret Life of the Continuous Monument

Seen in the Arsenale MoMa’s Paola Antonelli

Mondoitalia – The Business of People – Torino - Ramak Fazel.  As a measure of the wealth of a nation, industry is kept under constant observation.  The monitoring detects changes in a number of economic indicators that make it possible to “photograph” the situation at any given moment.  These “photographs” however create an environment where individuals recede into the background, so much so that it almost seems uninhibited territory.   The Business of People explores how to communicate with the actors of the “photograph” displayed by the data matrix.  Rather than taking the unified vision of an aerial view, this project focuses on the pixels of the “photograph”, a mosaic of fragmented images from which industry, labor, emerges as a reflection of the human condition. 

 The Business of People 

Mondoitalia – Il Deserto Rosso - 1964 – Michelangelo Antonioni/ Ravenna

Mondoitalia – 8 ½ - 1963 – Federico Fellini/Terme di Chianciano and Montecatini

Mondoitalia – L’Ombrellone – 1965 – Dino Risi/Rimini

Designboom’s Brigit Lohmann and Massimo Mini

 Mondoitalia – The Tomorrow – Amos Gitai and Stefano Boeri. The Tomorrow is a journal about the future.  It is made of two things: a public calendar and a public conversation made of letters.  The calendar and the letters are tools to reflect on the times, the spaces and the language of the contemporary and polycentric European metropolis.


Mondoitalia – Dance. Dance, Music, Theatre and Cinema with the programs of the directors of the respective Biennales; Virgilio Sieni, Ivan Fedele, Àlex Rigola and Alberto Barbera participate in the life of the Mondoitalia section, with debates and seminars for the six-month duration of the exhibition.

Mondoitalia – Effimero: or the Postmodern Italian Condition – Venezia – Lea-Catherina Szacka. Between the late 1970s and the end of the 1980s, Italy experienced a proliferation of events using ephemeral structures as a response to the socio-political turmoil of the previous decade known as the anni di piombo (literally, the years of lead).  The utopian spaces of the theater, the performing arts, and other forms of entertainment became catalysts for a collective imagination while giving rise to new ideas of spectacle.  Effimero is both an archive documenting five study cases of ephemeral architecture, and an installation designed as a reminder of those collective spatial experiences.

Art directors and designers of the Effimero exhibition; U67 Angela Gigliotti and Fabio Gigone


Mondoitalia – Immediate Surroundings. Residences of Italian Mafia Organizations – Milano – Tommaso Bonaventura, Alessandro Imbriaco, Fabio Severo. Immediate Surroundings is a photographic documentation of the places of residence of the members of mafia organizations, past and present: the streets and buildings of the neighborhoods in which they lived or still live, the views from their homes confiscated over the years. The diversity of places reveals the evolution of the practice of criminal groups, such as the suit land and the manufacturing that have colonized, as they choose to show or hide in anonymity.  The map of these residences tells a widespread and diverse geography, crosses the past and the present of the Mafia hierarchy, puts in front of a colonization is no longer limited to certain regions, now spread over most of the country.

Seen at the Arsenale Sahir Erozan, Marina Pahomova and Angelo Bucarelli

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