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Statement from curators of participating countries Biennale Architettura 2021


For the first time in the Venice Architecture Biennale’s 40-year history, national pavilion curators around the globe are organizing in a spirit of togetherness and solidarity. The ongoing online dialogue, initiated May 23, 2020 by the Republic of Korea, has been joined by over 30 countries and the Biennale’s chief curator, Hashim Sarkis. The shared goal is to investigate new avenues for fulfilling the Biennale’s potential as a platform for synergistic, expansive, and accessible collaboration more suited to the challenges we all face in the age of COVID-19 and beyond. As the first manifestation of this undertaking, the curators of 33 Participating Countries of the 17th International Architecture Exhibition present the following joint statement:​

The 17th Biennale Architettura’s central question of “How will we live together?” takes on new significance as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaks unforeseen and unimaginable disruption across the globe. With lives and livelihoods at stake, we must re-evaluate how we think about our profession, our modes of collaboration and our built environment. The months ahead until the Biennale’s new 2021 opening present a unique opportunity for participating nations to form community, share information, and pursue possible joint efforts.

We, a growing group of national curators, have come together for the first time to initiate open dialogue. Moving forward, we commit to establishing a platform to share our exhibition content and investigate valuable correlations. We intend for this exchange to result in concrete collaborations and joint projects between nations which underline the communal goals and concerns of our shared profession. Our ultimate objective is the consolidation of this independent platform, securing a long-term open channel for continued exchange between curators and commissioners not just for the 2021 Biennale but for all future Venice Biennales.

We see this initiative as a step toward building a better Venice Architecture Biennale, emphasizing the role of discovery, understanding, and mutual exchange within the existing structure of an international contest that awards excellence. We seek to ignite this global event’s potential to become an active assembly, where the whole is more than the factual sum of its parts.

As we publish this statement on August 29th 2020, the Biennale’s first postponed opening date, we do not yet know exactly how these efforts will materialize. We have no doubt, however, that this is a necessary step forward for our profession in this new age.

Signatory National Pavilions / Curators
Armenia / Allen Sayegh
Belgium / Dirk Somers
Brazil / Alexandre Brasil, André Luiz Prado, Bruno Santa Cecilia, Carlos Alberto Maciel, Henrique Penha, Paula Zasnicoff
Canada / Thomas Balaban, David Theodore, Jennifer Thorogood
Croatia / Morana Matković
Denmark / Marianne Krogh
Dominican Republic / Roberta Semeraro, Jesus D’Alessandro, Alex Martinez Suarez, Lidia Leon Cabral
Great Britain / Madeleine Kessler, Manijeh Verghese
Grenada / Marco Ballarin, Stefano Tornieri, Massimo Triches
Hungary / Attila Róbert Csóka, Dániel Kovács, Szabolcs Molnár, Dávid Smiló
Ireland / Annex
Italy / Alessandro Melis
Iraq / Rashad Salim
Japan / Kozo Kadowaki
Korea / Hae-Won Shin
Lebanon / Hala Wardé, Fortuné Penniman
Luxembourg / Andrea Rumpf
Mexico / Natalia de la Rosa, Isadora Hastings, Mauricio Rocha, Elena Tudela
Montenegro / Svetlana K. Perovic
Netherlands / Francien van Westrenen
Nordic Countries / Martin Braathen
Pakistan / Sara M. Anwar, Madeeha Yasin Merchant
Peru / Felipe Ferrer
Philippines / Sudarshan V. Khadka Jr., Alexander Eriksson Furunes
Poland / Mirabela Jurczenko, Bartosz Kowal, Wojciech Mazan, Bartłomiej Poteralski, Rafał Śliwa, Robert Witczak
Portugal / depA architects, Carlos Azevedo, João Crisóstomo, Luís Sobral, Miguel Santos
Romania / Irina Meliță, Ștefan Simion, Ștefania Hîrleață, Radu Tîrcă, Cristi Bădescu
Serbia / Slobodan Jovic
Singapore / Puay-peng Ho, Thomas K. Kong, Simone Shu-Yeng Chung,Tomohisa Miyauchi, Sarah Ichioka, Joella Qingyi Kiu
Slovenia / Blaž Babnik Romaniuk, Martina Malešič, Asta Vrečko, Rastko Pečar
Spain / Sofía Piñero, Domingo González, Andrzej Gwizdala, Fernando Herrera
Turkey / Neyran Turan
USA / Paul Preissner, Paul Anderson

Published in e-flux Architecture 01.09.2020

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