The Venice Biennale has been a prestigious international cultural event since 1895, when it started as the International Art Exhibition. Different disciplines have been added over the years: Music, Cinema and Theater in the 1930s, the Architecture Exhibition in 1980, Dance in 1999.
In the latter half of 2010, the 12th International Architecture Exhibit showcased 48 participants: firms, architects, engineers and artists from around the world. This year’s theme entitled ‘People Meet in Architecture’ brought a wide variety of installations and exhibits.
Director Kazuyo Sejima explains,”Individuals will be showing their position towards the interaction of new social and natural environments; all of which means that each person is his or her own curator. This way the atmosphere of the exhibition itself will be achieved through multiple points of view rather than a single orientation.”
Below are a few of our favorite installations:
Spain’s Anton Garcia-Abril & Ensamble Studio explore tectonic relationships between 2 large steel beams, a heavy-duty spring and a large piece of stone. The placement of these structural elements on the diagnoal from the building’s original structure creates unusual spaces and encourages people to experience the 2 systems closely.
‘We have understood the whole arsenale as a theme of multiple counterpoint, where after the appearance of the original space, different voices occur around that theme, developed and carried in intervals, creating a complex compositional sequence, an architectural “fugue”, in which different spaces follow one another, and in which the dissonant balance of the ‘balancing act’ is just one chord.’ -ensamble studio.
German engineering firm Transsolar and Japan’s Tetsuo Kondo Architects collaborated to create an ethereal layering of the arsenale space. ‘Cloudscape’ is a series of ramps that invite visitors to experience the various levels of a mist cloud – below, through and above, with varying levels of visibility and humidity. The ramps’ locations between and around the existing columns create a voyage that heights one’s awareness of the heavy columns, the light-weight ramp and the cloud.
Crotia’s Floating Pavilion
A group of 14 Croatian architects collaborated to build an orthogonal mesh on top of a barge. The placement of the wires, similar to rebar used in concrete construction, creates a space that plays with one’s notion of materiality, transparency and density. Windows, doors, pathways are reinterpreted, as well as the sense of indoor and outdoor space.
Hylozoic Ground is a collaboration by Canadian architect and sculptor Philip Beesley, electrical engineer Dr. Rob Gorbet and British professor and artist Dr. Rachel Armstrong. Together they have created an environment made of plastics, chemical components and computer electronics that is eerily alive. Suspended from the ceiling, the feather-like appendages move, twitch and stretch out, blurring the lines between sculpture, robotics and space-making.
As the Fundacion Telefonica Jury described it,’The glass-like fragility of this artificial forest, built of an intricate lattice of small transparent acrylic tiles, is visually breathtaking. Its frond extremities arch uncannily towards those who venture into its midst, reaching out to stroke and be stroked like the feather or fur or hair of some mysterious animal.’
Your Split Second House
Danish artist Olafur Eliasson created an installation of light and water in a darkened space along a hallway bounded by brick columns. The streams of water twist as they fall, creating a spatial effect between the columns. The water seemingly dances, the strobe lighting creating freeze-framing of this dance.
Eliasson explains: ‘A split second is the space between two seconds. The gap between past and future; not just now, but part of now that is a void, seemingly frozen in time. In it, nothing changes. What might change is the way we relate to it.’
See videos of these projects in our Venice Videos blog from last week.
“The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life.”
- William Faulkner
Tags: Architectural Engineering, Balancing Act, Canadian Architecture, Cloudscape, Croatia Architecture, Denmark Architecture, Floating Architecture, Hylozoic, Hylozoic Ground, Karin Patriquin, Karin Patriquin New Haven, Natural Architecture, New Haven Architecture, Spanish Architecture, Venice Architecture, Venice Biennale, Venice Biennale 2010, World Architecture, Your Split Second House