15 Biennale di Venezia. Aftermath Catalonia
The Institut Ramon Llull presents the collateral event Aftermath_Catalonia in Venice. Architecture beyond architects as part of the XV International Architecture Exhibition. The curators of the project are the architects Jaume Prat and Jelena Prokopljević and the lm director Isaki Lacuesta.
An Exchange Between Architecture and Cinema
Aftermath_Catalonia in Venice proposes an exchange between the languages of architecture and the cinema and sets out to unify the two disciplines in an installation by creating crossover narratives between the projects selected through visual, sound, material or conceptual connections. The subject of the project focuses on
the relation between works of Catalan architecture, explained through their daily use, and their surroundings in terms of their rootedness in the context, the structuring of the territory and the improvement of the quality of life they bring to the community. In accordance with the general theme of the Biennale, “Reporting from the front”, the project offers a social view of architecture and, through the audiovisual information, presents the new project strategies and the new dynamics of use created as a consequence of the time of economic and professional crisis of recent years.
The exhibition investigates the ways of explaining and displaying architecture and shuns the usual portrait of the “zero moment” (that ephemeral moment when the architects leave the building nished, but the users have not yet taken possession of it) of the architectural intervention. The aim has been to investigate and approach its value from the user’s point of view.
The works are projected on various translucent glass surfaces that re ect the complexity of the interactions between people, the architecture and the natural or urban landscape. The installation is most of all a sensorial experience addressed to a participatory and thoughtful visitor.
The exhibition consists of three elements designed for different moments of the visit: the exhibition proper, which recounts the life of the interventions, their successes and problems; the website, which allows the architects to speak: in a series of interviews they explain the intentions behind the projects and their way of thinking architecture. The website also provides access to a broad selection of graphic material related to the projects. The third element is the catalogue, which can be downloaded from the website, a textbook which, through a series of texts and interviews, explains the concepts that have inspired the investigation.
New Project Strategies and new Dynamics of Use
All the architecture projects shown at the exhibition are interventions with a marked public character, which integrate the natural, urban and human environment and extend the functionality of architecture to the creation of the common good. The works selected, which include a hospital, a car park, a theatre, a centre for distributing food to the poor and a natural space, were carried out or came into operation in the harshest period of the economic crisis, a time when certain needs —over others—and ways of doing related to architectural strategies sensitive to daily use, to the inhabitants and to the environment were crystallised.
The projects show that architecture responded effectively to certain speci c needs through common features, such as the improvement of connections between neighbourhoods, towns or landscapes,
the consequent increase in social value, the direct participation of the users in the creation of the centres and spaces, the optimisation of resources, the appreciation of the values of the community and the improvement of the conditions of use.
An Installation for a Participatory and Thoughtful Visitor
The lms are projected on translucent glass panels of various qualities and shapes, equipped with treatments that retain the image and minimise re ections and, in some cases, let through some part of the image in an attempt to break the spatial screen-spectator binomial. The atmosphere generated takes on meaning in its globality: a space in which images seem to oat, endowing the whole with a certain phantasmagorical character which unfolds before the spectator.
The other elements used (pieces of furniture produced specially for the exhibition, such as the Taulacreu, the Biennale chair and the Flexbrick ceramic walls) are complementary to the whole and play a part in the creation of routes or reflections, such as to darken the whole completely, leaving lit only by the light of the projectors and some background lighting adjusted and focused on the information about the projects.
The installations have been designed and arranged so that the spectator can have overall perspectives from any point of the route, bringing about an exchange between the different works selected.
It is not possible to see the whole installation and it is often not possible to see some complete individual ones, since the screens are arranged in such a way as
to make it impossible to perceive them all globally. That makes each visitor the last editor of the installation. The spectator becomes one more variable, bearing in mind the time of the visit: however much time we spend (from a few minutes to a few hours) we always take away some message.
“We wanted to visit the works one by one and lm them, night and day; we wanted to record them at all hours, as if Monet had formed an alliance with the Lumières to record the changes of light and of the lives of the citizens around Rouen. In short, we wanted the buildings to get fed up and leave before us.
And if they didn’t leave (they’re stubborn, buildings) at least we wanted to see the sun rise and set there, have dinner, walk, listen to the north wind and the sounds, go to the toilet, sing and take note of the route of each reverberation, spend enough time there to discover shapes.
Indeed, what we would like is to find in each of the works a point of view which the architects hadn’t yet discovered, and be able to offer it to them as a token of gratitude: make them a gift of an unnoticed chink in their own work”.