Politics and Mechanics of Institutions

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thank you ippo

for having us here at the russian

pavilion in the venice architecture

finale

please tell us how general theme of the

vinale

is present here so the

open it’s the name of the russian

pavilion of the 17 architecture biennial

curated by ashin sarkis

and it’s a two year long exploration of

the role public role social relevance of

cultural institutions in times of global

crisis

within and beyond the venice biennium

and in a way given the context in which

we are we thought it was natural to

actually

start from dissecting the politics and

mechanics of institutions

and to start that from the pavilion

itself so

the object of open is the pavilion as

architecture and as institution

everything started in 2019 when we

launched an open call

to young russian architects we have

received multiple entries entries over

100

eventually the open call was won by a

russian japanese office called kazan

and then few months later through the

eruption of the pandemic

the banu was postponed and we brought

let’s say our project online

we wanted to keep our voice alive and

keep on reflecting on institutions

and use this year as a year of

reconstruction

and by doing that we found the testing

grounds to

in a way explore our journey and to

continue our journey

in the sort of in-between space or

nebulous space between the digital and

the physical

around the website that we launched a

community of

interdisciplinary thinkers and

practitioners

grew in parallel to the redefinition and

reconstruction of the architecture

in a way it was in this in between space

that we

gave a tentative answer to

the prompt of this year biennial how

will we live together

on the website we can find a very

diverse type of

content around the scene from djs to

architects to artists to

video game designers how was that

  "Architects need to be more connected to the world"

process of the open call how how wide

was it and what did you discover from

all the people that were

sending these ideas around the open

the open concept well the open call was

uh targeting the architectural

transformation

um what happened around the open call

when we migrated online is that we

wanted to

abandon the centrality of a single

disciplinary approach

we wanted to reflect on a temporality

that was different from the temporality

of a biennium so this is a project that

is not really about the specifics of

this biennium it’s actually projecting

itself into the future it’s an act of

reconstruction

basically and yes i mean the invitation

was open

when we invited people to contribute to

our digital platform

which became basically an editorial

platform in a way

we we wanted to engage a conversation

that would not be

stuck within the architectural discourse

but rather try to multiply the point of

views in order to understand

what a cultural institution can do in

the crisis

the multiple crisis that we are actually

living today and this is possible if you

involve

politicians artists architects curators

journalists

scientists djs technologies

and so forth it’s really difficult to

reduce the complexity of the moment to

one single

one single approach and the book that is

on show here

it’s in a way the echo of the

architectural project

the dialogue was really vast the book in

a way formalized that dialogue into a

product that is ready today

but it’s a dialogue that will continue

afterwards this is a project that will

extend

beyond this biennial and it will

continue into the next art by angle and

so forth

well also the project to

remodel the building is for the future

this this is a very

significant structure in the giardini

absolutely and

the concept of open that you know it

comes from your

your call how is it represented in the

  2021 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laurates

architecture that we find here

the architect who designed this building

alexey joseph the building was opened in

1914

conceived it as a sort of portal system

the idea was basically that this was

supposed to be

an architecture in dialogue with the

giardini the lagoon

definition ecosystem at large it was not

just looking

inward into itself not inward into the

biennial

but rather it was trying to establish a

connection

between the built environment people and

ecosystems alike

so what we did on one side was to open

back up all the windows and visual

connections that the pavilion was

actually

characterized of and then of course

because

things have changed and cultural

productions as hybridized and it’s much

more

let’s say complex and layered we have

turned the building

where we could into sort of theatrical

device something that can adapt to

different artistic and cultural needs so

there are two

double heights that can be established

or not

so two spaces that connect and

disconnect so it’s a building that poses

challenges for the future but as you say

this is a process of reconstruction that

is looking to the future editions of the

banyon but most importantly is looking

into

what a national pavilion can be in a

moment in which

cultural production is not necessarily

national any longer

70 percent of the people that

contributed to this project

either toward the architecture either to

the larger conversational line

are non-russians well also this pavilion

happens not in the middle of a pandemic

but of a global

need for change and it’s also a question

that has appeared in russia

it’s everywhere and do you think that

in the around the community from this

call with the content

is that represented somehow it is

definitely represented

the point of views are of course very

different

but we have addressed

this pavilion to a younger generation

  David Basulto and Varvara Melnikova

of let’s say architects

and ordinary architects in russia and

it’s a generation that is

looking with a lot of hope to

the future so to say

and to wrap up

what would you expect that the people

that come to visit this pavilion and

that also consume the content of the

ones

of the website live with in their minds

i mean i i try to explain this not as a

show but rather really as a reflection

on on institution per se and i think to

talk today about the

politics of institution in this moment

it’s an extremely crucial

question and to also to talk about it

within the cultural context

to reassert a form

of uh let’s say to reassert the politics

or to assert a political dimension

it’s it’s very important um uh if not

crucial

um what i think it’s what i think people

will take from this is that

eventually they will consider the

biennial

not just a temporary show

but that is something that can be built

on

let’s say more solid ground and

over a longer time span so to basically

position this project tries to position

itself

outside of this kind of bulimic rhythm

of content consumption

in a way and even our let’s say

jump into the digital environment is

part of the discussion we are not

interested

we were not interested in showcasing

live events

uh we were not interested to bring

quickly people around

a moment specifically but rather use a

game

as a platform for social and political

exchange

and the fact that the game happens

within the pavilion and its premises

is in a way acting makes it

almost like a digital counterpart or a

reincarnation of the same process that

we would like the pavilion

to enable in the physical

thank you thank you