The Venice Architecture Biennale 2023 opened its door to the public on 20th May and shall remain open till 26th November 2023. The architecture festival has been curated by Ghanaian-Scottish academic, educator and best-selling novelist Lesley Lokko. He said, “Architects have a unique opportunity to put forward ambitious and creative ideas that help us imagine a more equitable and optimistic future in common.”
Organised by La Biennale di Venezia, the Venice Architecture Biennale is held at the Giardini, the Arsenale and Forte Marghera.
La Biennale di Venezia was founded in 1895 and is now one of the most famous and prestigious cultural organizations in the world. It supports research and promotion of new contemporary art trends, organising exhibitions and research in all its specific departments: Arts (1895), Architecture (1980), Cinema (1932), Dance (1999), Music (1930), and Theatre (1934).
Inside The Laboratory of the Future
The curated section of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2023, The Laboratory of the Future, takes place at the Central Pavilion, Giardini and caters to a wide range of topics. The exhibition is separated into six parts and includes 89 participants from across the globe.
The Adjaye Futures Lab features a field of physical models paired with narrative films. The selected projects showcase narratives that emerged outside of the dominant canon, such as the Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library and its precolonial inspiration, and the Edo Museum of West African Art/Creative District, which aims to reconstruct, resurrect, and reposition ancient Benin City as a powerhouse of cultural output.
Archive of the Future
Archive of the Future is a visual account of the processes, drawings, discussions, ideas, conversations, old arguments, propositions and new understandings that collectively brought this exhibition to life. The Laboratory of the Future, in fact, does not confirm directions, offer solutions, or deliver lessons. Instead, it is intended as a kind of rupture, an agent of change. Here, the exchange between the participant, exhibit and visitor is neither passive nor predetermined. The exchange is intended as reciprocal, a form of glorious, unpredictable exchange. Each of them is transformed by the encounter and also emboldened to go forward into another future.
Edgar’s Sheds by Studio Sean Canty is an installation loosely based on two sheds constructed by Canty’s great-grandfather Edgar in Eliot, South Carolina. One shed is a home of joy, belonging, and struggle. Contrarily, the other is a juke joint filled with smoke, rhythm, and blues. Just like Edgar’s sheds, complicated and contradictory impulses are everywhere in this installation. The symbolically over-scaled roof is the first act of sheltering. The tectonics are carefully accounted for and easily demountable for reuse. And then the cladding relaxes the precision of the plan and section. Additionally, its interior can be filled with sound or the quietness of its surroundings.
Threads by Kate Otten Architects
Threads by Kate Otten Architects connects to the golden thread of Johannesburg’s history. Some two billion years ago a massive meteorite crashed into the earth one hundred kilometres south of the city. Gold deposits were buried in seams deep below the surface, coming to rest in an arc-shaped ridge. The discovery of gold in 1886, and the gold rush that followed, in fact, led to the establishment of Johannesburg. This story is presented at Venice Architecture Biennale 2023 as a simultaneous, intuitive reading of landscape narrated by women. This is done through craft, weaving and other age-old traditions. Equally important, the materials used are natural, decomposable, and specific to South Africa. The play of light and shadow, the use of colour and pattern, and the hand-making and collaborative process all represent an architecture that is particular to a place and nurtures the human spirit.
64 countries organised their exhibitions in the historic Pavilions at the Giardini, Arsenale and in Venice. Some of the installations include Ball Theater from France, Same as it Ever Was from Croatia and Dancing Before the Moon from Great Britain.