Venice Architecture Biennale 2021 review

Oliver Wainwright   /  Source:  The Guardian

A robotic arm twitches above a lumpy landscape of compacted earth, pock-marked with little hollows from which pink tufts of fungus emerge. This is an “ecosystem of empathy and coexistence”, a caption tells us, the fungal flora and mechanical limb living together in perfect harmony. Nearby, bubbling tanks of lurid green algae are apparently busy cultivating an “urban microbiome”, while a cloud of feathery acrylic creatures hover above a mysterious constellation of columns emitting an eerie hum.

Welcome to the Venice Architecture Biennale, pandemic edition, an exhibition as confusing as it is confused. All along the 300-metre length of the main exhibition in the city’s former rope-making factory, and filling every room of the labyrinthine central pavilion in the Giardini nearby, are installations attempting to answer the momentous curatorial question: “How will we live together?” In the current context of the climate emergency, changing family structures, the refugee crisis, political polarisation, the Black Lives Matter movement, and, now, Covid-19, the theme could not be more urgent. Yet very few participants seem willing to even attempt an answer.

“We can no longer wait for politicians to propose a path towards a better future,” declares this year’s curator, Hashim Sarkis, a Lebanese architect and dean of architecture and planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “As politics continue to divide and isolate, we can offer alternative ways of living together through architecture.”...

The Guardian: Venice Architecture Biennale 2021 review – a pick’n’mix of conceptual posturing

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