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The Philippines Pavilion unfolds Bayanihan tradition of mutual support at Venice Biennale

Italy Architecture News - Jun 03, 2021 - 16:55   4054 views

The Philippines Pavilion unfolds Bayanihan tradition of mutual support at Venice Biennale

The Philippines Pavilion has presented an exhibition that invests in the process of building structures and spaces that will strengthen social relationships, reciprocity and cohesion at the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale which opened to the public on May 22 in Venice, Italy

Titled as Structures of Mutual Support, the exhibition is curated by Framework Collaborative (GK Enchanted Farm community and Architects Sudarshan Khadka, Jr. and Alexander Eriksson Furunes) and the Philippines Pavilion explores how the principles of mutual support can shape architecture by involving people directly in the determination of values embedded in it. 

The Philippines Pavilion unfolds Bayanihan tradition of mutual support at Venice Biennale

The theme of the Pavilion is based on Bayanihan, the Filipino tradition of mutual support, which allows members of communities to thrive and live together. 

"Throughout history, traditions of mutual support have enabled communities to live together in the face of adversities and crises. People have come together through a process built on social relationships, reciprocity, and communal solidarity," said the organizers. 

"Bayanihan, dugnad, talkoot, mutirão, gotong-royong, tequio are different names for such traditions around the world. These traditions predate the market economy and offer different perspectives on “How Will We Live Together?” and how we can discuss, reflect and act on this question collectively."

The Philippines Pavilion unfolds Bayanihan tradition of mutual support at Venice Biennale

Within the Pavilion, through a series of workshops, the community and architects planned, designed and built a community library and conflict-resolution space. 

"Much like bayanihan was used traditionally to move a house from one village to the other, the building has traveled to Venice for the duration of the exhibition before returning back home to the village," stated the organizers of the Pavilion.

In response to Hashim Sarkim's theme "How will we live together?", the curators reinterpreted the theme as how will we build together by "emphasizing the need for a shared sense of ownership and a stronger sense of belonging."

The Philippines Pavilion unfolds Bayanihan tradition of mutual support at Venice Biennale

While the exhibition critisizing architectural modes of production, it tackles with collective work and mutual support at the core of the theme of the pavilion as "alternative methods of building that challenge dominant discourses that shape architectural practice."

"Mutual support is a mechanism of self-organization that allows communities to thrive amidst adversity and crisis. It is rooted in empathy, care, and seeing one’s self in others," said the Philippines Pavilion. 

The Philippines Pavilion unfolds Bayanihan tradition of mutual support at Venice Biennale

"While bayanihan is unique to the Philippines, traditions of mutual support are observed around the world – such as the Irish meithal, the Norwegian dugnad, the Brasilian mutirao, and the Indonesian gotong-royong."

The Philippines Pavilion unfolds Bayanihan tradition of mutual support at Venice Biennale

The committee of the Philippines Pavilion also arranged a series of workshops in Angat and Bulacan, including carpenters, farmers, housewives and students evaluating the values of building structure together and to find a proper place to build the final structure.

As the organizers stated, "the design process and the project itself will become a platform to negotiate and discover structures of mutual support."

The Philippines Pavilion unfolds Bayanihan tradition of mutual support at Venice Biennale

For the duration of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2021, the library will be a place to collect stories and experiences of mutual support. 

The Philippines Pavilion invites visitors to share their experiences, memories or stories of mutual support to be featured in the library: Stories of Mutual Support.

The Philippines Pavilion unfolds Bayanihan tradition of mutual support at Venice Biennale

The curatorial concept of the Pavilion is rooted in the practice of the two architects Khadka and Furunes as well as the ongoing artistic PhD project “Learning from Bayanihan/Dugnad” (Alexander Eriksson Furunes, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 2016-21). 

The Philippines Pavilion unfolds Bayanihan tradition of mutual support at Venice Biennale

One of their projects is Streetlight Tagpuro, a post-disaster rebuilding project in Tacloban after super-typhoon Haiyan. 

The project won the Civic and Community Category and the Small Project of The Year Award at the World Architecture Festival 2017. Their practice has been nominated for the Architectural Review Emerging Architecture Awards 2021.

The Philippines Pavilion unfolds Bayanihan tradition of mutual support at Venice Biennale

The Philippines Pavilion unfolds Bayanihan tradition of mutual support at Venice Biennale

The Philippines Pavilion unfolds Bayanihan tradition of mutual support at Venice Biennale

The Philippines Pavilion unfolds Bayanihan tradition of mutual support at Venice Biennale

The Philippines Pavilion unfolds Bayanihan tradition of mutual support at Venice Biennale

The Philippines Pavilion unfolds Bayanihan tradition of mutual support at Venice Biennale

The Philippines Pavilion unfolds Bayanihan tradition of mutual support at Venice Biennale

The Philippines Pavilion unfolds Bayanihan tradition of mutual support at Venice Biennale

The 17th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice has opened to the public on 22 May 2021. The exhibition will be on view till 21 November 2021. 

This year’s architecture biennale is themed as "How will we live together?" by the curator Hashim Sarkis, the theme explores a widening context that helps architects to "imagine spaces in which we can generously live together".

We invite our readers to find out WAC's detailed coverage about the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale on our Italy page

Structures of Mutual Support exhibition facts

Commissioner: National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA)
Organization: The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Office of Deputy Speaker and Congresswoman Loren Legarda.
Curators: Framework Collaborative (members of GK Enchanted Farm and Architects Sudarshan Khadka, Jr. and Alexander Eriksson Furunes)

All images © Andrea Avezzù, courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia

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