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Albanian Pavilion explores the role of civic spaces through digital technology in Venice Biennale

Albania Architecture News - Apr 19, 2023 - 17:02   2115 views

Albanian Pavilion explores the role of civic spaces through digital technology in Venice Biennale

The Albanian Pavilion has shared the theme and details about its exhibition at the 18th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice Architecture Biennale 2023. 

Themed Untimely Meditations or: How We Learn to Live in Synthesized Realities, the exhibition of the Albanian Pavilion will investigate the role of civic spaces through digital technology and new tools.

Curated by Germany-based architects and heramarte founders Era Merkuri and Martin Gjoleka, the exhibitors include Tirana-based architect Ani Marku and Tirana-based 3D digital artist Geraldo Prendushi, together with the curators.

Aiming to introduce new typologies of civic spaces, the exhibition plans to emphasize the Anthropocene landscape through a holistic storytelling approach, repurposing the render engine as a medium.

The Albanian Pavilion's project was selected through a competition process organized by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Albania.

Albanian Pavilion explores the role of civic spaces through digital technology in Venice Biennale

Curator. Era Merkuri. Image courtesy of Albanian Pavilion

While the exhibition reinterrogates the meaning of renewal in civic spaces and the role of the architect as an enabling agent, it will unfold a virtual space odyssey that starts with a series of observations focusing two civic spaces in Tirana: an empty stadium and an artificial lake.

According to the curators, the two plots are currently facing obsolescence — and transcending to global issues such as digital transformation and ecology crisis.

The exhibition will focus on experimentations with possible human-environment-technology entanglements, while trying to unfold the various possibilities of occupancy happening in these civic spaces, where the architecture experience is amplified.

Albanian Pavilion explores the role of civic spaces through digital technology in Venice Biennale

Curator. Martin Gjoleka. Image courtesy of Albanian Pavilion

"The imagery becomes a device for selling a sanitized vision of a future lifestyle"

"But with every experiment, we realize that exposing these entanglements raises significant ethical questions about their implications," said the curators.

"To navigate the complexities of our speculative age, we utilize play and storytelling as speculative tools." 

"Our exhibition employs a wide array of digital media to showcase the transformative journey of digital technology: evolving from a simple computing machine to a design tool, to a medium of storytelling, and finally to an immersive experience that challenges our understanding," said the curators Era Merkuri and Martin Gjoleka.

The curators believe that in today's world, architects commonly use computer-generated imagery as a means of communication and has become an important tool of representation. According to them, this representation can also hide other facts it contains behind.

"Yet more often than not, the imagery becomes a device for selling a sanitized vision of a future lifestyle — a representation that masks rather than reveals," they explained.

Albanian Pavilion explores the role of civic spaces through digital technology in Venice Biennale

Untimely Meditations-a manmade lake that hosts life in all its forms. Image courtesy of Albanian Pavilion

Through this exhibition, the curators aim to repurpose the rendering engine as "a medium for holistic storytelling."

To achieve this, the team will create a doppelgänger, namely, a digital double, that has the potential to exist independently. By informing and influencing the physical world, new realities will emerge.

Albanian Pavilion explores the role of civic spaces through digital technology in Venice Biennale

Untimely Meditations-a stadium that can used with friends. Image courtesy of Albanian Pavilion

In response to the theme of The Laboratory of the Future, the exhibition will present a series of engaging meditations and activities that will span the entire six-month exhibition. 

To devise an active participation and engagement, the team, in collaboration with universities, will organize a range of workshops that build upon the exhibited work, adding new layers of depth and meaning to the pavilion. 

"Using the lake as an origin point, and the stadium as a reference point, this exercise will encourage the students to explore other sites in the city, and by the end of the exhibition, they will have produced an authentic and comprehensive map of the city," the team explained.

Activities and workshops will also be supported by a series of table talks with interdisciplinary experts such as cosmologists, philosophers, architects, planners, artists, policy makers, and anthropologists. 

In addition, dining lectures are planned to provide an insightful view of the exhibition, bringing together various fields of expertise to further enrich the process.

"By observing and mapping urban spaces, we question the boundary between the natural and artificial, drawing attention to the Anthropocene landscape we inhabit," the team added.

The goal of the exhibition is to propose and enhance the ways of living in synthesized realities.

Albanian Pavilion explores the role of civic spaces through digital technology in Venice Biennale

Untimely Meditations, a football stadium that exhibits infrastructure in the same manner as sport, 2023. Image © heramarte

Through its exhibition, the pavilion invites visitors to contemplate the possibilities and implications of the entanglements between humans, environment and technology in enabling psychic renewal of civic spaces. 

The pavilion's diverse range of workshops and table talks with experts from various fields offers an opportunity for visitors to engage and interact with the exhibition's showcased works, providing a deeper understanding and appreciation of the theme.

Collaborators include Klaus Kalemi, Erisa Nesimi, Eneida Berisha, Jorgjia Kallo, Loreta Kallo, Ana Zhibaj, Arla Xhixha, Dodo.al, Xander Wilhelm, Erland Muchasaj, Parallel Studio, Lola Vera, Klarita Ceka, Blerina Kanxha, and with Chair of Building Typologies and Design Basics, RWTH Aachen.

Program Partners are Universiteti Barleti, Fakulteti i Shkencave të Aplikuara dhe Industrive Kreative, Universiteti Polis, Fakulteti Ariktekturë dhe Dizajn. Exhibition is produced by Weexhibit SRL.

Albanian Pavilion explores the role of civic spaces through digital technology in Venice Biennale

Untimely Meditations, a laboratory for human interaction and gathering, 2023. Image © heramarte

The Venice Architecture Biennale 2023 will take place from Saturday 20 May to Sunday 26 November, 2023 at the Arsenale and Giardini venues.

The theme of the 18th Venice Architecture Biennale is The Laboratory of the Future curated by Lesley Lokko

Several pavilions announced their themes and details for the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale, such as Gabriela De Matos and Paulo Tavares were announced as the curators of the Brazilian Pavilion, the Danish Pavilion will explore Coastal Imaginaries curated by Josephine Michau.

More recently, the Korean Pavilion announced its theme, 2086: Together How?, the Austrian Pavilion presented its theme PARTECIPAZIONE / BETEILIGUNG, the Spanish Pavilion presented its theme Foodscapes at the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Polish Pavilion will present Datament, the Türkiye Pavilion will present Ghost Stories: The Carrier Bag Theory of Architecture

Moreover, the Bulgarian Pavilion will explore Education is the Movement from Darkness to Light and the Hungarian Pavilion will present Reziduum – The Frequency of Architecture at this year's biennale. 

Top image: Untimely Meditations, a carefully planned and continuously monitored forest that allows its ecosystem to evolve freely, 2023, Image © heramarte. 

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