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Pavilion of Turkey releases details for "The Shift" at Venice Architecture Biennale 2018

Turkey - May 17, 2018 - 07:55   2054 views

The Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) has released details for the Pavilion of Turkey curated by Kerem Piker, the founder of Kerem Piker Architecture (KPM). The Turkey Pavilion will exhibit "The Shift" at this year's Venice Architecture Biennale, taking place from May 26 to November 25 2018 at the Arsenale and the Giardini. This year's theme will explore "Freespace" curated by Irish architects Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara.

Piker's theme, The Shift/Vardiya, follows an atypical architectural discourse compared to other installations or projects that are set to be exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale. 

Kerem Piker, curator of the Shift at the Pavilion of Turkey for the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale

Tackling the essence of the biennale's theme "Freespace" directly or indirectly, or both analogically or metaphorically, the Pavilion doesn't feature a unique installation or a series of exhibition objects. Instead, it focuses on the process of production through which architecture is studied collectively and experimentally with many students and professionals coming from different disciplines from around the world.

Developed with co-curators Cansu Cürgen, Erdem Tüzün, Nizam Onur Sönmez, Yağız Söylev and Yelta Köm, the Shift's will provide an open and freespace for a series of public events at the Pavilion of Turkey at the Arsenale, to allow free encounter, exhibition and production.

The Shift is envisioned to be a hotspot for various workshops, roundtable discussions and informal meetings, welcoming over a hundred international students of architecture, tens of tutors, guest professionals, keynote speakers and visitors while inviting all to a continuous learning and production process throughout the twenty-five weeks of the biennial.

The whole organization of the program takes students of architecture into frontline by an international open call. Having received 500 applicants so far, the participants were asked to respond some selected major questions to discuss the theme of the Shift: "Why does biennial exist? What does the biennial do? For whom does the biennial exist?", and shortlisted participants invite visitors and guests to think on the purpose and role of the biennials through their video installations.

Along with the outcomes of this open call, students were encouraged to be active producers of the evolving exhibition content in the pavilion through workshops with a variety of contributing actors.

The Pavilion of Turkey stated that 452 students from 29 different countries and 70 cities from USA to China, India to Costa Rica applied for the project. 80% of the applicants were undergraduate students and 20% were graduate students; 70% of the applicants were female and 30% were male, which were all explained info graphics.

Out of these applicants, 122 international architecture students were invited to visit the Pavilion of Turkey in weekly shifts as active producers of the evolving exhibition content. These students are currently studying at universities such as Cornell, Columbia, Cape Town, Harvard, Princeton, Rice, Rhode Island School of Design, Pratt, Politecnico di Milano, Sri Venkateswara, Sumatera Institute of Technology, Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University and Yale, as well as Çukurova, Dokuz Eylül, Erciyes, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts, Istanbul Techincal University, Mardin Artuklu and Middle East Technical University in Turkey.

The programme will start with video installations, through which participating students question the purpose and role of the biennial; 12 workshops run by invited professionals and student groups, focusing on a variety of topics; around 50 digital meetings, with participants from a range of disciplines; and six lectures by keynote speakers, including an international roster of leading architects.

"Vardiya / the Shift is aimed to solicit a critical dialogue amongst invited guests, visitors and architecture and design professionals around the role of the biennial," stated in a description of the theme. 

"In addition to creating a space for all parties to benefit from this opportunity of interplay, the Pavilion of Turkey hopes to incorporate individual and collective experiments from young creative minds into the locus of contemporary architectural agendum."

Participants of the Shift at the Pavilion of Turkey

The Pavilion of Turkey opened its first exhibition at the 14th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2014 for the first time, upon a 20-year allotment of the Arsenale with İKSV’s initiation and the contribution of 21 supporters.

The Pavilion of Turkey can be visited at the Sale d’Armi, Arsenale, one of the main venues of the biennale. It will officially debut at the press preview between May 24-25, 2018.

All graphics © KPM, courtesy of IKSV

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