Devised by Creative Directors Anthony Burke and Gerard Reinmuth with TOKO Concept Design, the Australian Pavilion exhibition itself showcases six innovative architectural groups through a range of installations that challenge traditional perceptions of what it is to be an architect. Elena Collins met up with the two directors for a tour of the exhibition.
Anthony - We are interested in looking at the way architects are constituting new practices before looking at the work they actually do. Our focus is on how you make a practice and designing your own practice. Looking at this from a new point of view, you find new ideas to what architecture can be. It's a new approach, we get past the doom and gloom of the current financial situation, and it allows us to move forward and to open up space. Formations is made up of 6 teams and they all represent a version of that.
Describe the set-up of each project
Anthony - each team in the pavilion has a space with two panels: a description and diagram. These diagrams are the initial sketches that the teams submitted as part of their submissions. So originally we didn't ask for work but a diagram. Everyone had to describe their formation and the text describes what they think they can do which you couldn't normally do in architecture.
Gerard - the diagrams are like maps where architects are located in different constellations which represent things you couldn't usually do in a normal practice such an art piece or the radio show.
You mentioned opening up the space, how have you done that?
Gerard -we were originally going to do an all in one immersive piece but because of the formations idea and the practices are naturally outward looking and we found that the practice's all wanted to reach out and connect with people.
Gerard- five of the six practices's involved are using a major space outside the pavilion, so we explode out it. The foosball installation brings people together under the metaphor of sport but also it's about the space between the rivalries in international practices.
Anthony - The Architects Radio Show also broadcasts out of the Biennale to Melbourne and it gets picked up in many states in Australia.
Gerard - Whilst Richard Goodwin's installation focuses on how public space and private space in Venice are so separated. So he used the idea from the cartoon looney tunes, where you throw a black dot and then you climb through it into a new space. Richard used this idea to unite space together. He has a boat which is a Venetian water taxi with black fabric over it and he went round Venice putting up these black dots on certain buildings for either intuitive reasons or researched reasons. The piece involves taking passengers around on the boat to give them a tour of the space then he comes back to the pavilion, walks across the bridge and he comes across the zip line going through the last black dot back into the Australian pavilion. He maps Venice and by doing so puts the Australian pavilion at the centre of it. He specifically picked each building which is connected to the theme of bringing together public and private space in Venice. it's very conceptually and performance art.
Anthony - As well as the radio show, the performance art and foosball, we are holding flash talks around the city, where we ask 3-4 notable people a question and start quick spontaneous and dynamic conversation, giving the Biennale a platform in the evening.
What about the projects inside the pavilion?
Anthony -There is a complex robotically fabricated sculptural installation. The robot is exploring how does working in this way allow you to do different things and how new technologies change the way we design. There is a digital installation that showcases the futuristic urban vision of the Serbian city, Maribor by Fleur Watson and Tom Kovac. They took on Maribor as European city of Culture and the target is to propose different urban solutions and there is also Healthabitat, a team consulting local Venetians about ways to improve their homes, educating the public about connections between housing design and health issues. All these schemes offer new ideas, invite new debate and move the conversation forward.
To view more images regarding the Australian Pavilion, please click here.
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