Archive for June, 2009

We’re Moving!

we’re moving!, originally uploaded by yusunkwon.

Much preferred this year’s art biennale over last year’s architecture showing. Not to be a broken record or anything, but seeing these two shows back-to-back demonstrated to me the lack of understanding that most architects seem to have of format.

The architects tended towards pavilions stuffed with hundreds of tiny things each invested with thousands of hours of work combined into a display of overwhelming masochism. All that effort for a throng that will never stop to investigate each piece with the level of attention it was made to capture. It’s just sad, really. Why treat the Biennale like a book or a symposium? Perhaps the crowning example of this were the video interviews interspersed throughout the Betsky-curated Arsenale. Does anyone really want to wade through a hall of spectacle to stop and listen to Thom Mayne talk about his theory of architecture? I am genuinely interested in what Mayne has to say, but not there.

For me, the best parts of last year’s architecture showing were those that treated the space as an installation like the Dutch and Japanese pavilions and the spaces in the Italian pavilion designed by Herzog & de Meuron, Jurgen Mayer, and Ball Nouges to name a few. These were simple, on the verge of one-liners, and designed — formatted — explicitly for the experience of the Biennale both in terms of site and time line. More like this next year, please.