Thoughts on Venice Architecture Biennale 2012

Curated on the theme of Common Ground by David Chipperfield, the Biennale was a bit scattered for me. Though, as a Martti pointed out, even when you remove all of the banal parts of the show the sheer volume of the Biennale leaves plenty to make up a decent exhibition of its own. We’re cursed by abundance.

Nevertheless, I struggled to find the linkages, the Common Ground that the curators hinted at in the opening room of the show. What links Norman Foster’s boom-boom room of glittery architecture and riot films to Peter Märkli’s collection of borrowed phallic sculptures? What does Urban Think Tank, Justin McGuirk, and Iwan Baan’s excellent Gran Horizonte cafe share with Zaha Hadid’s metal flowers and developmentally-challenged stingrays? FAT’s Museum of Copying was fantastic (best in show for me), and it shared something with Ines Weizman look into the copyright of Loos’ Baker House, but what links these two to the rest of the Arsenale?

Why do we feel compelled to claim a common ground if there is not much of one?

Instead I found two installations which spoke to the common ground which every practice involved with the show, and surely every visitor, can appreciate and truly share.

Free and open wifi:

And a healthy respect for fire safety:

1 Comment so far

  1. Krupa on January 26th, 2013

    I really have to agree with those things that you mentioned. No matter how grand everything featured in the exhibit were, they may not matter as much to the audience as having access to free internet while on the show.

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