This year’s Croatian pavilion at the 13th International Venice Architecture Exhibition presents different struggles currently taking place in various Croatian cities. The exhibition, Unmediated Democracy demands Unmediated Space, interprets the topic of common ground by directly asking the protagonists of those collective conflicts how they imagine a common future across and beyond market or state, private or public mediation. The “desires, constrains and potentials expressed in these sites of conflict” are a part of the wider wave of international protests that are demanding a real direct and unmediated democracy. The demands, gathered on the ground through a series of investigative interviews, form the basis for a possible planning strategy, while their resistance tactics become patterns that could shape a common territory.
The Croatian pavilion focuses on how these demands could allow us to imagine the configuration of possible unmediated spaces. It is organized around three sections: Context, Map and Devices.
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The core of the pavilion is shaped by the pulsating images projected through a series of parallel screens that depict the atmosphere of different moments of revolt. A video installation, created by Igor Bezinović and Hrvoslava Brkušić, deploys the actual events of the dramatic struggles taking place in different cities throughout Croatia of which some has been documented by the protagonists themselves. The context is additionally described through Siniša Labrović’s performance at the very same places of struggle, and Pulska grupa’s videos.
Embedded in this conflictual environment, the exhibition features models of potential devices and a map of collective demands, tactics and practices, together with Boris Cvjetanović’s photographs found among the projections. The visitors are welcomed to enter in this contextual representation and navigate around the screens and voids, finding their way across the rhythm of protests.
The interconnections between different labour conflicts and struggles for democratic management of public space are represented in the map as an assemblage of the cities where these conflicts are taking place, negating their real geographical distance and consolidating a specific field of action. Years of collaboration have created a network where the various actors of the different struggles are cooperating, supporting each other, exchanging tactics and sharing experiences. These connections bridge the distance between them, comprising focal points of conflict into a cohesive space of appearance – the space of political action. Their resistance connects distant territories creating the imaginary of a city which we call “Struggle machine assembled”.
The struggles represented in the map tell us that if we are to imagine a different way of distributing surplus value, to re-appropriate the resources needed for social reproduction and to democratically manage them, we should create a precondition in which the value produced in the city could be re-invested in its own development. Various demands gathered through interviews are translated into architectural language through models that relate the different ways of managing the city, distribution of value and the configuration of the public space to the territory of the city of Pula. Based on the conducted research, these spatial devices aim to create the common ground through which we can collectively imagine a possible “unmediated space”.
Architects: Pulska grupa Commissioner/Curator: Tomislav Pavelić Artistic collaboration: Igor Bezinović, Hrvoslava Brkušić, Boris Cvjetanović and Siniša Labrović