LocationState Hermitage Museum, Dvortsovaya ploshchad', 2, Sankt-Peterburg, Russia, 190000
Text description provided by the architects. The 10th edition of Manifesta, the European Biennial of Contemporary art, took place in the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. Supervised by curator Kasper König, Manifesta 10 was the first big contemporary art exhibition in the Hermitage's recently renovated General Staff Building.
A visit to the biennial started in the entrance hall of the General Staff Building with an overview of the most important video art works from the past four decades. Unlooped Kino, the programme of video art works, was selected by Rainald Schumacher and Nathalie Hoyos of Office for Art (based in Berlin) from well-known and respected private and public art collections. These time-based media, which as a rule are shown individually and in the context of a museum, were compiled into four autonomous video programmes for Manifesta 10.
To make the video programmes in the public entrance hall visible and accessible, Ira Koers and Roelof Mulder designed half-open, freestanding cinemas: four intimate rooms with a monitor, a window and two benches with doorway-sized openings at either end. The fact that the openings were attached to the benches allowed people to take a seat and move over without having to pass one another while the video was playing.
People in the hall could also see the video images by looking through the window openings cut into the back walls of the rooms. The LED screen was hung on a double wall that concealed the cables and technical equipment. The outside of the double wall was indented to create a framework for the title of the video room and its programme.
The video rooms were designed as a kit made out of pinewood that could easily be set up without harming the entrance hall. In contrast to the exteriors, which were covered in clear varnish, the interiors were impregnated with a pure coloured pigment. The satiny finish of the interiors reflected the colour and light of the moving video images, continually changing the look of the interiors. The video images and the spectators in and around the rooms became part of the installation in the entrance hall.