On June 11th, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, also known as Manifesta, began its 100-day stint in this edition's host city, Zurich, Switzerland. The festival's center-piece is a timber raft floating on Lake Zurich, known as the Pavilion of Reflections. The temporary structure was designed and realized by Studio Tom Emerson and a team of thirty students from ETH Zurich. Constructed primarily of timber, Christian Jankowski, curator of Manifesta 11, describes the exhibit “as a floating multi-functional platform with a giant LED screen, a stand for spectators, a swimming pool and a bar.”
The pavilion's varied program responds to the biennial's founding desire “to explore the psychological and geographical territory of Europe and to provide a dynamic for cultural exchange throughout the region.” Seeking to represent the social dynamics of the host city, Zurich, the design team took note of the city’s significant bathing culture.
With a history tracing back to Roman settlements, Zurich has the highest density of public swimming areas in the world. But these badis, as they are called locally, also act as social spaces and appear as architectural icons in the city. The Pavilion of Reflections is imagined to be a casual meeting place and a public, open-air swimming area in the daytime. At night it serves as a venue for film screenings, showcasing work from students at Zurich University of the Arts.
Manifesta 11, entitled “What People Do for Money: Some Joint Ventures” will continue take place over the summer until September 18, 2016.