In this interview, presented in collaboration with PLANE—SITE, Pierre Bélanger, curator of the Canadian contribution to the 2016 Venice Biennale—explains why Canada's practices of mining and extraction should be carefully understood for their architectural implications. Together with his firm OPSYS, Bélanger conceived of a miniaturized experience of an "inverted territorial intervention" so that Biennale visitors could personally experience and relate to "the complex ecologies and vast geopolitics of resource extraction."
With emphasis and exuberance, Bélanger asks us to reconsider Canada's image as a pacifist nation, imploring that "we need to understand that essentially our mode of consumption, our mode of living is entirely based on the separation of means of production and territories of extraction. Your life depends on territories in other places where we extract resources."
He concludes, "We're personally interested in how we can change people one person at a time. So, it's not a pavilion, it's a counter-pavilion; it's not an exhibition, it's not an installation; it's an intervention, and what's right behind me is essentially a counter-monument."