As part of our 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale coverage we present the proposal for the Turkish Pavilion. Below, the participants describe their contribution in their own words.
Curated by Kerem Piker and coordinated by Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV), the Pavilion of Turkey will present Vardiya (the Shift) at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia, taking place from May 26th to November 25th, 2018. Co-sponsored by Schüco Turkey and VitrA, the Pavilion of Turkey is located at Sale d’Armi, Arsenale, one of the main venues of the Biennale.
Conceived in response to the theme of Freespace, the title of the Biennale Architettura 2018, Vardiya offers a programme of public events with the Pavilion of Turkey, providing an open space for encounter, exhibition and production.
Envisioned as a spatial and temporal staging base, the Pavilion of Turkey will provide a participatory platform for workshops, digital roundtable discussions and meetings. Placing the study of architecture at the center of the programme, Vardiya launched an open call for video responses to the questions: Why does the biennial exist? What does the biennial do? For whom does the biennial exist? 452 students from 29 different countries and 70 cities from USA to China, India to Costa Rica applied for the project.
Out of these applicants, 122 international architecture students will be invited to visit the Pavilion of Turkey in weekly shifts as active producers of the evolving exhibition content. The programme will kick off with video installations, through which participating students question the purpose and role of the biennial.
Architecture is a field that is constantly expanding, transforming and renewing itself. As such, there is a need for environments where architectural knowledge is reproduced, shared and discussed, and the voices of new participants are heard. As the International Architecture Exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia is one of the most important informal learning arenas in architecture, we prefer to describe the Pavilion of Turkey as a space for meeting, encounter and production rather than merely an exhibition space.
In order to strengthen and diversify participation, as well as expand the curiosity of new actors in the field, we organized an open call for applications to imagine the Pavilion of Turkey as a meeting space for architecture students from all over the world. 122 selected young architects will meet with professionals, academicians and enthusiasts from different backgrounds, co-produced with scheduled programmes and co-create an exhibition that expands on these productions.
Along with the participants, who we believe are a crucial part of contemporary culture and architectural debate, as curious individuals asking questions and constantly improving themselves, we strive to understand each other and be productive together. We also see this exhibition and the preparation process as an opportunity to rethink what a biennial does, for whom, and why it exists in our time.